“It’s with great pleasure that we announce Hester Berry as the winner of the Peoples Choice award for Young Artists of the Year 2011.

The competition was intensely fought, and we say that not just because it is customary to do so. The ballot box in The Biscuit Factory was perpetually overflowing with voting forms, and there were times when we couldn’t print them fast enough. Plenty of ink has been coaxed through the sometimes infuriatingly tardy, cantankerous and recalcitrant rollers of the gallery’s printers and photocopies to keep the public in slips. Hester’s prize should perhaps be forfeited and used to subsidise our ink stocks because she generated more ballot box ballast then any other artist. Enough that she ought to by now have directorship of several Far East-based electronics multi-conglomo-corporates.

But, in all seriousness, we were delighted with the public reaction and response to the exhibition, and this was certainly reflected in the number of votes cast. As expected there was real variety of opinions, but in the final reckoning in the wake of the conjecture it was Hester who had accumulated more votes than anyone else – and by a significant enough margin that, thankfully, there was no need for a re-count.

We’re very happy to welcome Hester up here onto the metaphorical stage. Her Painting ‘Shine on Silver Sun’ attracted the attention of several members of Biscuit staff who saw a sneak peak of it when her entry came in, and once on the wall it seems to have had a similar effect on our customers and visitors. We know Hester has a series of rubbish tip images from which this painting is taken, and that beyond that she has a substantial body of somewhat more traditional landscape oils which are showing real promise too, so we’re content that the award is going to a deserved winner.

The Biscuit Factory would like to publicly thank Hester for her involvement in the competition and exhibition and wish her the best of luck for the future. We’ll be following her career with interest.

We’d encourage readers to see more of Hester’s work at her website: http://www.hesterberry.co.uk/

And once again, thank you to Winsor and Newton and Blackwell’s for kindly supplying prizes.”

The Biscuit Factory Foundation