Winning artist sets sights on New York

HE IS the first artist to be recognised with a Sir John Monash Scholarship - and now Launceston's Fernando do Campo has his sights set on New York.

The 26-year-old University of Tasmania alumnus capped off a huge 2013 by winning the 2014 Australian Cultural John Monash Scholarship, a prize that will provide him with $50,000 a year to study abroad until 2016.

Do Campo's award was the newest addition to the prestigious General Sir John Monash Foundation Scholarship program, which is supported by the Australia Council and Tim Fairfax AM, and this year has enabled 15 outstanding scholars to pursue international postgraduate studies.

The Argentinian-born artist, who is represented by Mclemoi Gallery in Sydney, said the scholarship was the pinnacle of a magnificent 2013.

But he admits to a nervous wait by the phone to learn of his success.

``I was in the top 29 candidates, but I thought the interview process went really badly,'' he said.

``I couldn't sit still - I went into town a couple of times and just walked around all day trying to keep myself busy.

``Eventually  I got the phone call. I was very happy.''

Do Campo, who has a bachelor of contemporary arts from the University of Tasmania and a bachelor of visual arts from the Australian National University, said he had applied to a number of international art schools to further his studies, with his ideal destination being New York.

The former Sawtooth Artist-Run-Initiative gallery director spend much of 2013 furthering expanding his creative horizons in Europe - acting as team leader for the Australian Pavilion presentation at the 55th Venice Biennale  and completing a three-month studio residency at Schloss Laudon in Vienna, Austria.

Earlier in the year, do Campo was named the Young Tasmanian of the Year for arts, while he also presented his collective project Nuclei at FELTspace, Adelaide, and Hobart's MONA Markets, and mounted a major solo exhibition, Onomatopoeia, at the UTAS Academy Gallery.

The former St Patrick's College student said he had enough projects to keep him busy until he left Tasmania in September next year.

He said he planned to study abroad until mid-2016 - but could not predict his movement beyond that. 

``It's been quite the race this year,'' he said.

``Sure, there are hopes and dreams, but I don't think it would be wise to lock anything in indefinitely. 

``Things are always changing.'' 

Email: adruce@examiner.com.au 

Twitter: @AlexDruce1987 

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