Melbourne-based artists Catherine Clover and Daniel Kotsimbos were announced as the winners of the Fivex Art Prize, the first awards program dedicated to digital billboard art in Australia.

Sponsored by Australia’s leading premium digital billboard company, QMS Media, the Fivex Art Prize: Billboard Art Reimagined, offers a Grand Prize of $30,000 as well as $1,000 for each of the shortlisted artists. The award has been established for creative individuals of all disciplines to reimagine the dynamic relationship between art and visually mediated street culture.

The winners were announced by Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Sally Capp at a launch event for the Prize’s outdoor exhibition displaying the works of all six finalists on two prominent LED QMS Media billboards – a horizontal corner ‘wrap’ and a vertical ‘podium’ – opposite Flinders St Railway Station in the heart of Melbourne CBD.

The 2020 Fivex Art Prize drew over 520 entries from photographers, graphic designers, street artists, illustrators and architects from across Australia. All the winning and finalists’ works will be on view at intervals throughout the day, interspersed with, and surrounded by commercial advertising content, inviting passers-by to experience, and engage with their built environment.

The winners were chosen from a group of six emerging and established artists by a panel of judges drawn from art, media and advertising, and included Jane Devery, Curator, Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Victoria; Liss Fenwick, Public Art Project Lead, Melbourne City Council; Gary Deirmendjian, Artist; Charmaine Moldrich, CEO, Outdoor Media Association; and Alessio Cavallaro, Creative Producer, Fivex Art Prize, and media art curator. 

Commenting on the winning works, Cavallaro said, “Catherine Clover and Daniel Kotsimbos have created conceptually rigorous yet contrasting works. Both ambiguous and ironic, their works present striking visualisations of Melbourne’s sonic environment. While Song Cycle humorously transposes bird songs into human phonetic speech-text patterns, Peak Frequency digitally renders the increasingly opaque multi-layers of our complex acoustic urban space into a dense visual tableau.”

Describing the Fivex Art Prize as an innovative addition to Melbourne’s rich creative heritage, the Lord Mayor said, “Showcasing the best digital art from across the country on a prominent CBD billboard is another reason to come into the city to enjoy what’s on offer. I’m very proud that two Melburnians, Catherine Clover and Daniel Kotsimbos, have jointly won the inaugural prize.”

QMS Media Group CEO Barclay Nettlefold added, “The Fivex Prize is a significant new art award that promotes new forms of bold, memorable street art for today’s digital age. Both of the winning works push the boundaries of what we expect from street art and billboards alike and QMS is proud to showcase their work on such a powerful digital canvas, right in the heart of Melbourne.”

The finalists’ works will be individually exhibited daily along with commercial advertising content until 31 January 2021. The works will also be presented collectively in one-hour group screenings without advertising from 12pm–1pm on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 December, with the weekend schedule to repeat until the end of the exhibition.