Saatchi Online Abstract Showdown Winner Announced!

We’re thrilled to announce the winner of Saatchi Online’s Abstract Showdown. After several rounds of judging, including a second round led by Rebecca Wilson, Director of the Saatchi Gallery London and Nina Miall, Director, Haunch of Venison Gallery in London,  first and second place were selected by internationally acclaimed artist Peter Coffin.

The winning submission is an abstract, wooden sculpture entitled ” It wasn’t me, I wasn’t there” by Josh Welker from the United States.  Our runner-up is an abstract painting entitled “Change” by Nada Velickovic of the UK.  As part of their prize, both pieces will be shown at the Saatchi Gallery in London.  Congratulations to Josh and Nada.

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” It wasn’t me, I wasn’t there” by Josh Welker $20,000.00



Our runner- up is an abstract painting entitled “Change” by Nada Velickovic $2,000.00.

Check out all the Showdown finalists here.


  1. Elle Daly says:

    Great Work, Well Done.

  2. fritha de swardt says:

    Your choice of winners remind me, once again, that art competitions are essentially valueless. Art is just too subjective to select a ”winner”.

    As great as these sunmissions are they would not have been my choices.

    A pity.

  3. Gerard Carruthers says:

    The big coloured playground blocks win the Saatchi,no comment because im speechless? no more art contests for me and a lot of other people.

  4. Arwa Stone says:

    Having specialised in abstract art and seeing these two winners makes me feel sad. I’m sure others will also agree that there were some really good pieces that communicated what abstract art is. Anyway, good luck to the winners.

  5. Anyway… but please don’t call it Abstract. Minimalism, Conceptualism, Constructivism or even Structuralism are more appropriate terms… I think there was a big confusion in genre.

  6. John Rula says:

    Wow once again I am blown away by what the judges have chosen!!!! out of 3333 works of Art this is what they come up with,it blows my mind and leaves me sad and disillusioned ,I guess what I think of as GOOD ABSTRACT ART is NOT what the judges think of……I voted on over 350 pc,s and some of them were BREATH TAKING, here I am not moved. I don’t know why I keep torturing myself with the SHOWDOWN it should be called ” LETDOWN”…peace

  7. Jeremy Blank says:

    The designations of ‘style’ ‘genre’ or ‘movement’ given to enter works is a) very dated b) often misleading even for an artist to ‘fit’ within some previous historical tag and c) possibly patronising from a world class gallery attempting (or at least proclaiming) to showcase new art! I do not think the choice of labels is really suitable for the contemporary or new work that is sought.

  8. Dennis says:

    One looks like giant door stops and the other my a curtain design from scandinavia. Abstract art does not come to mind. I agree with constructivism.

  9. The best Scandinavian abstract artist living today is Øyvind Suul from Norway…without a doubt. The winners here are by all means “worthy”…but they are not kick ass fantastic…like mr Suul.

  10. One interresting observation would be this: I am wondering whether the directors of all these fantastic museums across the globe shouldn`t be replaced by professional artists, instead of art historians and curators without the know how to make art. There are, and I\m not talking about the winners of this abstract challenge, so many basic mistakes made by the deciders (curators, directors etc) That,if I had five minutes alone with Charles Saatchi, I would explain this very important point to him.

  11. Ploppi says:

    These days abstract can mean anything.

    Hopefully two new careers launched and their art does look saleable too.

    Hats off to anyone who actually makes their own art.

  12. Nicole Béland says:

    Not bad. Just not very new: same old, same old. Is Art dead ? No, I think it is the judges who are depressed. They should get out of the game before it kills them.

  13. Congrats for the winners ! Art is not a question of competition but more about emotion, culture, life, knowledge …. and all choices and opinion from public, curators, amators, artists… need respect, because without choices of other, we stay in the dark.

    Thanks to Saatchi team for sending some lights around the network.

    JfR – Jean-François Réveillard.

  14. Gary Winterford says:

    Having been fortunate enough to reach the last 30 I was ultimately disapointed with the judges choice. I am not saying I should have won, far from it, but the two winners left me a little sad, they were too emotionless and samey, which begs the question…what the hell were the judges looking at.

  15. …nothing wrong with the winners….but the Jury, with their vast experience in abstract art, thought these were the best. Art is such a subjective practice that there is really no way everyone will ever agree.
    How about trying profession judges next time?
    By professional I mean, professional artists…artists who know how to produce excellent abstract works themselves…know the mechanisms, aesthetic principals, composition etc etc.
    Curators and art historians know the politics of art and the marketing of art…but they are poor judges when it comes to the quality of a specific artwork.

    Leave it to the professionals Saatchi…thats my advice.

    • Rebecca Wilson says:

      The final judges for the last two Showdowns – Wangechi Mutu and Peter Coffin – have been “professional artists” in the sense that they are full-time artists having exhibitions all over the world.

  16. Example, I know figurative art, and could make my case on any level, either it be technical or conceptual or on any other level, for the quality of the artwork I chose as a winner…this is my field of expertise. And abstract artists have similar expertise in their respective fields.

    An art historian or a curator can not..they just don`t have the know how.
    They can draw crowds to exhibitions and put an art work in a historical context…but they are clueless about the quality of art… compared to a professional artist producing abstract painting or sculpture themselves.

    • Ploppi says:

      Are the judges also looking at the fianlists profile and other art before making their decision.

      Are more factors taken into consideration before making a decision as to the winner/s.

      Such as the marketability and reliability of the artist.

      • Rebecca Wilson says:

        We are looking only at the one image that is entered.

        • Urszula Sliz says:

          This discussion shows….

          pity that the only submitted the image ….
          artists working on an abstract idea made a choice, not by chance

          There are some works are only accidental abstraction in the final and it depreciates the idea of abstraction, especially for people for the reception of this art makes difficulty

  17. charlie tomorrow says:

    no…nothing wrong with the winners…
    but also nothing right wit the winners….

  18. charlie tomorrow says:

    no…nothing wrong with the winners…
    but also nothing right with the winners….

  19. Boyd Widger says:


  20. jorge rivas says:

    the end, the geometric abstraction took the prize.

  21. jasper carter says:

    100 years after the Russians, Malevich and Balla,, their proposals .still .win prizes,is rare that not taking account the new art, within .into the abstraction ,there are new proposals, fresh. but were repulsed, congratulations to the followers of Russian art from 100 years ago …


  22. As jasper pointed out…Modern art ceased being original and cutting edge a long time ago…in fact almost 100 years ago….but that dosen`t mean one can`t build on tradition. I havent the faintest idea why we still expect an artwork to be original…that idea has had its expiration date seen and passed.

    Quality is everlasting. Fashion is an everchanging cycle of getting the customer used to something and then changing the parameters to something else…forcing them to stay with the inn crowd throught purchasing products.

    So I wouldn`t criticize these works for not being original…the point is…are they any good?

  23. Ploppi says:


    As long as the artist believes in what they make.

    I think that’s all that matters.


    As long as the buyers believe in what the galleries sell them.

    I think that’s all that matters.


    When the artist, gallery and buyers all believe in the art.

  24. hannah says:

    Does competition bring out the worst in people or the best? I do not refer to the many entries submitted.

  25. This was the first time I entered a Showdown and I enjoyed the whole event. It was great fun looking through all of the entries and finding work I loved in the genre I am most interested in.
    I didn’t imagine (too much) that I would win. (Especially after seeing who the final jurist was I really had no expectation of winning!) It was really just about exposure, and free exposure at that. Isn’t that the whole point? Besides getting to see lots of art?
    Big congratulations to the winners!

  26. Andrew Kennedy says:

    A lot of the entries in this competition blew me away!!!!!!! and i LOVED!!!!! the ones which i voted top points for!!!!!!! that was indeed great /amazing fun!!!! got to feel like a judge/curator for a few days :-) from the above selection i think??? i liked the blocks??? but of course would have loved to have seen one of my favorite selections winning, i however congratulate the winners and wish them the best of luck :-)

  27. I try to make a Collection for each Showdown, it helps me remember a percentage of the works that approximately fit the brief. Yet I am always surprised how so many slip through the net and appear at different stages of voting yet I have never seen them before. Alright, I haven’t got a total visual recall system for 3333 pieces, but I made my collection and this time, surprise, surprise, for once the winner featured in it:
    I would like to see the ‘paintings’ made by the judges, even have them entered under pseudonyms. (The same goes for the Turner Prize in the Tate.)
    I just wonder what the theme of the next Showdown will be?

    • Now that WAS a really nice collection R Brian…very enjoyable…perhaps you have a future as a curator!!

      • No, no, I make things first, I collect things inevitably. I have a collection of antique Chinese stoneware teapots mostly from Yixing which it could be said i have curated, but I had never heard of the word curator or ethos until I was about 55 because I make things. Personally I would like to see my Collection all brought together in the Saatchi Gallery along with the artists – it would be a truly interesting cultural experience. No-one can visit the show unless they bring proof of their own Art. Curators can have their own exhibition full of vacuous lyrical prose :-)

  28. Gerard Carruthers says:

    A lot of people would like to know what should they enter for the next Letdown/showdown contest ? a painting a collage, sculpture, wooden blocks photograph peices of cut-out paper,cutlery welded together,garden furniture etc. remind me again did wooden blocks,pieces of paper and fur really reach the final 30 from 3333.I like a good conspiracy just for fun!,are these artists related to Saatchi personel.

  29. Ploppi says:

    A very nice collection indeed. But are they asbtract?

    • Abstract . . . abstracted . . . abstractions
      I included one well executed cityscape because the abstraction overcame the representation. I included one photo-nude because the light and shade abstracted the human form, but most of the rest satisfied the abstract criterion.

  30. jean pissaco says:

    this monkey break gates to the zoo and remain broth to Saatchi
    for competition . . . you stupid monkey get back to London zoo.

  31. I understand that great effort was involved , but it seems that art judges are gravitating toward appreciation of a an old but time-tested style — MONOTONY.
    It’s one of the few things left to acknowledge.
    Congrats to the the winners.

  32. A gracious bow to the Judges, none the less. It can`t be easy taking a pounding for ones opinions. Personally I think its almost beautiful in a strange way. Disagreing on an objective opinion is very very healthy…its part of what art is and should be…and very happy to see that the moderators at saatchi have taken to their senses…and are now allowing differences of opinion. KUDOS

  33. Goodone! says:

    Best winners yet !’greaat choices !!! I would put them both in my house
    Will supply address at a later date

  34. Josh Welker= is not George Korsmit {a dutch artist}!


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