The Next Saatchi Online Showdown Competition: “Bright Lights, Big City”

I’ve always been interested in approaching a big city in a train, and I can’t exactly describe the sensations, but they’re entirely human and perhaps have nothing to do with aesthetics. There is a certain fear and anxiety and a great visual interest in the things that one sees coming into a great city.

- Edward Hopper

From the ancient world to the present day, artists have been drawn to the urban landscape. Frescoes in Pompeii, Renaissance paintings by Lorenzetti and Carpaccio, Vermeer’s famous View of Delft, paintings by Manet, Caillebotte, Leger, Whistler, Hopper and Lowry, to name just a few, all capture the cityscape and what makes urban living distinct. It might be the loneliness of city life, as in the hands of Hopper, the brutal yet exhilarating modern city portrayed by Leger, or the industrial city of Lowry’s “matchstick men” paintings.

Thinking about artists as diverse as these has inspired us to choose the next Showdown theme “Bright Lights, Big City”. Given the great tradition of the cityscape throughout the history of art, we’d like to see your depictions of the urban landscape. It could be the city at night or empty at dawn; the city as architectural wonder, or as a place for work; an aerial view or the urban terrain seen close up at street level.

You can submit work in any medium (painting, photography, sculpture, collage, drawing etc) and in any genre (figurative, abstract, realist, etc).

Stay tuned for details on judges, dates, submission tips, and more.  We hope you’ll take part in the “Bright Lights, Big City” Showdown and look forward to being inspired by what the city evokes in you as an artist.

La Ville

Fernard Léger, The City Museum of Modern Art, New York Bequest of Florene May Schoenborn Digital Image

L S Lowry, The Fever Van Liverpool Museums, Liverpool Estate of L S Lowry Digital Image

57 Comments

  1. Hermit says:

    It’s good that there’s more specific themes like this one as the last one “in living colour” was a bit wide ranging, which is probably why it go so many entries. Hope we see more precise themes like this one in the future :)

    Reply
  2. Julie says:

    I look forward to this Urban showdown! Both to enter and see what becomes of it! Great news!

    Reply
  3. June Katz says:

    Great News guys !
    One of my long time favorite subject for painting.

    Reply
  4. Oscar says:

    ‘let’s stop climate change ! And change change change’

    Reply
  5. great news, architecture being one of my favorite subject to paint, I can’t wait to enter the contest… great news, lots of positivity in a grey reality ! Bright Lights, Big City !

    Reply
  6. Tony Leone says:

    Great news! I like the idea very much, all are welcome …. :)
    is another wonderful addition for discover some great work here.

    Thanks, Saatchi online!

    Reply
  7. Great!
    This is a great Idea and really helpful for all artist!

    Reply
  8. What a great theme! looking forward to participate.

    Reply
  9. Wendy Bain says:

    I love cityscapes – especially night time ones. Looking forward to entering and seeing other people’s work. When is it?

    Reply
  10. I started to picture the city-lif on the wall. Graffiti-tags, stickers, wall-writings in Amsterdam city. So I hope I can send in with these!

    The city seems to me a kind of collage, as well concerning the architecture and the wall-art. It is fascinating how a city grows and reacts on its own elements.

    thanks for the nice theme.

    Fons Heijnsbroek

    Reply
  11. Joakim Ceder says:

    Thanks for this interesting challenge! I’ll make a try. I wonder, what makes a “big city”? What makes it feel great, perhaps overwhelming? How come some lesser towns have this bustling “big city” feeling, while there are moments when the greatest megalopolis seems too small? Good luck to all.

    Reply
  12. MJ Maguire says:

    This is the most exciting topic I have seen at Saatchi – the phenomenon of the urban landcape says so much about human beings, their instincts for congregation and for placing harmonious order upon the environment …

    Reply
  13. R. Dourthe says:

    Great news! Sounds nice to look forwards to participate. I cant wait to see all the works will be presented.
    Good luck to all

    Reply
  14. EM says:

    Well I have absolutely nothing to say about this subject as most of my work is concerned with ham on rye sandwiches.

    Reply
  15. I like this theme but wanted to express concern about narrow themes. Creative artists should control the concepts that relate to their work, much more so than curators and admin. I can see the point of narrow themes ovcassionaly but hope you make most competitions broad and open.

    Reply
  16. Snow Y. Fu says:

    This sounds really interesting. I was wondering where I can submit it? Sorry I am not very familiar with the application process. Thanks Saatchi for hosting.

    Reply
  17. Hope the the submit date is coming soon as I have already an idea.

    Reply
  18. Great news waiting and excited with this challenging topic for the submissions

    Reply
  19. Wonderful news! I already get to work on it ! :)

    Reply
  20. Rachel Jane says:

    This is a really exciting and inspirational topic for a showdown!!! Can’t wait to get started!!

    Reply
  21. Hello.
    I can’t find the rules of the current Showdown competition, dates, etc.
    Could anyone help me?
    Thank you.
    Carles Guitart

    Reply
  22. Good idea. I like this new challenge and hope to be very inspired.
    Thank you SAATCHIONLINE for all your dinamism enthusiasming artists
    to work in spite of the crisis.

    Thank you very much

    Reply
  23. Great news! I already get to work on it! Good idea!

    Reply
  24. laurabarbosa says:

    One of my favorite subjects – Thank you

    Reply
  25. Since I have been living in Canada,I paint cityscapes.
    Showing now in a gallery in Victoria and next May in Vancouver

    Reply
  26. Emma Hefty says:

    I like the more precise theme. While I understand what some are saying about the freedom of a broader concept, it’s a good exercise for an artist to try and work within more defined parameters.

    Reply
  27. Unfortunately, i don’t like bright lights and big cities.
    So . . . i don’t paint them.
    So . . . i can’t participate now.

    I don’t like themes.

    Good luck for the other artists!

    Reply
    • Hermit says:

      It’s never stopped others who submit their works. They seem to do it knowing full well that it doesn’t match the theme. They forget that once they submit that piece to one showdown they can never submit it again to another.

      But don’t worry, you only need to wait and you’ll find there’ll be the perfect theme for your work :)

      Reply
  28. Heather Powell says:

    i love everyone and everything
    to be an artist is my dream
    ever since i was a child
    thank you for giving me and
    my fellow artists such a wonderful opportunity

    SAATCHI YOU ROCK !!!!

    XXXXX

    =

    Reply
  29. I am with David Attenborough the naturalist who quoted recently saying “Humans are a plague on the planet”‘…. My paintings are all about the importance of the natural environment and us in balance. Anyway I am working on a painting for the Showdown, fingers crossed I can capture a ‘natural city scape’, still speaking of some purity through subject. I love the artist Banksy, he has used the city scapes for his political art fantastically and in the best possible way. Artists can create change in culture and hold the mirror up to humanity. Blar blar blar…

    Reply
  30. When will Saatchionline include video?

    Reply
  31. Br Bernardine says:

    Which cityscape are we needing to tackle, our own or New York?

    Reply
  32. Heider Dacosta says:

    I hate big cities …

    Reply
  33. Julia Hacker says:

    Sometimes small cities live big impressions.
    Love the spirit on Saatchi, always exited to open my mail.!

    Reply
  34. Waiting for rules to partecipate :)
    I have a couple of painting right for it

    Reply
  35. Sadouf says:

    wooooooow….love the theme, hope i can be able to participate

    Reply
  36. Looking forward to seeing participants work – great theme.

    Reply
  37. looking forward to viewing work – great subject.

    Reply
  38. DUCOURET says:

    Bonjour,
    j’aime particulièrement ce thème,merci et bonne route à tous.

    Reply
  39. Anne Bevan says:

    I also enjoy the challenge of a themed competition. Thank you Saatchi – and good luck to everyone, I’m eager to see your work.

    Reply
  40. Jacob Freeze says:

    BRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITYBRIGHTLIGHTSBIGCITY

    That’s my submission, and you can send the meager prize-money to the email on my site via PayPal.

    Reply
  41. This is brilliant! Thanks.

    Reply
  42. IDGARA says:

    The quote by Hopper reminded me of a Video I was really taken with on this theme. I can really relate to this concept.
    For those who commute by train daily: Ho Hum,,, boring perhaps,, but no so for those who come from the country on those rare trips to the bright lights & big city.
    From the vista’s of the countryside to the canyons of glass and steel.

    Worth Watching. Very very Clever
    http://moca.virtual.museum/digivid/looploop.htm

    Reply
  43. show down is always exciting,

    Reply
  44. Great idea which could generate interesting aspects!
    Submitting my collage “Urban breakdown”

    Reply
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    Reply
  46. Ewelina Meehan says:

    Why do people join the showdown competition with art work which is not relevant to the subject Bright Light Big City? It’s waste of time for public voters and judges to go through all of them. They should be disqualified before even upload to showdown web.

    Reply
    • Hermit says:

      I agree, but they’ll continue to do it. I think they do it to either improve their visibility, or for the vague chance that it might get chosen (neither works). It can be a bit annoying to click through them when you’re voting. There’s over 2600 entries in this one and half of them aren’t on theme. Maybe if Saatchi Online could figure out an easy way to vote on them (like from the view entry pages) so that voters could just click on the relevent ones, instead of having to go throught them all, then those entering non-themed work might think twice about it in future.

      Plus, those that enter works should realise that they can’t enter them again in another showdown, so if a theme comes up later that matches that piece then they’ve only got themselves to blame when they can’t use it again. If an artist tries to delete and reload a work onto the site that’s already been entered before, then they should be instantly disqualified from entering any futher showdowns.

      But I’m still all for specific themes to these competitions.

      Reply
  47. Ik ben grafica , sinds 2007 laat ik mij in mijn werk inspireren door “De moderne Stad”
    Belangrijke steden in mijn prenten zijn: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag, New York Manhattan. Vind het nog steeds een heel interessant onderwerp en maak nog steeds monoprints met dit onderwerp.
    Sinds kort bied ook een aantal werken aan in gliceedruk.

    Reply
  48. Ik ben grafisch kunstenaar en maak sinds 2007 hoofdzakelijk monoprints met als uitgangspunt “De moderne Stad” , voor architectonische vormen. Naast monoprints is mijn werk ook te koop in gliceedruk.

    Reply
  49. People would like to vote for my artwork but cant because they cant get to my submission,how do you actually get to your own artwork,why is it not a simple process of clicking on the artwork and voting.What is the point of showing random artworks that realistically most people dont want to vote on.I also agree with the other comments about artworks submitted that have nothing to do with the theme big city bright lights,how does is a picture of a girl,house,dots,blocks of wood,farm house etc etc have anything to do with this contest.

    Reply
    • Hermit says:

      The only way you can get people you know to vote on your work is from your Saatchi Online page, which should show what piece you’ve entered. It still doesn’t solve the problem of trawling through non-themed works, though, when you want to vote on some others.

      Maybe the judges might say something after they waste their time going through them (that’s if they don’t just pick them at random!)

      Reply
  50. gerard carruthers says:

    I dont take the showdown contest too serious but if your going to do something do it right,Theme bright lights big city so 300 go through and some of the artworks through are plastic bag,car,monkey,gun,girl etc I see at least 20 pictures with no connection to lights,cities scale etc.These 20 have denied another 20 atrworks a place in the last 300 because I assume they were in the top 50 votes but even if they have enough votes why are’nt they removed from the contest.The bottom line is the voting system does not work never did because its a lottery not a contest.If the panel can pick 250 they can pick 300.Saatchi people scrap the voting system its all a bit ridiculous really and lets have at least one ‘real’ art. contest.Art is not the eurovision song contest.

    Reply
  51. Hermit says:

    You see, I’d go in totally the oppopsite direction on that by saying that half, if not all, of the 300 entries should be voted on. The problem still remains that there should be an easier way to vote on them without going through the trawl of them all. I tried voting on them all, buit I think I only got through half of them.

    The public voting system certainly needs something of a overhaul.

    Reply
  52. Jorge Rivas says:

    Congratulations To Those Chosen by the painter Martinez, THE TRUTH I DON’T SAW THE LIGHT BRIGHT BIG CITY, FOR ANY PLACE,I UNDERSTAND THAT THE TITLE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CONTEST, YOU SAY SOMETHING PUT NAME ONLY, THANKS TO THE VOTERS TO MY PAINTING, “TOKYO BIG AT NIGHT AERIAL VIEW” I REMAIN BETWEEN 30 FINAL WORKS.

    Reply

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