Otter, of Earltown, had one of his works selected as one of five finalists for the 2016 Lieutenant Governor Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award. The finalists each receive $3,000, with the grand prize winner taking home $22,000. The winner will be announced at the Creative Nova Scotia Gala in November.
“Typically, we artists are insecure in what we do,” admitted Otter. “It often takes many, many years for an artist to find the direction they want to head in. When you get one of these nominations, it confirms you’re heading in the right direction.”
While the award is a Masterworks award, Otter said many of those nominated wouldn’t call themselves “masters,” as there is always more to learn.
Otter’s Lounge Chair No. 2 (2015) is the piece nominated for the award. It’s composed of black walnut and white ash, and its design encompasses multiple strands of design history in one work.
“It’s curved in every direction, and deeply carved both underneath and on the seat,” he said. “Each one of these takes 200 hours to make. It’s a labour of love. It’s a draining feeling – when I’m finished it, I feel drained of my creative juices.”
The finalists will converge on a panel discussion being planned for September in Halifax, where the public is invited to hear them speak.
Along with this nomination, Lounge Chair No. 2 was a 2016 Niche Award Winner, presented on the merits of technical excellence in design and showing a distinct quality of unique, creative and original thought.
In 2012, Otter’s J Class Lounge Chair and Footstool was named a finalist for the Masterworks prize. Kim Morgan was the winner that year, with a life-size model of the range light at Borden-Carleton, P.E.I.
This year’s nomination, Otter said, is a “much more sculptural version” of the piece from 2012.
“And that speaks to the progress and the maturity I’ve gained as I’ve continued my practice,” he said.
Established by the Honourable Myra Freeman in 2005, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award recognizes the excellence of a particular work of art or design from any media.
Competition for this year’s prize includes a play written by Hannah Moscovitch and directed by Christian Barry, a presentation of Mi’kmaw basket weaving by Ursula Johnson, a concerto composition by Dinuk Wijeratne, and a dance presentation created and produced by Mocean Dance.