A WELLINGTON artist has won an award for his unbelievably realistic sculptures of everyday waste items. 

Tom Waugh, 39, created the pieces based on a cigarette butt, a petrol can, a plastic bag, and a crumpled cardboard box. 

He was shortlisted for the Rise Art Prize, a global competition that launched in October 2017. 

The talented sculptor beat 16,000 artists from around the world to win the People’s Choice Award. It was presented by ambassador and Made in Chelsea star Oliver Proudlock and voted for entirely by the public.

Somerset County Gazette:

Somerset County Gazette:

Some of Mr Waugh's pieces. 

He also scooped the category award for sculpture, chosen by an expert judging panel including Richard Wilson, Harland Miller, Ben Eine, Gavin Turk and Fiona Banner based on his creative excellence, original ideas and technical skill.

RELATED: Wellington artist creates unbelievably realistic sculptures of everyday waste out of stone

“The standard of the other 24 finalists’ work was astonishing and it was humbling to be amongst such great talent," He said.

"In the run-up to the prize, my work was featured in the Financial Times How To Spend It and What’s Hot London. At the awards ceremony, the Rise Art team were so welcoming and it was great to meet the other artists and some of the judges.

“Entering the Rise Art Prize and becoming a shortlisted artist meant that I was invited to sell my work on the Rise Art website. That in itself was a huge boost, but winning two prizes was totally unexpected and I am over the moon.

“I hope that winning these awards will help raise my profile as an artist and provide exhibition opportunities. I would also like to produce larger scale public works of art and I hope that this might now be possible.” 

The Rise Art Prize reviewed more than 16,000 artists with 2,300 entries whittled down to just 25 finalists from the UK, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the Americas and Australasia.

Gavin Turk said: “I know how difficult it can be to make a career in the art world - it’s a highly competitive industry, with constant cuts to arts funding.

"The Rise Art Prize is a much-needed platform for raising the profile of artists and art within the media.”