Justin Johnson is the winner of the second annual Preakness Art of Racing contest for his original illustration titled “The Face of Victory.”
The winning piece depicts a horse’s face head-on in the colors of the Maryland flag. A white Preakness trophy adorns the face, and yellow Black Eyed Susan flowers frame its muzzle.
“This recognition leaves room for more opportunities to come my way, more job opportunities in this field, and more connections both personal and professional to establish and cultivate,” Johnson said in a statement. “Winning the competition brings me that much closer to achieving my professional goals where I can thrive in a career doing what I love and what brings me happiness.”
Johnson’s piece was chosen from 207 submissions by a panel of judges that included elected officials, community leaders, and art professionals.
Contest officials said each submission depicted the “extraordinary elements of Thoroughbred horse racing and the Preakness Stakes.” The contest is sponsored by 1/ST RACING, who owns the Preakness Stakes, the Maryland Jockey Club, and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA.)
The winner was announced at a ceremony at the Brown Center at MICA, attended by Tonya Miller, Senior Advisor of Art and Culture for the City of Baltimore, MICA dignitaries, Park Heights Renaissance representatives, and 1/ST RACING leadership. Artists who participated also attended the announcement.
The second annual contest opened on Jan. 9 with a call for entries and closed on March 10. Members of the public were then invited to visit The Art of Racing website to cast a vote for their favorite work of art. The top ten pieces of art with the most votes were then judged by the panel, who selected Johnson’s piece as the winner.
This year’s 207 entries represent a 40% increase over the inaugural year’s number, and artists who entered their work came from 19 states, including Maryland.
As winner, Johnson receives a $4,000 stipend and two tickets to this year’s Preakness. Additionally, his work will be reproduced on a special collection of Preakness 148 merchandise that will be available for purchase online and onsite during Preakness weekend. Officials say that proceeds “will be used to support the activities of the Park Heights Renaissance as it pursues affordable housing for families and employment opportunities for the people of Park Heights.”
“Last year’s inaugural run demonstrated a huge interest among Maryland-based artists to depict their beloved Preakness Stakes,” said Audra Madison, director of marketing for the Maryland Jockey Club. “In expanding the competition to a nationwide audience, we’ve recognized a similar enthusiasm of artists beyond our region to capture the beauty of Thoroughbred horse racing.”