A FORMER Herford College of Arts student has seen off more than 25,000 entrants to reach the final shortlist of one the UK’s best-known painting competitions.

Lexi Strauss has reached the final 50 of the prestigious John Moores Painting Prize, with her entry ‘Tupperware Party’.

Having graduated with a BA in Fine Arts in 2011, Lexi is now studying for her MA in Painting at the esteemed Royal College of Art in London.

Having held her first solo exhibition ‘Empty Chairs and Small Towns’ at The Globe during last year’s Hay Festival, she is now working on animating her paintings, creating installations that can tell stories, sing and chat with each other.

Lexi said: “I'd started painting as a hobby when my little boy went to school, people were commissioning me to paint their portraits.

“I didn't like the lack of creative freedom that commissioned portraiture offered, so knew I had to find out how I could fit myself in the art world, which I knew nothing about.”

With Tupperware Party selected in the top 50, Lexi’s work will part of an exhibition at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery that opens on July 5 as part of the city’s Biennial.

A shortlist of prize winners will be announced at the opening, and the winner awarded first prize in September.

Tim Marlow, one of the competition’s five judges who has worked with the likes of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, praised the 2014’s exhibiting group.

He said: “The is elegant, coherent and some really impressive work.”

To read more about Lexi and her work, visit http://lexistrauss.com/home.html .