The Guardian Unlimited ran a story this weekend about past-winners of the Turner Prize and how it affected their careers. From 1984 to present, most winners reflect on the prize, though some (like 1986 winners Gilbert and George) declined to be interviewed.
Martin Creed and Jeremy Deller (who both exhibited at Mercer Union in 2006) offer the following:
(Martin Creed’s) decision to fill his room in the Turner show with this single work was carefully made. "There was pressure on me to present an array of work, but I didn't want to compromise, I wanted to do something extraordinary, a spectacle." And there came a point at which Creed knew he desperately wanted to win. "I'm very competitive - maybe a lot of artists are. I had one voice saying, 'It's just a stupid prize, just a reflection of the judges' taste', and another saying, 'I really don't want not to win this.'"
(Deller) rented a studio, for the first time - "I thought I needed to look a bit more serious " - and, aware that the other nominees were showing film works in "dark rooms", decided to have his part of the exhibition "light and airy and open", with lots of books and discussion.
In the press coverage that followed his win Deller became the Turner Winner Who Could Not Paint Or Draw. "The first question I was asked was, 'Is the video camera the new pencil?'" he says. Art teachers at his old school were wheeled out to attest to his lack of talent (in fact, he did not study art at O-level).
The full story is available here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,2163622,00.html
Pictured: Martin Creed receiving his prize from Madonna in 2001. She exclaimed “Right on, Motherfucker” during the presentation, which was the story most papers ran with.