THEY are the artists of the future, and their creative careers took a step up with their first exhibition.

A total of 50 GCSE fine art and photography students put on a colourful show to display their talents.

This year for the first time ever the pupils from Upper Shirley High School had the chance to exhibit their work at Solent university, with the aim of encouraging them to carry on with the subject after school.

And among the talented class of 2017 were four youngsters who were awarded a special award from the university itself.

Parmjeet Taak, Emma Mason, Ellen Wheatley and Archie Baron were given a special ‘Solent Award’, and one of them received a piece of valuable art as their prize.

Lecturer and illustrator Jonny Hannah presented Archie with an original framed print made by Mr Hannah in recognition of Archie’s work.

Head of art Mariella De Ruiter said: “It’s a very exciting opportunity for the students and the school.

“The link came about through John Barfoot, Upper Shirley High governor and head of design and the built environment at Solent University.

“He had attended our previous exhibitions and was wowed by the work.”

Mariella added: “I feel as part of the art students journey it is essential they exhibit their work to allow family, friends and members of the public to see and respond to it.”