Last year I set myself the task of entering the National Youth Self Portraiture Prize which is run out of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. I decided submitted a giant nude self portrait which was so good the judges couldn't in good conscious humiliate all the other entrants by allowing it to hang near them. Naturally it had to be refused the prize and avoid the negative press that perhaps I was older than I say I that I am infact an established artist and not an emerging one. By using my own skill as demonstrated in my entry they would clearly be able to take down the giant that is the National Portrait Gallery and shame me in to moving to Adelaide. Thankfully neither of those happened and the competition is able to run again this year.
However, this year I am feeling a bit of pressure. As the criteria goes for this prize I am in my final year of elibility. Entrants 25 and under can submit work but next year I will be 26. This is the last chance I can submit a work for that tastey reward, or the privelaged to have my work selected as a finalist and exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery - an honour that my young but prodigious talents would blush toward.
Over the past month I have exploring styles of self portraiture as it is a genre that has earned me reputable milestones in my burgeoning career. Some of these are very sketchy self portraits, almost doodles done with whatever remainders of paint have been on my brush after a studio sesh.
Most of them are monochrome. I really like them but they tend to be studies that exist outside of my practice. I couldn't frame them and I don't want to make them a series because then I feel my submission might be a little more boring than I'd like.
So began the task of developing a new concept to how I would like to portray myself. I want something very me in my work and I want that to come through the narrative rather than a facial performance by myself. I think there is the opportunity here to be a lot less cliche-contemporary art and more of an opportunity to have a lot of fun with painting - in the way that started me drawing and painting all along.