Blueys Beach artist Trisha Fitzpatrick will enter her work in this year's prestigious Archibald Prize. Awarded annually to a portrait of someone well-known or distinguished by an Australasian artist, Trisha chose Dr Michael Zacharia as her subject.
A highly-respected specialist in both facial plastic surgery and ear, nose and throat surgery, Dr Zacharia was also the son-in-law of one of Trisha's neighbours, which is how the two met. "I wanted to paint someone who gave of themselves in the world," Trisha said.
"He came back to me and said he'd be honoured." Despite her initial intention to capture Dr Zacharia clothed in scrubs and at work in the operating theatre, Trisha admitted she changed her mind after meeting him and seeing his other qualities.
"He was such a gentle person," she said. "I wanted to paint more Michael the man, husband, father and friend." With her subject so busy with work commitments, it was hard for Trisha to catch up with him to do the necessary preparation that preceded the painting.
This meant it was completed in a demanding six-week period between February and March, which, although intense, suited Trisha, who admitted she worked better 'under the pump'.
I wanted to enter it because it's challenging and pushes your boundaries as an artist.
Originally intended to be done in oil-based paint, she decided to switch to acrylic paint because of the looming deadline (entries for the competition close on April 5) and used both a pallet knife and a brush.
And despite the short time frame it was completed in, she said she was more than pleased with how it turned out. "I feel as if I've captured that gentle and caring side of him full of soft magenta and lemon light," she said. "Then the shades of orange and green on the left represent his sharp intellect."
With judges only selecting 40 paintings to be exhibited from the 1,000 or so entries, Trisha wasn't putting any pressure on herself going into the competition.
But she did admit it would a great achievement to win or be chosen as a finalist. "It'd be fantastic," she said. "It'd be just another piece of the journey of life."
The winner of the Archibald Prize will be announced on May 10 and will receive $100,000.
Local artist Trisha Fitzpatrick is about to embark on a trip to Naples, Italy, to form part of a very special international art project.
With an art trip to New York already under her belt, Trisha is excited to be making so many global art connections, and the future looks busy – and bright!
Hi Trisha. It’s been a while since we last spoke. What’s been keeping you busy in recent times?
Since coming back from New York, I have been kept busy with an diverse range of commission work, some being of more realistic work of local beaches done on water colour paper and also large abstracted expressionism canvas work, which I thoroughly enjoy.
Tell us about the project, “22 Mad for Naples”, which will have you traveling to Naples, Italy, in May. What will you need to do/achieve while you’re overseas?
“22 Mad for Naples” is about bringing 22 international artists from around the world and giving them the opportunity to live for two weeks on the partenopean site; during a workshop-art laboratory they will develop personally through meetings, visits, reports and insights related to the Neapolitan contemporary art system. The gallery will provide a starting pattern of possible activities each artist will be able to integrate through their preferences.
Then starting from my subjective personal reading of the places, I will walk the streets, places, museums, sites and routes of art and different landscapes and face the project’s theme with a personal European and international perspective.
With this aim, I will create a work specifically dedicated to this comparison with the reality of the town. Then at the end of the project, the 22 works will be the subject of a dedicated exhibition in a prestigious location in the Neapolitan territory.
Also within that two week time slot, artists participating in the project have been invited to stay for two nights, three days in the Pollena Trocchia area of Mount Vesuvius, that was officially declared a National Park in June 1995.
The associations of this area have greatly appreciated the project and wanted to sponsor the artists who will visit their wonderful area of the Somma-Vesuvio.
I believe the first day we will be going to the local school in the Mt Vesuvius region, the second day we go on a dig, and the third day a vigneron will show us the vineyards. On one of the nights they invite us to a dinner held for the artists.
This sounds like an amazing project to be involved with. How did you find out about it, and how/why were you selected to participate?
The Gallery of Monteoliverto contacted me in 2013 after I had successfully exhibited in New York with Agora Gallery, Chelsea. Chantal Lora, who is the Director of Galleria Monteoliverto, started to connect and discuss me becoming involved. I was asked in 2014, however, had to decline, but I was lucky enough to be invited back in 2015.
The project stood out to me as a unique opportunity for me to live in the city and complete a piece of work that was my interpretation of Naples; being there will allow me to soak up the atmosphere of the sights, sounds, food and culture of this amazing city, and in turn create a piece of art that people will enjoy looking at for years to come.
Have you traveled to Italy before? How much are you looking forward to the trip?
I’m very excited to be going back to Italy. This will be my fourth visit; the first was with my beautiful mum and two sisters in 1990, followed by a fantastic five week journey with my daughter, Sally, in 2004. When I was in Tuscany with my daughter, I had time to sketch and paint with watercolour; it was amazing seeing with my own eyes the different atmospheric colours thrown across the landscape at different times of the day.
What do you know about your fellow artist companions who’ll also be taking part in “22 Mad for Naples”?
I haven’t met any of the other artists. Mad for Naples has invited artists from around the world, which includes Peru, New Zealand, USA, Ukraine, France, Argentina, Sweden – our brief is to bring our own unique technique to the project.
The culmination of your stay in Italy will result in an exhibition that showcases all of the participating artists’ works. When and where will this exhibition take place?
The exhibition is held in Naples; it will take place in May 2016, which is their spring – a beautiful time of the year.
What are you ultimately hoping to achieve from this whole experience?
A connection with the international art community, so I can exhibit my art further, rather than just staying in my own comfort zone. I read a saying that rings true to me: “I see my dreams as if I hold them in the palm of my hands; I dare to dream big for it is me who can only create my world”.
I know this journey will test me and push the boundaries, but I also know that when I follow this dream as I did with New York, the sense of achievement will be worth it.
What plans/upcoming exhibitions/future projects do you have in mind upon your return from Italy?
I have been given the opportunity to send my works to exhibitions in Paris, Milan and Nice. Being a part of this trip will help me decide if I participate and if I do, it is going to be a very busy year in my studio! I also have two private commissions that I will commence working on when I get back, which I’m really excited about.
Where can readers see samples of your art or contact you if they’re interested in your work?
My website www.trishafitzpatrick.com.au or call into my studio at 4 Banksia Street, Blueys Beach. People can call to make sure I’m open on 6554 0902 or Mobile 0488 944 526.
VISITORS to New York’s Agora Gallery have responded favourably to the work of Pacific Palms artist Trisha Fitzpatrick, whose abstract works have featured in the gallery’s showcase of international artists.
The ‘Out from Downunder and Beyond: Fine Art from Australia and New Zealand’ exhibition featured at Agora last month and concluded on Friday. Trisha was plucked from relative obscurity to feature in the exhibition after organisers discovered her work online.
The exhibition material describes Trisha’s work as having “exuberant serenity, hinting at peaceful meadows ablaze in sunlight, cool shady streams, and the richness of life.” Trisha describes her work as both impressionistic and abstract.
“I am always experimenting with different techniques and styles,” Trisha said. “It challenges me all the time to jump from one technique to the other. It is about creating from my mind and interpreting with lots of paint and swirling motions until I can see something emerging from the canvas. The diverse and truly beautiful Australian countryside continues to inspire me. I love colour, texture and movement, and all of this comes through in my work.”
Agora Gallery is a fine art gallery, established in 1984 and located in the heart of New York city’s Chelsea art galleries district. It is famous for showcasing a spectacular array of talented artists from around the world and within New York, while providing quality and original art to collectors.
NEXT STOP NEW YORK: Pacific Palms artist Trisha Fitzpatrick will travel to New York next month for the opening of her exhibition at the Agora Gallery in the heart of the Chelsea art district in New York.
TRISHA Fitzpatrick loves the blank canvas. “I love to experiment, having the blank canvas and just creating from the mind,” Trisha explained from her home gallery at Pacific Palms.
“It’s what’s so great about painting abstract, every work is completely original even the artist cannot repeat it or replicate it exactly the same way. I like to push the boundaries and try something different.”
It’s proved a fruitful move that will see her artistic journey continue in the heart of the New York art world at Chelsea’s Agora Gallery that will exhibit her work in May as part of its Out from Down under exhibition. Trisha is one of six Australian artists to feature in the exhibition after Agora discovered her work online.
“Eighty per cent of my work has been commission, so I don’t do many exhibitions, but they contacted me last year after visiting my website and asked if I’d be interested in exhibiting.It was very daunting in the beginning but I worked through from May to the end of last year putting these 15 paintings together.”
Overcoming fear has been a constant aspect of Trisha’s art career which began when she decided to pursue a lifelong dream in 1994.
“I’d been busy with the kids and running our business (with husband John) so when that settled down John said ‘why don’t you do something you’ve always wanted to do?’ so I went to an art class terrified thinking what am I doing here? But I remember getting a card from my daughter that said ‘go for it Leonardo’ so the encouragement from the family really helped me stay with it.”
After that first art class, Trisha started selling work two years later, though it has changed dramatically over the years.
“It’s been a real journey for me, I started painting more realistic styles but I gradually moved into impressionistic work, I love Monet, and lately I’ve moved into more contemporary abstract work. I changed teachers a lot, I never really stayed with one more than six months because I like to experiment and I didn’t want to get moulded to a particular genreor style.”
Trisha’s latest shift into contemporary abstract work, which caught the attention of the Agora Gallery, is inspired by the Australian landscape and brought alive by the faces, dancers and animals that lie hidden in the colours.
“I don’t set out to paint them,” Trisha explains pointing to her paintings.
“I’ll be painting and I’ll say ‘oh I’ve got a face there’, she just appeared there, there’s people dancing in this one, she’s sleeping on the lake, there’s some little birds in this one.”
Trisha has travelled extensively around Australia and taken in its diverse landscape which she prefers to paint from her recollection.
“I paint from memory and try to recreate the sense of the place that has stayed with me in my mind. The Australian landscape is so diverse so there’s so much there.”
Trisha will travel to New York for the opening of her work at Agora Gallery on May 11 and is excited by the opportunity to sell her work to the world.
You can view Trisha’s work, including what will feature in the exhibition, at www.trishafitzpatrick.com.au