The winner of this year’s Moreton Bay Art Prize was also a finalist in the 2023 Brisbane Portrait Prize.
Margate’s Jamie Congdon’s All Aboard in Margate Parade impressed Moreton Bay Art Prize judge Sam Cranstoun, who says the sheer scale of the work is evidence of the artist’s commitment to his craft.
“As a painting, the surface is seductive and hypnotic, Jamie’s sophisticated application of paint creates a surface that is almost sculptural,” Cranstoun says.
“His inspired and adventurous use of perspective leaves you questioning whether the work is a portrait, a suburban landscape, a complex narrative, a fleeting daily snapshot or an intimate diary entry.
“Somehow it is both all of these things and none of them.
“Creating a harmonious, captivating and unctuous work at this scale is no small feat.
“The image itself speaks volumes – a figure at once reflective and ‘at work’ – capturing with beauty and sensitivity that intensely relatable scene.
“Sitting in the driver’s seat, between destinations, simultaneously in motion and painfully still.”
Dozens of entries
Jamie says winning was a “bit of a surprise”.
“I’ve never won anything before – I wasn’t really painting from my heart and when I started, that’s when I had success straight off.
“I used to do different stuff and then I decided I should focus on my ability as an artist and paint life around me.
“I was a finalist last year and this year I won.”
With 152 entries in this year’s Moreton Bay Region Art Prize and 39 entries in the Outdoor Gallery, Mayor Peter Flannery says it showcased the depth of artistic talent in the Moreton Bay region.
“These outstanding works speak volumes about the talent of our local artists,” Mayor Flannery says.
“A flourishing arts and cultural sector plays a vital role in shaping our city’s identity and contributes to a sense of place and belonging.”
Second place in the Moreton Bay Art Prize went to Tayla Anahera Shanti Mishra for The Interruption, third to Amanda Ivy Gardner’s Ladies Home Journal #3 and the People’s Choice award to Donna Hawkins The Keepsake 2023. Hawkins was also a finalist in the Brisbane Portrait Prize.
Painting from the heart
Drawing inspiration from artists such as Austrian expressionist painter Egon Schiele and American photorealist Norman Rockwell, Congdon says he likes to include elements of his life in his work.
“I just think it’s good to paint what you see in life – and a lot of my life’s in my taxi.”
While he sometimes paints in acrylic, Congdon, who has a degree in fine art from Griffith University and also studied animation, says his real passion is oils.
“It’s just the colour – it’s really lush, whereas acrylic is really just house paint.
“I also draw a lot. I have so many sketch books with drawings.
“I take my sketchbook with me all the time in the taxi and use it when I’m waiting for a fare.”
Reflection of life
Jamie’s entry into this year’s Brisbane Portrait Prize, Shutup Im Drawing, also reflects his life as a taxi driver and depicts what he likes to do best – draw while the sun is streaming into the car.
“I’m painting a story. I’m revealing myself through my art…not in any showy or pretentious fashion -just mainly interiors of my home and facets of my life.”
Although the painting is a self-portrait, staring out at the view, Jamie says he feels like an intruder.
“To me this is a concept or image I feel goes on ad infinitum. I have actually abandoned this picture…”
Find more of his work here.
See the finalists
The 2023 Brisbane Portrait Prize exhibition runs until October 29 at the Brisbane Powerhouse, 119 Lamington St, New Farm.
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