As you are
30 January - 10 February
30 January – 10 February 2018
Tuesday – Friday 11am to 5pm,
Saturday 12pm to 4pm
…an exploration in the subtleties of physical expression through body language, attitude and sartorial choices.
As you are is an exploration in the subtleties of physical expression through body language, attitude and sartorial choices. Taking visual cues from street fashion photography, the collection of life-size portraits aims to capture the feeling of presence through the illustration of everyday Melburnians.
Our bodies are our connection to life. They’re what link us to the world. The way we dress, stand and hold ourselves tells a story about this relationship. I think this is what makes a portrait so interesting. Not intense beauty or striking features, but the subtleties in expression, posture, stance, that both hide and reveal at once. It’s this quiet tension between the internal and external that gives away who we are, and what I have aimed to capture in my work.
As you are is a collection of portraits of people I know. They’re everyday people, dressed as they would be on any day of their lives. It may be true what they say about the eyes being the window to the soul, but I think the door, lawn and mailbox say something too. And so it was important to me to capture their full body. I chose to remove them from their surroundings and place them in a completely white world so they could be transported anywhere. This, along with the life-size scale of the work, gives the sense of presence – that they’re standing here in the room with us.
Each portrait has been rendered in fineline pen and black pencil. In contrast to the simple composition, the drawings themselves delight in the detail. In many ways, As you are is about the craft of drawing itself. It’s an exploration of time, patience and repetition, of the discipline and commitment required to achieve mastery. With each piece taking between 50 – 100 hours to complete, they inadvertently tell a personal story of my battle with perfectionism, and relentless desire for excellence.
I’m a fresh new artist living and working in Melbourne. I may not have been to art school, but innovation, creativity and conceptual exploration have always been a fundamental aspect of both my education and adult working life.
In the eight years I spent working in advertising I was influenced by some of the most brilliant minds and charismatic personalities, inspired by the work they produced and motivated by their passion. While I was never really able to find creative satisfaction from my role in this world, it gave me the energy and ambition to create something of my own.
I use black pen and pencils on paper to produce simple compositions with intense detail. I love street fashion photography and spend more time on Instagram and Tumblr than I care to admit. The frivolousness of my favorite pastime plagues me with guilt, and yet continues to be my greatest source of inspiration.
While this inspiration may have served as a starting point, my most recent work is not about fashion at all, but rather takes cues from this style of photography to explore themes of attitude, body language and the unique way that people find connection to everyday life through the expression of their body.
As you are will be my debut exhibition.
– Stephanie Howden