Sis for spray paint: share your artwork now
This year marks 100 years since the birth of Australian artist Sidney……
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This year marks 100 years since the birth of Australian artist Sidney Nolan. A new exhibition at the Australian High Commission in London opens later this month, featuring Nolan’s final four abstract spray-painted murals for the first time. To celebrate the Australian art icon’s centenary, we’d like to see your own spray paint artwork.
As a young man in the mid-1930s, Sidney Nolan was employed in the design department of a hat factory in Melbourne, where he first learned to work with commercial spray paint. It, along with other media he used there, intrigued him so much that it led to a lifetime of experimentation – he constantly challenged himself to understand new combinations of materials, in a search for an unhindered expression of emotion.
A few months before his death, in 1992, Nolan explained that after leaving the hat factory he started out as an abstract artist but, influenced by the work of artists such as Picasso, Miro, Ernst and Klee, he became increasingly figurative. He always tried, however, to include abstractions amid his subject matter, to help the viewer to home in on an aspect of the theme: the black square of Ned Kelly’s homemade armour, say, or the round black sunglasses in the faces of Antarctica scientists, faces framed by the fur of their hoods.
Aged 75, in 1988, Nolan painted in the ancient barns of his estate, The Rodd, on the Welsh border. His last major series is of monumental canvases where he reverted once more to commercial spray paint. They are both landscapes and yet abstracts, an attempt by Nolan to go right back to the beginning of his career and “track it through”. He claimed that as an older man he wanted to be more direct, and to try and look at himself as if he was somebody else.
In Nolan’s studio, left undisturbed at The Rodd since he last worked there, are trestle tables bent under the weight of so many spray cans. Amongst the Marabu Buntlack Professional and Holts Dupli-Colour there are cans of Holts Fly Squash Remover and Blair Spray Clear Protective Coating, employed by Nolan for reasons far removed from their intended use. As Nolan’s favourite poet Arthur Rimbaud stated, “One must be absolutely modern.”
How to share your artwork
Share an image of your artwork via GuardianWitness, by clicking the blue “contribute” button on this page, or via the Android or iPhone app. If you have any problems, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll feature some of our favourite submissions on the Guardian’s art and design site. By sending us your pictures you: a) acknowledge that you have created the pictures or have permission to do so; and b) grant us a non-exclusive, worldwide, free licence to publish your pictures as described. Copyright resides with you, and you may reuse your pictures however you wish. Read our full terms and conditions.
Don’t worry if they don’t appear immediately – everything has to be approved before it can be “hung” in our online gallery. Do tell us in the comments if there are any improvements we could make to the series.
Unseen: Works from the Sidney Nolan Trust Collection will be at the Australian High Commission in London from 21 April to 4 May. The exhibition is part of the Sidney Nolan Centenary 2017.