Artist captures mayor for Archibald Prize bid

HOLD THAT POSE: Erin Smith does some initial sketches for her Archibald portrait of Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale.
HOLD THAT POSE: Erin Smith does some initial sketches for her Archibald portrait of Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale. Rob Williams

IPSWICH Mayor Paul Pisasale is about to be framed.

"I've had plenty of people try to frame me, but this is going to be beautiful," he said with a grin.

This time, Cr Pisasale will be hung as well ... hopefully on the wall of an Australian art gallery when East Ipswich artist Erin Smith finishes her entry in the Archibald Prize.

Each Archibald portrait must be of a prominent Australian citizen.

Entries are shortlisted and the prestigious award is presented in September each year.

Ms Smith, who has exhibited nationally and internationally, grew up in the city before moving away to complete a Bachelor of Design Arts at the Australian Academy of Design.

"I've moved back and this is my roots," she said.

"I think every face is interesting but I thought Paul would be a really good sport and someone I could gel with. I didn't want someone who would be uptight.

"He is an Australian that I'd like to paint. I'm just really fortunate that he accepted."

Artist Erin Smith's painting of Paul Pisasale. Photo: Contributed
Artist Erin Smith's painting of Paul Pisasale. Photo: Contributed Contributed

Ms Smith, who lists 2011 Archibald winner Ben Quilty as among those who inspired her, says she enjoys working with found materials and will use oils to paint Cr Pisasale on a piece of plywood.

She has already had "a bit of fun practice" with Cr Pisasale in a preliminary work (see right).

Ms Smith took photos and made some sketches of Cr Pisasale this week and will paint her Archibald entry in her studio.

Cr Pisasale said he wanted to "highlight the value of our local artists".

"It is very hard for artists to make a living, but they are the heart and soul of our community," he said

"That is why I jumped at the opportunity to work with a great talent like Erin ... and it is a good opportunity to have some fun.

"The whole future is our young generation and Erin represents that.

"I am one of the local government characters of Australia and people have recognised the leadership qualities I bring to the city, so this is a great way to promote the arts.

"I had a piece done of me a few years ago. It was the size of an entire wall, but I gave it away to Westfalen because my daughter said it was giving her nightmares."

Topics:  archibald prize paul pisasale

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