Isabelle Robertson was determined that her very first attempt at a portrait had to be an Archibald Prize entry.
The big question for the 19-year-old artist from The Oaks was who the subject would be.
“Many colourful people came to mind, but none of them were really inspiring”, she said.
Then, somewhere around mid-2022, Ms Robertson came across Amar Singh and was immediately drawn to the humorous, hardworking founder of Turbans 4 Australia, who is also currently the Australian Local Hero of the Year.
“The joke was that I would be good at painting him, because I had painted my three dogs for my HSC and his beard was like their fur in texture. Amar laughed and said ‘thanks a lot’!” she said.
Ms Robertson is currently studying Design & 3D Animation at Torrens University Sydney. So it was a challenge finding the time between Uni, work and sport, but over 100 hours later, the 122 x 92cm portrait was completed and dropped off at the Art Gallery of NSW.
Accompanying Ms Robertson to the drop off, Amar Singh said he was “simply blown away” by the portrait.
“And of course, to me it was time well spent to encourage a young artist out there almost in the bush to pursue her dreams, and who knows, she could be famous one day if she continues like this,” Mr Singh beamed.
The Archibald Prize receives around 700 entries each year and only 40 get hung. Isabelle is keeping her fingers crossed, saying, “It would be the greatest to be hung, to win, I’m not sure I am at that standard yet, but who wouldn’t want to win $100,000. You gotta be in it to win it.”
Artists will be told on April 27th if their work will hang in the prestigious exhibition, with the winner announced on May 5th.
“I wanted to do the painting for the experience and to add to my portfolio; the most challenging thing was definitely perfecting the skin tone and making it realistic,” Ms Robertson said.
The likeness is startling. Amar’s eyes twinkle out of the acrylic, the turban is characteristically colourful, and yes, the texture of the beard is magnificent!