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Asked about his portrait Me, Paul Worstead says: ‘I’m a grumpy old soul.’ The portrait started off as a little drawing about an inch big. He then did a smaller version of this painting before the final portrait. Using autism as a metaphor, Me is ‘to do with being selfish,’ says Worstead. ‘It’s a picture of you as well as me.’
Usually Worstead does a painting in two to three sessions but this took a bit longer. He painted it over a couple of weeks, spending a bit at the end getting the eyes right. Worstead is not autistic. ‘But there is a theory around at the moment that we’re all autistic, just at different levels,’ he says. ‘So it’s deep and meaningful – and I say that as a joke!’ he says.
More, Worstead would rather not say. ‘I prefer people to come to their own conclusions. I’m just tickled pink I got in.’
Born in Sydney in 1950, Paul Worstead completed a diploma of sculpture at East Sydney Technical College in 1974. He has worked as a travelling artist for the past 30 years.