The subject of Henry Mulholland’s portrait is art dealer Darren Knight. “I met Darren in my final year of art school. He bought a painting from my graduate show at East Sydney Technical College (now the National Art School) in 1988. Our friendship developed from there. We travelled around America together in 1991. When we returned to Australia, he moved to Melbourne to start his gallery, moving back to Sydney two years ago,” says Mulholland.
“Darren never stands still. When you go into his gallery in Waterloo, you usually find him rushing around making calls or showing pictures to clients. He is a very busy and hardworking bloke.
“In my portrait I first fried to evoke this using props such pictures stacked around, with Darren in motion amongst them. However, as the picture developed, he became more still and the painting generally became less chaotic. He now stands looking towards the viewer in an acute state of dishevelment as a result of his day at the gallery – which is how Darren usually looks in the afternoon.
“Darren is a lot taller than I am, and as the painting is roughly life size, I got so fed up getting on and off a milk crate to reach the head, I eventually cut a foot off the bottom of the picture so that I could reach the head with ease.
Born in Northern Ireland in 1962, Mulholland migrated to Australia in 1973. He has been represented in the Archibald Prize on four previous occasions.