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Shane Bowden, Dean Reilly I wake up with Today!

mixed media on canvas

200 x 400 cm

Shane Bowden and Dean Reilly wanted to pick a subject that brings a smile to your face whenever you look at them or think about them. Steve Jacobs, the weather presenter on Channel Nine’s Today show, seemed the perfect person.

‘Steve Jacobs is on our television every morning, full of energy, giving us the weather for the day and making us feel how lucky we are to live in this great land. We love his enthusiasm, love for life and spirit,’ say the artists.

They had two sittings: the first to discover Jacob’s true personality, discuss concepts and ideas, and sketch his facial characteristics. At the second they finalised the idea of doing the painting as a diptych that captured two sides of his personality. The work on the left would be a standard ‘head shot’ pose with no smile, while the one on the right would have an accentuated, overly happy, almost thrilled expression.

They decided to use a vibrantly bright palette of colours that just made them feel good. ‘We were initially going to leave the complete and very identifiable painting we were creating as it was. However, after looking at the work for a period of time, we decided it would be better if we just concentrated on the line of the shoulders and chin and let the imagination of the viewer take the rest of the space,’ say Bowden and Reilly. So, they blacked out everything that would normally be relevant in a portrait painting, leaving it to the viewer to fill in their ideal image of the sitter.

Bowden was born in Brisbane in 1974 and Reilly was born in Nambour, Queensland in 1966. They met a year ago through their mutual admiration for each other’s work and began experimenting with new styles of painting together. They work and paint together under five other pseudonyms: Mofisto, S&D, Maggnuss Larrsson, Neville ‘Poppa’ Murray and Wolf Keating and find their collaboration exhilarating and liberating. This is the first time in the Archibald Prize for both artists.