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Marc De Jong

Janice Petersen
oil on canvas
172.5 x 177cm
Further information

Marc de Jong saw the Archibald Prize exhibition for the first time last year and decided to enter in 2010. Casting around for a subject, the idea of painting Janice Petersen, who co-hosts World News Australia for SBS Television, presented itself as a way to paint the media.

‘I’ve never had a TV,’ says de Jong, ‘but last year, my dad gave us his old telly. It sat there in the corner for two months then one evening was finally turned on and out beamed an enchanting newsreader: someone whose graceful intelligence and profession deserved a portrait. We met in Sydney via our respective employers and talked shop, sketching up a basic cartoon of the portrait for her team, and to get approval. The picture’s emphasis was to show the studio operation within her work environment: its connectivity of things and people. Once all-OK’d from up top, I visited the studio and drew her reading news to air, live on set.’

De Jong has worked pixilation with oils for many years, inspired by the way patterns reveal so many different themes and references; from contemporary cultural fragmentation to quantum physics. ‘It’s been used by Aboriginal artists, post-impressionists, pop and post-modern artists,’ he says.

‘The media is a relatively new phenomenon in the history of humanity. Television hasn’t been around too long, and is probably on its way out, so to synch an old artform up to a recent, omnipresent one by focussing on our nightly news as a theatre of information, is exciting cultural R & D.’

The painting took six months.

Born in Switzerland in 1970, de Jong is based in Melbourne. He has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Victorian College of the Art and, prior to that, studied under Howard Arkley while completing an advanced certificate of Art and Design at Prahran TAFE. He has had 15 solo exhibitions and been involved in numerous group shows. He was a finalist in the 2009 Sulman Prize, the 2008 Wynne Prize, the 2008 Fleurieu Biennale and the 2006 ABN Amro Emerging Artist’s Award among other art prizes. Also known as marcsta, he is one of Melbourne’s most notable street artists.