David Griggs is not only the subject of Adam Norton’s portrait, but also a finalist himself in this year’s Archibald Prize.
‘David Griggs is a brave and challenging artist. His paintings are a visceral reflection of his thoughts and feelings,’ says Adam Norton. ‘His practice is very different from mine. I often mask the hand of the artist with smooth flat surfaces and like to step away from my presence in the finished work. I decided painting him would be an interesting challenge. In fact, it came together relatively simply, as the strength of David’s physical bearing made every decision quite obvious – his pose on the milk crate, the tattoos on his hands, as well as the chequered background, which is an extended fragment taken from a painting he was working on in the studio. His clothing just needed to morph into the dark infinity of space to complete the work.’
Born in the UK in 1964, Norton grew up in Nigeria and Kenya, and is now based in Sydney. He studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford University, and uses painting, sculpture and film to explore the effects of technology on the human condition. This is his first time in the Archibald Prize.