We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

Matt Adnate Echoes of a teenage superstar

spray paint and acrylic on linen

198 x 198 cm

Matt Adnate began his career as a street artist, which led to painting giant murals and portraiture. This portrait – Adnate’s first to appear in the Archibald – depicts musician Daniel Johns, who first found fame in the 1990s as frontman of the band Silverchair.

‘When I was approached to create a portrait of Daniel for his exhibition Daniel Johns: Past, Present and FutureNever in Melbourne, I was thrilled. I had previously painted a large mural of a First Nations boy in Daniel’s hometown of Newcastle [in NSW], so he was familiar with my work,’ says Adnate.

‘When I met Daniel for our sitting, we immediately connected. Our conversation delved into the challenge of staying true to one’s creative vision, while navigating the pressures of a successful career. It was evident that Daniel is not only a talented musician, but passionate about art.’

Throughout his career, Johns has spoken about the challenges of fame and ongoing issues with his physical and mental health. ‘I have portrayed him with an expression conveying the weight of the world, given the struggles he endured after his meteoric rise to stardom as a teenager. I immersed the portrait in a blend of abstract, vivid colours to represent his complex journey and fortitude. Daniel appreciated the work and encouraged me to enter it into the Archibald.’

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