Ricky Swallow sits for a portrait!

Internationally acclaimed Australian artist Ricky Swallow visited Arts Project Australia this afternoon, managing to squeeze in a studio sitting and have his portrait painted by a number of our artists.

Swallow returned to Australia briefly from his home in LA for his upcoming show at Darren Knight Gallery in Sydney, and accepted our invitation to visit our gallery and spend an extended period of time with our artists in our beautiful studio. The experience was great for all involved, and the artists were extremely focused on capturing Ricky Swallow’s portrait over the afternoon he was here. Ricky Swallow was invited to sit for a portrait as part of our upcoming project titled 6°OF SEPARATION.

We have to admit we were all a little star-struck by the visit, with many staff and artsworkers having followed the evolution of his work over the span of his illustrious career. That aside, we do have a relationship with Ricky Swallow, albeit one that’s formed across the world and mediated by email correspondence, having assisted him in curating a collection of Alan Constable cameras at South Willard in LA earlier this year. The exhibition titled Alan Constable/Ten Cameras, initiated by Swallow, was Constable’s first solo collection presented in the USA.

Interestingly, parts of Swallow’s practice are not that dissimilar in its origins to that of our self-taught artists, having been influenced by pop culture and been “completely self-taught in wood carving, relying on persistence rather than formal training. “You’ve either got some sort of gift for it or you haven’t. I’ve always thought it better to be a pirate than an expert in any medium; it’s better to find your own attitude within it.” (Ricky Swallow: Wood for Thought, First published in The Bulletin, Volume 122; Number 47, posted by Michael Hutak 23 Nov 2004)

We really enjoyed spending the day with Ricky Swallow and appreciate the time he spent in the gallery and studio, especially considering how jet lagged he was after heading over to Northcote straight from the plane.


Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney


6°OF SEPARATION is an exhibition being curated by Sim Luttin Gallery Manager & Curator, for Arts Project Australia’s 40th Anniversary Celebration as part of our 2014 internal exhibition program. The project proposes a portrait exhibition that can be likened to a mini “Archibald” featuring artwork by emerging, mid-career and established artists from Arts Project Australia, of well-known Australian personalities who they paint from life.

Image #1: Ricky Swallow sitting for a portrait with several of our artists in Arts Project Australia’s Northcote studio.