War on waste and the Archibald Prize
There's no such thing as an uncreative Art teacher and in Ms Judith Price's case, she is certainly no exception.
Judith is well known locally for combining two major passions in her life, art and the environment. Her studios on the Central Coast are jam-packed with rubbish she has found on her walks along the beach and kerbside. She transforms the disposable into incredible sculptures and artworks prompting viewers to look again and question our environmental impact on the planet.
Through several mediums Judith has long embraced her quirky take on the issue of waste and the effect on ecosystems. So it came as no surprise when Judith's latest artwork, to be entered into the Archibald Prize, featured none other than Craig Reucassel, presenter of the ABC TV series War on Waste.
"War on Waste was a real inspiration to me. It inspired me to contact Craig and start the process of painting his portrait specifically for the Archibald. My artwork revolves around environmental concerns, namely rubbish and sustainability, so working with Craig was a perfect fit." said Judith.
Judith started work back in June last year. She had live sittings, a photo shoot and conversations with Craig to truly understand and unpack his passions and concerns in the world so she could reflect this in her painting.
"Originally I had in my mind that I would make use of all the plastic cutlery and other single use plastic items that I have collected over the years. I thought I would incorporate these items physically into the painting. However, the more I got to know Craig the more I discovered that his biggest concern is food waste, and in particular bananas."
A study done by Karlstad University showed that seven products account for almost half the fruit and vegetables wasted by retailers and bananas are one of the worst food waste culprits.
"They're one of Australia's top-selling food. But every day, millions of good bananas are thrown away because they aren't yellow enough or don't have the right shape for the supermarket shelf. Craig shared with me his horror when he watched supermarket workers using measuring tapes to assess fruit. Of the 80 million bananas grown each year, supermarkets discard more than 30 million. It is one of Craig's biggest concerns - we are throwing away perfectly good food when our country is in drought," explained Judith.
The portrait, painted in acrylics and watercolour on a piece of discarded cardboard Judith retrieved from a recycling skip, stands at almost 2 metres in width and features an incredibly detailed background scene highlighting all the packaged waste we discard each day. As you look closely, viewers recognise takeaway from fast food companies, bottles and wrappers. Then you notice the vibrant, bright yellow of discarded bananas that Craig feels so concerned about.
Added Judith, "It's been an honour working with Craig to represent him and have the opportunity enter his portrait for possible selection in this year’s Archibald. He is an inspiration to me, particularly his grit and humour when getting his point across. I’m thrilled to be able to share his story."
The Archibald Prize is awarded annually to the best portrait of a man or women distinguished in art, letters, science or politics. Judith Price has been an Art teacher at CCGS since 2007 and teaches both Junior School and Senior College students.