Lives in Perth, WA, Australia
2016, duration 2 mins, looped
Commissioned by Transport for New South Wales
6am-3pm on odd-numbered days throughout May 2019
3pm-12am on even-numbered days throughout May 2019
The work consists of seven differently illustrated faces spread across the screen like a horizontal totem. Each face is a constantly evolving animation that cycles from the recognisable human face to that of a primitive form, and back to a human face. The faces are ever evolving: a woman becomes a primitive face, becomes another primitive face, becomes a man, becomes a primitive face, becomes a different man, and on and on across the seven faces that never truly resolve.
The faces are drawn from the mugshot collection of the Sydney Living Museum in a loose interpretive style that recontexualises them as contemporary forms. They are historical in content, but modern in style – creating a reinterpretation of time. As the faces evolve/devolve they become a contemporary interpretation of a more primeval representation. They reference ‘naïve’ tribal antiquities, but never come from a specific place or time. They are instead a reference to our shared history, from the moment we all huddled in caves and cursed the skies in search of answers.
Essentially, I’m exploring the question of why post-occupation multicultural Australian identity is built on a sense of ‘anti- establishment’ when it’s only the passing of time that allows us to view rogue elements of our past with such nostalgia. If Ned Kelly were alive today, would he be called a ‘terrorist’? Would the Swagman from Waltzing Matilda be cast as a ‘lowlife’? What of these former Sydney criminals, our cultural neighbours – are they stuck somewhere in between because of time and context? Where do they lie on our ‘History’s Page’?
Each ‘face’ is made up of hand-created drawings made the old fashioned way: pencil and markers on paper. They were then scanned image by image to create movement. The work consists of over 2000 unique illustrations.
Inspired by the NSW Police Forensic Photography Archive at the Justice & Police Museum, corner Albert & Phillip Streets, Circular Quay, Sydney. Find out more at http://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/justice-police-museum/forensic-archive
James Price is an internationally acclaimed artist and ‘maker’ – painter, filmmaker, illustrator, designer, photographer, art director, animation director, writer, and storyteller.
He has won numerous awards all over the world for his works. He has been invited to judge other artists’ works, and speak about his craft. However, he finds this nowhere near as much fun as actually making something.
As a visual artist, storyteller and filmmaker James has collaborated with many influential content creators around the world, including MTV, Coca Cola, The Beastie Boys, Sony, The Washington Post, TED, and The BBC.
James’ work has been praised for its honesty and skillful craft. His paintings, drawings and photography mix elements of Folk Art and contemporary abstraction to connect the dots between the natural world and our inner ‘primal’ self. As a prolific artist and maker, James has held three highly successful solo exhibitions in the past two years.
Following stints living and travelling all over the globe – including a decade working from his own highly successful studio in New York – James currently resides in Perth. He considers himself a citizen of the world (which is rubbish, because both his passport and accent will tell you he’s Australian).