Numpty (Gabriel Denham)
80 x 105 cm
The artist represents themselves
About the artwork and sitter
Power Clown is a portrait of local emerging artist Numpty. Numpty works on reclaimed and recycled canvases and paints in a naïve style. His work has been featured in a number of underground art shows and caught the eye of the photographer when Numpty was still in school. The use of expired analogue film was a deliberate choice as it fits well with Numpty’s use of found canvases.
“The age of the film has been impacted by the backing paper adding texture and text to the portrait. The posture of the artist reflects his style as well as his tongue in cheek attitude. Power Clown was added to the portrait by Numpty via a tablet and e-pen.
About the artist
Liminal Tart is the artist name of Brisbane photographer Brett Wood. Shooting exclusively on analogue equipment and film stock, Brett captures the essence of his native city in a format that he learned in his youth. His work has been compared to that of William Eggleston and his architectural images compare with painter Robert Brownhall’s pieces.
“For this particular shot I had some expired film that had been poorly stored and the backing paper was leaving artefacts on the negative and I thought this would be the right type of look for the portrait of Numpty.”
Behind the scenes
I work exclusively with film for my photography. It’s what I grew up shooting and I like the process and the tactile nature of the medium. For this particular shot I had some expired film that had been poorly stored and the backing paper was leaving artefacts on the negative and I thought this would be the right type of look for the portrait of Numpty, who paints on reclaimed and found objects.
Once I had a digital scan of the negative I asked Numpty to embellish the work with some artwork in his own style. The choice was entirely his. I sent him two negatives, one shot on colour film in his studio and one shot on black and white in my studio. When he returned the files with his embellishments I was torn between the colour and the black and white. I liked them both for different reasons but the black and white won out at the end of the day. Black and white photography has a classic feel, that combined with the way Numpty was posed on the crates were the deciding factors for me.
I wanted to print the image quite large as I wanted the grain and residue of the film backing paper to be amplified by the larger size of the print. The final result makes it quite obvious that there are imperfections in the image, you can even make out the 10 of the frame number. I chose a simple black frame with no mat board to allow the portrait to speak for itself.