A self-portrait by Warrnambool artist Simon Rigg has been entered in this year’s Archibald Prize for portraiture.
Rigg paints with his mouth and his painting is believed to be the first ever entry in the prestigious prize by a mouth painting artist.
Rigg has been a quadriplegic since 1982 when he fell 10 feet to the ground while he was repairing the roof of the shed at the back of his property.
He learnt to paint while he was in rehabilitation.
“I have always had a desire to enter the Archibald Prize and when I did my first self-portrait I thought that this is the year for me,” he said.
“I saw the entries when they were on exhibition in Ballarat last year and since then I have always wanted to enter and this year I think I have come up with a painting of sufficient standard.”
Rigg is a member of the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists and his self-portrait is in contrast with his day job which is painting illustrations for Christmas cards and other products sold by the organisation.
Last year a painting of the three wise men, a sunrise Christmas scene was used to illustrate a Christmas card that was included in the worldwide range from MFPA.
Rigg conceived the painting after he received a photograph of a Wimmera sunrise from a friend and combined that image with a painting of the three wise men mounted on camels to come up with the eye-catching Christmas illustration.
“I was in hospital for a stay a couple of years ago and just for amusement I started drawing camels for no other reason, but that they are interesting to draw in a weird sort of way,” Rigg said.
“These two elements came back to me when I was trying to come up with an idea for a Christmas card, using the sunrise but with the three wise men on camels silhouetted in the foreground.”
The MFPA was established in Australia in 1971.
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