Warrnambool artists Harley Manifold and Jimmi Buscombe confess they're each other's biggest critics. But the friends are thrilled they have both been named semi-finalists in the country's richest art competition; the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (DMNPP).
Both members of The F Project and avid supporters of the thriving art scene in Warrnambool, Manifold's and Buscombe's piece could not be further apart.
"For the past 10 years I've painted a self-portrait. It's a way I can see where I'm at and what kind of headspace I'm in," Manifold said.
"I started this piece three months ago before I made the move back to Warrnambool. It was winter and cold and morbid and I was wondering whether I was making the right decision. The bloody nose is me fighting with myself.
"I had painted a landscape on the canvas and it was really a throw away piece I decided to paint over. I placed a mirror on the easel and I got some of the chunky, left over pieces off my palette to build the piece so it's kind of 3D."
Manifolds moody and pensive self-portrait is a world away from Buscombe's daring and wild representation of Warrnambool-raised Daniel Newell's alter-ego DANDROGYNY.
"I worked with Dan from the beginning and we collaborated well together," Buscombe said.
"I worked from photos I took of Dan and narrowed the selection down to six photos before deciding on this powerful and classically dance stance he's in.
"I used all acrylic paints with phosphorus, fluorescent paints as well as glow-in-the dark paint and, of course, glitter.
"I love that it's got into the prize. I think it's a reflection of how far society has come in acceptance of the LBGT+ community and gender fluidity."
While Manifold's piece basically fits in the palm of your hard, Buscombe's stands at 1.8 metres-squared.
Both artists are part of a pool of 139 semi-finalists in this year's DMNPP.
The DMNPP sees thousands of entries every year and boasts a first prize of $150,000. The finalists will be announced on October 16 with the winner crowned on October 30.
The winning portrait becomes the property of the Moran Arts Foundation and is exhibited permanently as part of the foundation's collection.
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