Youth Art Exhibition Winner 2013

PORTRAIT BY YEAR 9 STUDENT WINS ART AWARD

“When you photograph people in colour, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls”. So said Canadian photo- journalist Ted Grant, and his words resonated with 15-year old Perth College art student Melissa Clements, who last month won the People’s Choice Award in the Youth Art Exhibition at the 2013 Darlington Arts Festival.

The $100 award was sponsored by the Mundaring Bicentennial Scholarship Trust.
Melissa, who lives in Kalamunda, specialises in portraiture – using a pencil or charcoal rather than a camera – and her winning entry, titled ‘Enigma’, was a charcoal drawing of British actor Benedict Cumberbatch. The Year 9 student has always been interested in art, and would like to take it as a TEE subject. “I enjoy it and find it’s an escape from the academic work’ she admits. ‘I do it to relax.”

Hailing from an artistic family, Melissa started drawing at an early age. Although keen to do portraits, she initially doubted her ability to succeed in such a challenging field. Her persistence paid off, however: “When I was around 13, I began to think that maybe I could do this.”

“I’ve tried painting but I definitely prefer drawing with pencil and charcoal. I sometimes like to do the eyes in colour because it makes a portrait quite intimate.”

Why the choice of Benedict Cumberbatch as a subject? She admires the actor and thinks he has a strong face: “Everything is out of proportion, it’s not normal, but it works,” she comments.

Image Details:
Melissa Clements, winner of the People’s Choice Award, in the Youth Art Exhibition at the 2013 Darlington Arts Festival, with Megan Fraser, the festival’s Youth Art Coordinator, and the winning entry – a charcoal drawing of actor Benedict Cumberbatch entitled, Enigma.

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