Young Adelaide artist Tsering Hannaford is quickly carving a name for herself in the world of portraiture.
Returning from study in two of New York’s premier arts academies, Hannaford (the daughter of Archibald Prize finalist Robert Hannaford) is exhibiting works of figurative drawing and portraits from her time in the Big Apple at the Chancery Lane Gallery in this year’s Adelaide Fringe. The journey to New York came from a desire to expand her skillset and find new influences. “I wanted to get out there and open myself up to new experiences… getting out of your city can revitalise your whole approach,” Hannaford says. After successfully applying for a grant from Arts SA, Hannaford was able to enrol in the Art Students League of New York, which has seen artists like Jackson Pollack, Ai Weiwei and Roy Liechtenstein pass through its doors, as well as the Grand Central Atelier school in Queens. These established atelier-style schools where classes and workshops take place in large studios appealed greatly to Hannaford because of her taste for older techniques and collaborative work. “I like to do things the old-fashioned way,” Hannaford says, talking about her love for live drawing, and personally learning about her subjects. “It’s very engaging to draw someone from life. You get to know them in such a personal way.” Hannaford believes that when it comes to painting someone’s portrait, it’s important to know your subject. Asked how her subjects feel after being painted, and if they’re always happy with the result, Hannaford says that they normally are, but sometimes notices some fear early on in the process while the image is still raw and unfinished. “People can be self-conscious about the way they look and it’s odd to see yourself through someone else’s eyes.” In this, Hannaford has always kept a strong interest in self-portraits. When the subject is yourself, there’s more room to play with the outcome. “Self-portraits present the perfect opportunity to experiment and present a finished portrait… There’s not as much pressure as there might be painting someone else.” For her efforts in self-portraiture, Hannaford has already received high praise. Last year she earned a place in the 2015 Archibald Prize Finalists for her self-portrait Objet démodé, with two other entries to the competition being included in the Salon De Refuses exhibition, as well as various scholarships and prizes. “I’ve always painted and done self-portraits, even as a child,” Hannaford says, and it seems that we are set to see much more from this budding artist. Tsering Hannaford – Works from New York City Chancery Lane Gallery Exhibition is open now until Tuesday, 19 March tseringhannaford.com.au adelaidefringe.com.au Hero image: Tsering Hannaford, Portrait study painted at Grand Central Atelier (detail), New York, oil on board, 41 x 30cm, 2015.