An artist has put himself in the spotlight to create the winning design for the 2019 Adelaide Fringe’s official poster.
Created by Warnambool painter Matthew Clarke, the poster is a self-portrait of himself as a Fringe performer.
Clarke, who identifies as having an intellectual disability, started creating art in 2005 and works with acrylic on linen.
“For me, painting is about wanting to express my happiness to others. I like using bold, bright colours so it attracts people and makes them feel happy about art,” he said.
“I’ve got a disability, so I’m quite proud to show there’s no barriers between that and making artwork.”
Clarke was commissioned to create a painting for the prestigious Melbourne Art Trams project last year. Now his work is set to appear on Adelaide trams as part of the marketing campaign for next year’s Fringe.
“I’m excited to see my poster displayed all over Adelaide. It really means a lot to me,” he said.
Adelaide Fringe Director and CEO Heather Croall said this year’s poster design was a move away from the graphic prints of recent years and a nod to some of the iconic Fringe posters created by painters in the past.
“We chose Matthew’s entry because of the striking, fiery brush strokes that convey a sense of risk-taking and adventure and the vibrant colours that encapsulate the energy of Fringe. It all comes together to create a stunning self-portrait of the artist putting on a Fringe show. We love the story behind the poster and the way it celebrates the performer in all of us,” Ms Croall said.
“Matthew’s work has a fabulous abstract style that is sure to catch people’s eye and get them excited for next year’s Adelaide Fringe.”
Ms Croall said the fact the winner is an artist with a disability complemented the Fringe’s growing number of initiatives to improve the festival’s accessibility and inclusivity.
“We’re an open access festival, so it comes with the territory that we want everyone to be able to join in on the wonderful artistic experience our Fringe has to offer,” she said.
“To achieve this, Adelaide Fringe is constantly looking for ways to cater for all artists and audience members – everything from detailed venue information to initiatives like audio tours for the visually impaired.
“We’re looking forward to introducing new measures to make the 2019 Adelaide Fringe our most accessible festival yet so everyone can come along for the ride.”
In keeping with Adelaide Fringe’s open access nature, there is a long history of the official poster being chosen from a design competition that anyone from around the world can enter. This year saw 357 entries submitted.
The winning design will start to appear around Adelaide as anticipation for next year’s Fringe builds. A full 2019 Adelaide Fringe program will be released in December.
As part of today’s announcement, a large-scale reproduction of the poster design has been unveiled on Union Street in Adelaide’s East End. The mural, completed by Clarke earlier this week, will feature on the 2019 Adelaide Fringe Street Art Explosion Map.
The 2019 Adelaide Fringe will run from February 15 to March 17.