A large crowd came to the Grafton Regional Gallery to see the winner announced for the 2016 Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award.
A large crowd came to the Grafton Regional Gallery to see the winner announced for the 2016 Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award. Adam Hourigan

Inside the minds of the 2016 JADA finalists

15 of the finalists in the 2016 Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award turned out at the official opening and announcement. Daily Examiner journalist Adam Hourigan talked to each of them about their work, and how they felt about being a JADA finalist.


2016 JADA finalist Chris Hundt
2016 JADA finalist Chris Hundt Adam Hourigan

Name: Chris Hundt, Dorrigo

Title: Two Dogs Barking

"This is a house just down the end of the street where I live, and you can see greatly into the distance at Dorrigo because it's a fantastic landscape. It's a typical house, with a typical clothesline and a typical ute, and I just had to draw it. I love it because the whole thing sags - the house sags and it's just beautiful. It's got a wonderful feeling, it's been lived in by many families and the ute is so typical of Dorrigo country."

"I'm a first time finalist and I was amazed, absolutely stunned because it's a painting with drawing over it and it was like - I didn't really think I'd get in."


2016 JADA finalist Sarah Mufford
2016 JADA finalist Sarah Mufford Adam Hourigan

Name: Sarah Mufford, Coffs Harbour

Title: Lotfollah

"It's a mosque in Isfahan in Iran. I was in Iran earlier this year and it's a reference to tiling and Islamic patterning and design. It's a new direction this work - since the travelling I've been learning how to do Islamic geometry and I didn't get very far, so this is just the beginnings of it."

"I've entered the JADA many times and it's the first time I've been hung. I've just moved back to the area so it's a great beginning. I've just had a show in Sydney that just finished with the same work."


2016 JADA finalist Michael Langley
2016 JADA finalist Michael Langley Adam Hourigan

Name: Michael Langley, Coffs Harbour

Title: Granite

"I love the granite landscape, I like being in the landscape, growing up on the coast among the sandstone there's something special about the shapes and colours. I did a trip up through Stanthorpe and through the granite belt and just drew, and came back with my impression of it. I draw from memory not from a photograph and it's just how it makes me feel.

"I'm a first time finalist, and it's amazing. It justifies all the work you put into it."


2016 JADA finalist Liz Slater
2016 JADA finalist Liz Slater Adam Hourigan

Name: Liz Slater, Gulmarrad

Title: Mother Nature

"It's taken from a photo I took on our property and to me it just represents what nature is all about - where it's been looked after by this log that's been there for years now. I came across it and thought she looks great, it looks beautiful and that's what I tried to represent. When I draw I like it to be raw, and look at the light and the depth - when you're in the bush it goes on forever and ever and it's nice to concentrate on one piece.

"I cried when I found out (being a finalist) - it's been a bit of a challenge for me recently. I think it's great the council is representing drawing - drawing is fundamental to all art and it's great that it is here."


2016 JADA finalist Adam Cusack
2016 JADA finalist Adam Cusack Adam Hourigan

Name: Adam Cusack, Melbourne

Title: In Plain Sight

"This piece is very close to my heart - it's the most personal work I've ever created. I'ts about my family. It gets convoluted pretty quickly but essentially my father died when I was very young. This piece is about my siblings, two sisters and myself growing up without my father. The central piece is my fathers coffin, and represented by a jug sitting on top of it. The three vessels are my sisters and myself. I'm the central figure and they are in the shadows. My younger sister passed away, and she actually gave me the big talk of taking myself more seriously and actually starting to make work matter and leaving some sort of legacy. She's the more effervescent of the bottles and the darker figure is my other sister because we're not so close any more."

"I've been a finalist in the JADA before - metaphorically everything is so hidden in this piece so I feel quite safe, I'm not baring my soul as some may. People may interpret the work as a simple still life which is fantastic."


2016 JADA finalist Sandra Kiris
2016 JADA finalist Sandra Kiris Adam Hourigan

Name: Sandra Kiris, Sydney

Title: Becoming

"The work really is a metaphor for life; it's also a metaphor for the creative process that an idea cna start with a spark, it's transformed and becomes an artwork. I've been working like this for the past three years and just doing exclusively drawing."

"It's my first time as a finalist in the JADA, and it's amazing, I'm humbled and thrilled."




2016 JADA finalist Jane Grealy
2016 JADA finalist Jane Grealy Adam Hourigan








Name: Jane Grealy, Brisbane

Title: Maria's garden from the back

"It's of my neighbour Maria who is an Italian emigrant who came out just after the war. I'd been ill for a while and hadn't been able to work and I got a new drug, felt better and looked out over my back fence. I've never worked in charcoal before. I was looking at the work of another artist and he'd done a series of drawings of a landscape where he'd gone to the same place at different times through the year, so I thought I'll do a dozen drawings over a year or two and see how the garden changes.

"I'm a first time finalist in the JADA. I only started drawing a year ago so I'm really really pleased."


2016 JADA finalist JP Willis
2016 JADA finalist JP Willis Adam Hourigan

Name: JP Willis, Moonee Beach

Title: Love Me as I love you

"I work in many mediums: paper, neon, plastics and metals. This is an ongoing piece of work using single line drawing, the light, reflection and showing beauty and weapons at the same time. I've been working with weapons and trying to make them look beautiful for about ten years."

"I was very surprised. I think it's really good - I put it in as a single line drawing and had it made in Italian glass neon."


2016 JADA finalist Judith White
2016 JADA finalist Judith White Adam Hourigan

Name: Judith White, Sydney

Title: Near Snake Bay

"It's based on a bushwalk I did on the south coast near Eden and there is a place called Snake Bay, and when I was walking through the bush I got really spooked by the idea of snakes. I decided to do a drawing that was not picturesque, not like a bush that was friendly and inviting - have a little bit of mystery, menace and a little bit of something you could be spooked about. Snakes have this thing that for people where it's an uncomfortable scenario.

"First time as a JADA finalist and I was really pleased because I don't compete with drawing very much, I always compete with painting. I've always admired the whole concept of drawing competitions and I've had a long association with Grafton because I've come here for many years teaching and have a lot of friends here."


2016 JADA finalist Betty Greenhatch
2016 JADA finalist Betty Greenhatch Adam Hourigan

Name: Betty Greenhatch, Melbourne

Title: Contemporary China

"It's a modern interpretation of willow pattern china set in modern day Shanghai. I've had many travels through China and have been very inspired by the culture and the amazing contrasts. This is one of my usual styles of work, though my paintings are not this detailed."

"I'm a first time finalist in the JADA and I was delighted. I've just returned three days ago from Japan which booked back in February. Three days later I decided I had to come up here, and I'm very pleased I did."



2016 JADA finalist Todd Fuller
2016 JADA finalist Todd Fuller Adam Hourigan



Name: Todd Fuller, Sydney

Title: How to raise a siren

"It's a hand drawn animation. It's got 6000 stills and goes for six minutes. It's about a boy and a dugong - essentially the boy groups up with the sea cow, and after raising it and loving it has to return it to the sea. The inspiration came from lots of sketches, lots of family holidays and childhood memories all pieced together."

"I do a lot of hand drawn films - it's my third time as a finalist - always with animation. The Grafton Regional Gallery has been very supportive."


2016 JADA finalist Michael Riley
2016 JADA finalist Michael Riley Adam Hourigan

Name: Michael Riley, Dorrigo

Title: Seven Days to Marengo Falls

"It's a waterfall on the Armidale Grafton road. We went for a bush walk there and it took us seven days to get there and this is the story. The work shows the different things that happened, there's a camp there's the fall, the natural world, the creeks and rivers, the storms coming through - I bring it all together."

"It's a big thrill, sometimes you don't get into these things. I've never used colour before, so I wasn't real game, just tried a little bit here. You're never really sure what works until you hang it on the wall."


2016 JADA finalist Steve Waller
2016 JADA finalist Steve Waller Adam Hourigan

Name: Steve Waller, Byron Bay

Title: Unsure Belief

"The idea behind it is things that evolve and perpetually return. It's about a returning of social and political ideas, with this one the subject is taken from the mugshots from Sydney Jail in the 1800's and the idea was to portray some kind of idea that there was some kind of feminist ideals and now those ideals are being challenged again. You can sort of say there's a ghostly sort of apparition there. I'm quite interested in history and more so the history of people who are now not here that possibly could be here depending on your beliefs."

"It's just crazy, I don't really know that it's hit home. I'm a bit stunned that I'm am actually here. I've been trying to fuse abstraction and realism for quite some time now with not much success."


2016 JADA finalist Sandra Taylor
2016 JADA finalist Sandra Taylor Adam Hourigan

Name: Sandra Taylor, Coraki

Title: Uneasy Lies the Head that wears the Crown

"A lot of these images believe it or not come from Buccarumbi where I lived for 14 years. A lot of these images may appear incongruous but to me they're part of me because they just seem to emerge. I just try not to think because it's so much better if you can just be when you're working and not have any planned idea. It was like a series, and these just belong to each other and seem to be linking up."

"This is the first time I've ever been in the JADA, I'm more known as a ceramic artist. I've been working with paper and canvas for the past five years and I'm having a retrospective here next year. It was a real shock, I thought they must have made a mistake. I'm thrilled because it's the first time I've seen my work among others because I'm so new at it."


2016 JADA finalist Christine Willcocks
2016 JADA finalist Christine Willcocks Adam Hourigan

Name: Christine Willcocks, Mullumbimby

Title: Time takes care of the wounds

"It's about when you lift a rock out of the ground and it leaves an impression but over time it gets covered up. It's kind of about the natural world and how we develop and build roads, but eventually nature wins out. I love drawing, and I live in the rainforest where there a lots of wild rocks and I just watch where I live in my area and how it's become very developed.

"I've been acquired twice before and I think it's wonderful. It also gives me reason to knuckle down and get into my drawing because I do other things."