Alice’s ‘Survivalism’ Selected In The West Australian Pulse 2023

Congratulations to Alice Handcock for her selection in The West Australian Pulse 2023, with her piece titled ‘Survivalism’. 

The exhibition, formerly known as Pulse Perspectives, features the work of 61 Year 12 Visual Arts graduates from 2022. 

The artworks chosen for the exhibition this year comment on the private, social and artistic concerns of young people and explore themes such as mental health and social pressures, gender and culture, environmentalism and technology. 

Along with her artwork, Alice submitted an artist statement that explains her piece:

“My artwork is inspired by recounts of my Nunno in the mid 1970s. It is said that Nunno filled three, 44-gallon drums with survivalist items, hid them on his farming property, and prepared his family to readily relocate to ensure survival. Nunno’s preparation was in response to the many conflicts that occurred during his lifetime. My first drawing conveys the concerns and realities of Nunno’s generation while the second drawing highlights the comfort and materialism of modern society. The comparison raises the question of what we would do today in the event of a crisis.”

We spoke to Alice to find out more about her artwork and the inspiration behind it:

What is the inspiration behind your piece?

Throughout my childhood, stories reminiscing about my Nunno (Grandfather) were a common occurrence at family gatherings. As a result, my art work is inspired by family members recounting the tale of a time when, in the early 1970’s, my Nunno filled three, 44 gallon drums with survival objects, in response to the many 20th century wars that occurred during his lifetime. I was then influenced by the comfort of our Western world and thought it would be moving to show contemporary objects that our generation would pack, reflecting an ignorance towards war violence, asking the viewer ‘what they would do in the event of a crisis?’

Can you tell us what the creative process leading up to your final artwork involved and how long it took?

Leading up to my final artwork I began by doing research of artists who work hyper-realistically through drawing. I wanted to improve my technique and adapt some of their concepts, such as working life-size, to my own work. To construct my older composition, I explored my Nunno’s shed taking items that belonged to him. This was a part of my research to learn the way older individuals lived and the way that generation reacted to events of that time. I also observed the world around me to construct my newer compositions. I took notice of what people wouldn’t leave the house without or what they took with them when they went away. To construct my final piece, it involved telling a story of both past and present time. 

I worked on this piece throughout the whole of Year 12. I worked on each drawing for about 12 weeks each. I would draw for about an hour each day sometimes longer if I stayed during lunch breaks, after school or worked on it at home.

Were there any challenges you faced? If so, how did you overcome these?

I was very slow to come up with my idea and deciding on my medium. Gaining the confidence to draw when everyone else in my class was painting, was a big challenge for me. I went through so many different ideas, and I couldn’t find one that I fully loved and felt passionate enough to proceed with. I overcame all of this by staying true to what I felt confident enough to do, which was drawing. The harder part was coming up with a unique idea. Because I was already starting later than others in my class and my previous ideas didn’t work out, my confidence was very low. The support from my Mum and Aunty helped me believe in myself. I had the creativity and the skills; I just needed to trust that I was on the right path.

What was your favourite part about Visual Arts in Year 12?

My favourite part about Visual Arts in Year 12 were the girls I was with. All of us had done Visual Arts since Year 7, being in the same classes together every year. We all became really close, with many of them being my closest friends. Although I love producing artwork, those girls are what made Visual Arts so much fun. We would stay through lunch breaks and after school. We would have weird conversations and random spurs of energy. It was the best part of everyday because being in that room with those girls was a safe and relaxed space.

What are you plans post school?

This year I have begun a Bachelor of Arts, double major, in Anthropology and Philosophy at the University of Western Australia. I have also chosen elective art units alongside, which I have enjoyed immensely and have expanded my technique and conceptual approach. It has made me think that in the future, hopefully I can study Fine Arts. I aspire that my studies will lead me to working in an area where I can help and work with other individuals in combination with giving back to the community as helping others has always been a passion of mine.

You can see Alice’s artwork now at The Art Gallery of Western Australia until 20 August. While you are there, you will also have the chance to vote for her piece in The West Australian Pulse 2023 People’s Choice Award, or you can vote online

Congratulations again Alice, this is an outstanding achievement and we can’t wait to see what amazing artwork you create next!

Scroll to Top