Introducing Our 2024 Artist in Residence, Sid Pattni.

Sid Pattni and his piece: 'The Story of Us' (Portait of Philip)

Over the next two weeks, we are privileged to have esteemed artist and educator Sid Pattni mentoring and sharing his knowledge with our students. An award-winning Indian-Australian creative, Sid primarily expresses himself through painting and embroidery. We were fortunate enough to engage him in a conversation where he graciously answered some of our queries.

Firstly, congratulations on your remarkable achievement with the Kennedy Prize! What is the significance and symbolism in ‘The Story of Us”?

Thank you! That painting was part of a larger body of work where I depicted the stories of refugees in Australia. I am always conscious of the fact that unless you’re a First Nations person, then you or your family migrated to Australia to seek a better life. So, the stories of refugees seeking a better life is one that is common to us too. There is a shared humanity in that which I wanted to explore. 

Who have been the most influential figures shaping your artistic journey?

There have been so many over the years and it’s ever-changing. Right now I’m really inspired by visual artists like Kerry James Marshall and Georgia Spain. More broadly, I have also been really influenced by the writings of Shashi Tharoor and George Saunders.

What would you like your audience to discover from your artworks?

As an artist, my role is to convey an emotion or idea to an audience. If it opens a door and allows them to see the world in a slightly different way then I have succeeded.

What advice would you give to high school students who would like to pursue a career as an artist?

Prioritise play:  Make sure you are constantly absorbing stimulus from the world around you and experimenting with the way in which you create.

Focus on process rather than product: Enjoy the process of creation and don’t put pressure on yourself to have to create a masterpiece. If you love the process, then the outcome becomes secondary.  

Find your voice:  It is easy to get caught up with what everyone else is doing and comparing yourself to them. Be authentic to yourself. Just trust that the way in which you see the world and make art is unique to only you and cultivate that.

How would you describe your artistic style?

Contemporary portraiture.

 What motivated you to pursue a career as an artist?

I have always been inclined to the Arts, whether it be music or painting. I was also lucky to have parents that gave me the space and encouragement me to pursue a career in the arts so I think it happened fairly organically.

What serves as the inspiration behind your painting

It really depends on what I want to communicate to an audience. My current body of work explores the process of colonisation on India and its impact on diaspora. Previously, I have created works that were more introspective or about the specific person I was painting. 

Describe your process to create a painting from scratch

I usually collect a lot of stimulus images on Pinterest and save them as a kind of e-visual diary. Once I have an idea of what I want to paint, I draw and collage aspects of what I have found online to create a composition in Photoshop. Photoshop allows me to endlessly edit things to ensure I am happy with the final composition before I paint it. Once that is all done, I copy the design onto the canvas and begin painting!

The meticulous hand embroidery evident in your portraits is truly unique. Can you tell us where this idea sparked from?

I was always interested in embroidery whilst I was painting, and then one day, I just thought it would be fun to embroider some flowers into one of my old paintings. From there, it just grew, and now it’s something that’s central to the way in which I make art.

Where/how can we keep up to date with your art and future exhibitions?

You can follow me on my Instagram @sidpattni or my website

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