Outside In artists selected for Ruth Borchard Prize exhibition

Interview with Graham Rees and John Joseph Sheehy

Graham Rees’ portrait
Two Faced – John Sheehy’s portrait

Portraits by Outside In artists Graham Rees [GR] and John Joseph Sheehy [JS] have been selected for the exhibition for the Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize 2019. Here they talk to Laura Miles about their work and hopes for the competition. 

Why and when did you begin making artwork?

[GR] As a child, I seem to have always made ‘marks’. It’s something I feel I need to do.

[JS] I started making art about 20 years ago with the Big Issue, they were running art and creative writing groups. I went along to the groups and I really enjoyed them. This motivated me to start painting and writing.

What inspires your work?

[GR] In my portraits, I am inspired by the anguish, emotions and sensitivity I observe in a face. If I capture a person’s vulnerability, I feel I have succeeded. But the same goes for my landscapes.

[JS] I think the paints and colours I am using really inspire me as I work. The sound of the rain and wind, nature is a big influence for me in all its forms. Also the songs and music that I write, the music I play with my flute, banjo and harmonica.

How would you describe your portrait?

[GR] Again, I hope my self-portrait shows my vulnerabilities.

[JS] All my work comes from my experiences, solid in thought and deed. 

Why did you decide to enter the prize?

[GR] I have always followed the Ruth Borchard Prize. As an identical twin, I thought it would be good if my brother (a full time artist) and I both entered, interesting to see the juxtaposition of the two works. We agreed not to see each others portraits until we had submitted them.

[JS] I received an email from Outside In informing me of Ruth Borchard prize and competition. I like what I saw of the collection. This encouraged me to enter the competition

How did it feel when you found out you’d been selected?

[GR] I felt very surprised, amazed and pleased to have been selected.

[JS] I was over the moon thrilled, a wonderful feeling. I was chuffed.

Finally, what are your hopes for the exhibition?

[GR] To have been selected has been an achievement for me – to win… anything could be possible!

[JS] Just to be part of the exhibition is an honour 

The Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize exhibition opens on 23 May at Piano Noble, Kings Place, London and runs until 23 September. 

Outside In would also like to celebrate the work created by other entrants, if you would like to be involved please email an image of your portrait, your online gallery link and a brief description via email to Laura.Miles@outsidein.org.uk

Click here to see more work by Graham Rees

Click here to see more work by John Joesph Sheehy

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