"Hopefully they get a sense that they can show no fear and just go bananas," says Nigel Milsom of his goals as a mentor of emerging artists.
"I'm not really one to tell others what to do."
The Archibald prizewinner is one of 13 local artists who have signed up to provide one-on-one mentorship throughout 2020 to 13 Hunter artists in the early years of their careers. Newcastle ArtSpace is coordinating the program, and aims to build relationships between established and emerging artists for advice and support.
Milsom said it was precisely because artists need to take risks that outside encouragement is valuable.
"I think when you look back at other artists there's always a point in their lives where they do form a collective with other artists because they need that support, whether it's help with a technical issue or an idea," he said. "That's why I think the whole idea of teaming up with younger artists can only be a positive thing."
Another mentor in the program, internationally renowned abstract painter Virginia Cuppaidge, who returned to Australia two years ago after residing in New York for 45 years, said she was still discovering the impacts mentors have had on her practice. Recently, one of her works was exhibited alongside those of Bronwyn Yeates, a Brisbane artist who gave her painting lessons from age 13.
"I had never seen abstract painting before," Cuppaidge said. "She talked to me about just using colour and form to provoke an emotional response. It was a wonderful thing to have happened."
Expressions of interest in becoming a mentee must be submitted by November 11.
The mentors are:
Nigel Milsom, painting
Virginia Cuppaidge, painting
Lottie Consalvo, painting and installation
Dino Consalvo, painting
Ben Kenning, painting and mixed media
Tom Ireland, sculpture
Jane Lander, painting and drawing
Pablo Tapia, classical painting
Jen Denzin, sculpture and installation
Kara Wood, ceramics
Dan Nelson, painting
Annemarie Murland, painting
Gavin Vitullo, sculpture