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TOY PORN 2

To view artwork scroll right.

What Andy Warhol did for soup cans, Nick Stathopoulos does for toys in Toy Porn 2 - the sequel to his hugely popular 2009 exhibition - to be opened by Claudia Chan Shaw, Presenter of Collectors on ABC TV, on the 26th of July from 6-8pm at the NG Art Gallery, Chippendale. Despite the provocative title, there’s nothing pornographic here. Like the paintings in this exhibition, the title is the by-product of Nick’s quirky take on his obsession with collecting media-related toys of yesteryear, and a tribute to pop-cultural icons such as Astro Boy, Batman and TinTin.


‘I was always fascinated how Tintin had the ability to travel freely all over the world, not just in his comics, but also as a cultural phenomenon.’

The paintings may look airbrushed, but his hyper-realistic painting technique comes from laboriously grinding acrylic paint into the surface of the canvas with a conventional brush. Nick touts 18th Century painter Ingres as his technical inspiration. ‘I discovered him (Ingres) in my teens and was utterly mystified by his technique. The quality of the skin tone was unbelievably smooth and extraordinarily life-like to me. I’ve spent all my life trying to paint like him’.


Nick’s painting technique has the unnerving ability to depict the surface texture and three-dimensional quality of his toys with uncanny accuracy. Presented in classical still-life compositions, and rendered larger than their plastic life, they form a commentary on fantasy, escapism, and childlike joy, but infused with a deeper, psychological sub-text.

‘As a child I used to sit in front of the TV and draw vehicles and characters from my favourite shows. I realized in later life that when I draw or paint something, I make it my own, part of my collection.’


Drawn to the strong graphic quality of his toys and their packaging, painting them evokes not only a palpable nostalgia in Nick, but also an intense emotional connection with his toys. ‘My heart will go on’ references Nick’s heartbreak upon watching Astro Boy fly into the sun, sacrificing himself to save the world in a rare episode of the original Japanese cartoon, while his portrait of Batman, ‘He looks better in vinyl’, humorously alludes to rubber fetishism.


Nick is one of Australia’s most celebrated artist/illustrators. Born in 1959, he has painted some of the best cover art in Australian science fiction, produced extensive box art and graphics for computer games, and worked for Hanna Barbera and the Disney Corporation as a background artist. He has been a multiple finalist in the Archibald Prize and the Doug Moran Portrait Prize and his work is held in public and private collections across the world.


A Feast for the Senses dinner will be held on Wednesday the 3rd of August with Richard Morecroft in conversation with artist Nick Stathopoulos, film critic David Stratton and ‘That Movie Guy’ Marc Fennell on ‘Defined by our Obsessions.’

View previous work by Nick Stathopoulos


For further information, please email ng@ngart.com.au

 
NICK STATHOPOULOS
And become a real astro boy

 


 

NICK STATHOPOULOS
My heart will go on

 


 

NICK STATHOPOULOS
Robot Power

 


 
NICK STATHOPOULOS
He looks better in vinyl

 


 
NICK STATHOPOULOS
In the wake of adventure

 


 
NICK STATHOPOULOS
He always come between us

 


 
NICK STATHOPOULOS
We are the robots 1

 


 
NICK STATHOPOULOS
We are the robots 2
 


 
NICK STATHOPOULOS
We are the robots 3

 


NICK STATHOPOULOS
We are the robots 4


 
NICK STATHOPOULOS
Can I be of service

 


NICK STATHOPOULOS
Crowds will cheer you


NICK STATHOPOULOS
Adventure calling


NICK STATHOPOULOS
I want my SPV


NICK STATHOPOULOS
And our friends are all aboard


NICK STATHOPOULOS
When did I become the past


NICK STATHOPOULOS
Three's a crowd


NICK STATHOPOULOS
When Tintin met Warhol


NICK STATHOPOULOS
Thunderbirds are GO!