Esmé O’Sullivan


Artist Statement

In Chinese culture, the value of imagination has an expiration date. I’ve witnessed the intentional neglect of creativity and the fanatical pursuit of educational achievement. This attitude is permeating Australian education. My work, featuring my half-Chinese, half-Australian brother, speaks to the cross-cultural impact of an increasingly competitive society. I found myself weighted by an unremitting awareness of my future. When I saw my younger brother engrossed in his stories, utterly naive to his inevitable obligation-filled future, it prompted me create a work that preserved and treasured his creativity, where I felt I could not.

Artwork Process

I photographed my younger brother, directing him in different ways, until I had the desired composition. I then worked from this photo to create the painting, my main focus being the contrast. The work went through several transitions, trying to balance the dark and light.

About the Artist

  • Name: Esmé O’Sullivan
  • School: Citipointe Christian College
  • Artwork: Grasp
  • Media: Oil on canvas

My art is a personal reaction to the turmoil around me. I am a perfectionist. While I am grateful for the drive it gives me, it is incredibly exhausting. Art forces me to take on the role of observer and it is a welcome distraction that helps disrupt those tendencies. I believe art allows us to not only see different perspectives but also to feel and understand them. I love going to galleries and seeing new ways of doing art, so it’s an unbelievable honour that I get to be a part of someone else’s experience.