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Meet Matthew – Adelaide Fringe 2019 Poster Artist

Every year, our beloved Adelaide Fringe holds a competition for their iconic poster design. Entries are accepted from all over the world, and this year a whopping 357 people submitted designs.

This year’s winner, announced last month, is Warrnambool painter Matthew Clarke (Congratulations, Matthew!). His vibrant painting is a self-portrait which he says depicts him as a Fringe performer and is a significant change from the more simple, graphic designs of recent years with a colourful array of strokes and details.

Matthew identifies as having an intellectual disability and Fringe organisers are thrilled to be showcasing his work. The poster is a symbol of the festival’s passion and drive to continue to be open access. This year, they’re hoping to implement even more new measures so it’s as inclusive as ever.

Last year, Matthew’s work was featured on Melbourne trams, and this year it will be splashed all over the city on posters, trams, buses and walls. A reproduction of the poster art has already been painted on Union Street for all to see – a splash of colour to come in the lead up to the festive season.

A month after the announcement, we spoke to Matthew about his incredible achievement and his work as an artist.

Matthew Clarke

Photo: Trentino Priori

How long have you been painting?

I have been painting since 2005.

What made you start?

I was doing year 12 and not succeeding at the academic side in any way and my dad suggested that I go to South West TAFE Victoria to study art. This is when I began to paint.

What do you love about it?

I love the freedom of being able to make my own choices about colour, shape and proportion.

How would you describe your work?

Naïve abstract action style.

What led you to enter for the Fringe poster competition?

There is lots of calls on artist’s money, it was free to enter and offered so much for entering. It was even more than I expected when it led to me painting the street mural in Union street.

How did you feel when you won? What does this mean to you?

It’s a big thrill to have my work reproduced in so many formats.

Matthew Clarkean you describe your work that won the poster comp?

It’s an abstract piece featuring me holding a microphone imagining how a live performer feels.

What lies in the future for you and your career in the arts?

I am hoping the future leads to me having more paint to work with to produce more pieces of art.

Do you have any other dream competition or gallery entries you’d love to make?

My ultimate goal is to do a solo in a museum in New York.

What do you love about the Adelaide Fringe? What are some of your favourite things to do?

I love the street art and the people.

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