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Why you should hit up Art Express this weekend

Why you should hit up Art Express this weekend

Aidan Hartshorn has been doodling pictures of the Titanic since kindergarten.

So comprehensive is his knowledge of the passenger liner that when he sat down to sketch it for his Higher School Certificate last year, he drew mostly from memory.

His piece is one of 42 works hanging at the Art Gallery of NSW as part of the ARTEXPRESS exhibition, which opened yesterday. 

The 18-year-old, from Tumut High School, cannot explain why, but he is so obsessed with the Titanic his schoolbooks are filled with sketches of it.
"There's no maths work in my maths book," he said.

"I've got books, posters, models, movies. I just know everything about it."

He can tell you the year the Titanic sank (1912), the day it sank (April 15), the time it sank (2.20am), the time it hit the iceberg (11.40pm) and the number of people on board ("just over 2,200").

He used the dramatic event in his artwork as a metaphor for his final year of school. His artist's statement says, "As the pressure of school rose up, friends quickly began to fall out, causing havoc, and when too much pressure builds, you break."

Unlike the Titanic, he says, he didn't break.

The curator of the Art Gallery of NSW exhibition, Leeanne Carr, said she was impressed by Hartshorn's use of pen and the thought put into layout.

"I was very drawn to the risk he took in terms of some of those compositions," she said. "I think it takes a lot of courage and confidence to be able to draw in that way."

ARTEXPRESS showcases the work of 246 of the state's most creative teenagers, selected from almost 10,000 visual arts students.

The range of expressive forms represented includes ceramics, collections of works, documented forms, drawing, graphic design, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, textiles and fibre and time-based forms.

There are 11 ARTEXPRESS exhibitions held across the state over an 11-month period.

The ARTEXPRESS co-ordinator, Susanne Jones, says common themes in this year's works include concerns about human impact on the environment and an exploration of personal identity and family.

The exhibition ends, Aidan Hartshorn points out, on the day the Titanic hit the iceberg, April 14.

The Sydney Morning Herald is a sponsor of ARTEXPRESS.

Metropolitan Exhibition Dates:

Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre: February 2 – March 17

Art Gallery of New South Wales: February 20 – April 14

Sydney Olympic Park Authority: March 5 – April 28

Regional Exhibition Dates:

Orange Regional Gallery: March 15 – April 14

Blue Mountains Cultural Centre: May 3 – June 23

Tamworth Regional Gallery: May 11 – June 8

Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery: May 18 – June 30

Maitland Regional Art Gallery: June 7 – July 28

Wagga Wagga Regional Art Gallery: July 13 – September 15

Shoalhaven City Art Centre: July 18 – August 15

Grafton Regional Gallery: August 28 – October 20

Images via SMH/ Art Gallery of NSW, credit to students named in captions. All 42 works of the gallery are not pictured above. More here

This article initially appeared on the Sydney Morning Herald.

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