Vulnerability of the human situation

'This year, I have created works of semi-realist distorted portraiture using the medium of oil paint on board, depicting my contemporaries, exploring the fear of growing up,' Max said.

'My artwork explores the fear of growing up and of losing bits of ourselves as we age. How can we escape the mundaneness of life?

'I have worked in semi-realist distorted portraiture this year, with a conscious influence of the great Cubist and Surrealist traditions in distorting reality.

'My portraits have pieces missing from the face and the head, they have additions or split perspectives. This expresses how, as we age, we lose bits of our self and our fundamental identity is challenged.

'These stylistic choices were based on personal observations over the year, as I came to the sudden realisation that soon I would be an adult. 

'I hope that people will see how rich the possibilities of distorted portraiture are.'

Inspiration from the masters of distortion

'I drew inspiration from masters of distortion – Cubists, Surrealists, Expressionists, and their descendants. Painters such as Picasso, Braque, Munch, Magritte and Michael Borremans, to name but a few,' Max said.

'I used bleeding colours which can be seen in these studies (in shades of blue, green or purple), fading from the face. This is to represent how as we grow up the colour can appear to fade from our lives.

'Like a mosquito, I fed off my subjects' insecurities to inform my portrayal of them. This then drove how they were depicted and the form of distortion present, so as to make the portrait as true to the subject’s story as possible. 

'I remember going to the 2021 ArtRage exhibition at the Bett Gallery at the beginning of this year. I was blown away and in the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to try and get one of my works chosen for ArtRage 2021. Now it is.

'It is truly an honour to be featured in ArtRage and I am ecstatic! I plan to take a gap year in 2022 to improve my art and get a job. Following that, in 2023 I plan to go art school. I want to be a painter.'

My advice to student artists

'Whichever course you choose, whether it be Art Production or Art Studio Practice, you will have a great time. They are both fantastic choices and courses. Something I learnt the hard way last year was to complete your journal as it means more than one would initially think!'