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FOOTY MEETS ARTS: A colourful, creative approach to State of Origin rivalry

Announcement posted by Torn & Drawn 05 Jun 2019

Two colours – a vibrant maroon and a delicate blue – feature in the latest sport-inspired works on paper by Queensland-born artist Susan Hando.

On the eve of this year's State or Origin clash, local artist Susan Hando has featured two colours – a vibrant maroon and a delicate blue – in her latest sport-inspired works on paper.

While 2019 marks the 39th year that State of Origin battles have been played in modern jerseys, State based teams, dating back to 1908, played in a more refined style.

Susan displays and sells her distinctive Torn & Drawn original artworks at VEND Marketplace, an eclectic small business collective on Brisbane's Northside offering everything from organic dog wash and bespoke jewellery through to antique furniture and house plants.

Alongside her hand-drawn images and hand-torn gift cards are her new Origin artworks – reflecting the jerseys, boots and balls of rugby league in the 1920s.

Her Origin series captures the simplicity of the single colour jerseys. In the 1920s, the maroon jerseys were laced while the blue jerseys were buttoned, so linen thread and real buttons feature on some works for added texture.

“As a proud Queenslander, I’ve had this idea to capture and transfer the colours and the history of State of Origin into works on paper”, said Susan, who’s heavy graphite/pastel style captures the simple yet distinctive “kangaroo” design that was embroidered on the vintage jerseys of the 1920s - a design that continued into the 70s.

 “I was inspired by stories of my great uncle, W. R. (Billar) Smith,’ said Susan.

 “Billar represented Toowoomba, Queensland and Australia, and the Toowoomba Rugby League awarded him a life membership.  It is likely he wore a similar styled maroon jersey.”  

Susan has always drawn – starting with landscapes as a small child as she accompanied her stock and station agent father on trips into the bush. When she moved to Sydney, she developed a passion for drawing botanical subjects.  Yet it was creating a special drawing for her father that led to her new small business venture.

“I was not sure what I could give my father for his 80th birthday. He taught me how to fish and has always encouraged me to draw.  So, I drew his very first Alvey fishing reel in graphite on watercolour paper. Capturing this battered, Bakelite reel - with a missing handle – was the perfect gift.” 

That was ten months ago – since then Susan has been drawing a diverse mix of subjects that capture everyday objects to appeal to a range of interests – random pieces of Lego, garden gnomes, choirboys, cats, dogs, flowers and, of course, Alvey reels.

“Many of my works on paper, especially those with a fishing theme, are bought as gifts for dads and grandfathers. I rather like the idea of my artworks being hung in man caves!”

So, which of the new Origin artworks are her favourite?

“The maroon jersey with the linen laces of course”, said Susan, who noted that she probably chose the 1924 jersey as her “model”, as from 1922 to 1925 Queensland defeated New South Wales 11 times in 12 matches.


Susan currently lives in Sydney with her Victorian-born husband and Sydney-born son and travels to Brisbane frequently to see family, friends and of course, to draw!

Torn & Drawn artworks, each a signed original by Susan Hando, can be discovered at:

“Practical Tactical” Shop 96

VEND Marketplace and Greenhouse

1768 Sandgate Road, Virginia

Shop Open 7 days: 8am – 4pm

Free parking on site plus licenced café (café open 8am-3pm)

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tornanddrawn/

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