Solomon Grainger has been drawing as long as he can remember. A recipient of the National Gallery Summer Scholarship in 2016, Solomon rediscovered his early childhood drawings in a box half way through year 12. The discovery inspired a completely new direction for him, moving away from realism and into the abstract and figurative. The work resulted in a stunning solo exhibition called DRAGON and BOY.
Grainger sees these works as very true to himself.
“The drawings revealed what I always knew, that I have been drawing as far back as I can remember. They were also eye opening because they showed my style completely untouched by any external influence.”
Those drawings had a very consistent theme – dragons. The dragons always had the same style to them, large heads with an eye with a cross in the middle, and jagged rows of diamond shaped teeth with smaller bodies. “This was me in my purest form of artistry.”
“Looking at those early representations, it doesn’t seem as though I drew them as something to fear, but as a creature of wonder. There is a calmness to those dragons.”
Grainger says there seemed to be four main archetypes he focused on, the most prolific being dragons, followed by mummy, flowers and daddy. His early experiments led to much more abstract decisions when applying paint to the canvas.
“Having spent my whole life trying to improve my skills in realist representations, freeing myself of that seemed to reconnect me with the fun of drawing as a child. I know I’m not the first to have reconnected with art from early childhood, but making strange random lines and markings on the canvas that had no specific aesthetic purpose or meaning other than a sub-conscious emotion being expressed becomes an intuitive process.”
At 18, Grainger has already achieved a lot, winning the People’s Choice Award at Belconnen Arts Centre’s College Express 8, NGA Summer Scholarshipin 2016, and some of his works can be seen on the walls of various pubs and cafes around Canberra, including the large mural at Hopscotch in Braddon.
“This body of works has been an evolutionary process in itself, like the child learning to draw and eventually pulling in external influences and symbols as he or she grows and matures as a person and an artist."