Zookeeper Chad of Mogo Wildlife Park, who led his team to overcome the worst bushfire attack on the park in living memory, then has reopened the park twice this year (once following the bushfires, and once due to COVID19), has now inspired an entry to this year’s Archibald Prize – a captivating work titled ‘The Tiger of Mogo Chad Staples’. The work has been painted by the park’s Resident Artist, Lord DJ Stief. DJ's first portrait of Chad, which was entered in the Archibald Prize in 2017, continued the historic pairing of Art and Science in the form of a portrait painting, which in itself is an intimate procedure as the essence of the subject must be understood by the artist. Having since developed a working and personal relationship with Chad, the second portrait was of the man, a man who never rests. Using Pointillism, Dry Brushing and traditional oil techniques, the sleeping man is always a Tiger on guard and alert. Lord DJ Stief, recognising that the Holy Grail for artists was light, reversed the process from Black on White to White on Black, creating the genre in the 1980s. Drawing is his first love, he has explored the history of art and employs the techniques of the Great Masters in his paintings. 2 Covering all media, DJ's work can be found in 37 countries. DJ's solo exhibitions began in 1996, and in 1999 he became Artistic Director at Adelaide Festival, working with David Bowie, Marilyn Manson and Courtney Love. In 2005 he opened the first privately owned gallery in the Upper Hunter of NSW, moving to Sydney in 2014, he has been a yearly finalist in the Fisher's Ghost Art Prize, in the Open, Drawing and Sculpture categories. On being selected as the subject of the painting, Chad comments, ‘It’s humbling for the very human side of what I do to have inspired an artist in this way. This year has presented more trials than any of us could have ever imagined, and 2020 certainly hasn’t been a year that I could have ever let down my guard. From the horrific bushfires, to reopening to our community, then closing again due to COVID-19, it has been incredibly challenging. DJ is an amazing talent and I hope that this entry brings DJ all the recognition he deserves.’ Zookeeper Chad has seen his following grow from 23,000 to 150,000 followers on Instagram following the bushfires and has kept his focus on telling stories of hope, resilience, and positivity throughout 2020. Lord DJ Stief has been closely connected Mogo Wildlife Park, and its sister park, Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park, as its Resident Artist for a number of years - designing enclosures for the parks among other projects and Stief is now planning a highly anticipated Coffee Table book of the animal residents at both parks
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