Stuart will be at the Fairhurst Gallery in Norwich, UK on Thursday 24 January, 2019 at 6.30pm to talk about his exhibition, (Elvis x 20) + (Tom x 1). Taking place within the exhibition, the discussion will seek to uncover the motivation behind Stuart's recent series of portraits, his astonishingly detailed tecniques and his fascination with 'persona'.
He will be joined by one of the subjects of his drawings, Colbert George Black Elvis Hamilton, who will give an insight into sitting for a portrait and his personal experience of transforming into an Elvis tribute artist. Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Will Fergusson, celebrated pianist and composer.
Stuart has drawn inspiration for this exhibition from an eager interest in the idea of people taking on different characters in their lives. In 2006 he exhibited a body of work detailing the portraits of more than 30 actors including Alan Rickman, Ben Wishaw, Keeley Hawkes and Sir Ian McKellen.
“For many years I’ve been interested in the idea of people who become someone else and are, in a sense, a character when you meet them. I did an exhibition of portraits of actors particularly because I was interested in the process of people transforming from one identity to another and the moment at which a person’s own identity dissolves and they become the character they are playing. I’m intrigued by that strange middle ground between the two identities. On a very obvious level an Elvis tribute act is a person pretending to be someone else and pretending to be another person. There’s this one specific identity that’s shared by a vast number of people, all of whom become that one person and that’s a very specific situation. I think what particularly interests me about it is the sense there’s almost a democracy – this process where almost anyone can become Elvis. We have people of very broad ethnic differences, even gender differences, we have people from all walks of life, ages, people of all shapes, sizes, colours - all becoming the same person. When they become Elvis they are able to leave their own lives and their own anxieties behind and for that moment they can feel the adulation of the crowd and that’s an exciting thing in itself.”
Stuart will be signing exhibition catalogues on the night.