Thom Roberts

A Portriff of Adam (Shane Simpson AM)

Shane Simpson AM is special counsel at Simpsons Solicitors, a law practice specialising in arts and entertainment cultural property and copyright, which he established in 1986. Among his other roles, he is chair of Studio A, a social enterprise in Sydney that supports professional artists with intellectual disability.

Thom Roberts is one of Studio A’s artists, working across painting, drawing, installation, animation and performance. He has forged a warm relationship with Simpson, developed during gradual interactions on Simpson’s studio visits. Roberts calls Simpson ‘Adam’ rather than Shane and considers him ‘the boss of this place’.

‘I wanted to do a portriff of Adam on a great big canvas. He’s like my big brother,’ says Roberts, who loves painting on a large scale. Asked why he has called the portrait ‘a portriff’, he says: ‘I do it Thom’s way’.

At the first of two sittings for this painting, Roberts took photographs and did a series of sketches, all with his recognisable style of depicting people with four eyes – another example of ‘Thom’s way’.

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