Archibald winner addresses students at Alma Mater

Students at De La Salle College Ashfield and Bethlehem College Ashfield have been given a unique insight into the life of an artist by 2019 Archibald Prize Winner and former De La Salle student Tony Costa.

Mr Costa attended the school on 3 July 2019 to speak to students about the decades of hard work behind his win and the resilience it takes to find success in his field.

“Today’s about de-mystifying the art world,” he said of his presentation.

“Art’s important – just as important as any other discipline. If I inject a little bit of insight into how the art world works and what lies ahead, I think that might give people the courage to pursue it.”

Years 9-12 art students were given the opportunity to ask questions following Mr Costa’s talk, and several said they were interested in following in his footsteps and pursuing art as a career.

Many were particularly fascinated by his discussion of his unique painting style – wearing surgical gloves and using his hands to create bold lines and thick layers of colour.

What a great head start for someone if those values are being espoused

– Tony Costa

“It was really inspiring,” said Yuuki Mae Casuncad, a Year 10 Bethlehem student. “Because he talked about creating artworks that mean something to you, and finding your own identity and expressing it through painting.”

“It’s great to see you can come from being just a normal school student and change an industry that you’re passionate about,” said Marcello Aliberto, a Year 9 De La Salle student. “To see that you can make it out there.”

Mr Costa also discussed receiving his first ever art prize at Ashfield Town Hall, the process behind the creation of some of his most famous paintings, and the school teacher who encouraged him to paint his first landscape.

Asked how De La Salle had changed since his time as a student in the 1970s, Mr Costa said the buildings had been modernised, but the school’s mission and values felt very familiar.

“The attitude is still so beautiful, that’s the constant,” he said. “Looking after one another and sharing that kindness, that sense of helping one another. It’s there today and it was there back then. And what a great head start for someone if those values are being espoused.”

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