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Elliot Schultz


Elliot Schultz

Artist biography

Elliot Schultz is a 20-year-old digital artist studying at the Australian National University School of Art. He is interested in all forms of digital media, though his passion lies with code art and animation.

When off campus, Elliot works as a front-end web developer for a local digital agency. He is always striving to unite creativity with communication, a challenge inherent in web design.

Elliot is constantly experimenting with a wide range of media, from audio to embroidery, and loves inventing new ways to include them in his digital practice.

Artist work: A Convict's Lament

Medium: Hybrid - programming, drawing, embroidery, animation, video, web
Date: November 2012



Artist statement

Prison is designed to revoke one’s liberties as both a punishment and a deterrent. Prisoner uniforms symbolise a loss of freedom and individuality. In a country such as Australia where nearly 20 per cent of the population is descended from convicts, it is therefore important to try and unmask these men and women to better understand their lives.

My work aims to let the convict uniform tell the story of its wearer. I was able to bring a sense of authenticity to the piece by using the medium of embroidery and letting the needle and thread illustrate the narrative. I chose to work with the events described in the Australian folk song Moreton Bay by Francis MacNamara (Frank the Poet) in order to broaden my message and help people empathise with stories of their own ancestors. 

Artist inspiration

During renovations to the Commandant's Cottage in Granton, Tasmania, a number of artefacts were uncovered. Among them was a handmade convict shirt, worn by one of the 200 convicts tasked with building the Commandant’s Cottage in the 1830s.

The reasons I was drawn to this object and its story was because of the mysteries surrounding its origin. The identity of the wearer is unknown and there is even uncertainty over the exact meaning of the acronym ‘BPC.’ printed on the front.

These missing details made me both curious about the life of the original wearer, and frustrated that his story will perhaps forever go untold. There is also an irony in realising that the only reason we are interested in the identity of this unknown character is thanks to the convict garb, which was designed to make him anonymous and lessen his individuality.

Artist work: Everyday Faces

Medium: Web application (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, images, audio)
Date: November 2012

Bank note

View Elliot Schultz's Everyday Faces (Webpage using HTML5, opens in a new window)
(Optimised for Firefox and Chrome)

Artist statement

One would assume that if you saw the same person nearly every day for 20 years, you would know them in intimate detail. However, recent surveys reveal the contrary: most Australians simply do not know who is on their currency.

Everyday Faces is a touch-friendly web application that aims to educate the public about Dame Mary Gilmore, who has been the face of the Australian ten dollar bank note since 1993. Gilmore is one of Australia’s most treasured writers and poets, yet many Australians remain ignorant of her contributions.

Everyday Faces embraces the tradition of imagery found on our present bank notes and adapts it to a storytelling framework. When combined with the life-like scale and the natural intuitiveness of a mobile tablet, Everyday Faces lets the bank notes tell their own story.

Artist inspiration

Initially I didn’t take much notice of Dame Mary Gilmore’s rather modest typewriter in the Landmarks gallery, but then again, that is exactly why I chose it.

Dame Mary Gilmore contributed so much in her lifetime through teaching, writing, poetry and activism, and it struck me as quite fitting that all of these noble pursuits could actually be summed up by her typewriter, as it was through the simple act of writing that she made the most impact on society.

This ties in with my work because it echoes the notion of seemingly insignificant objects having such great stories to tell, and I think that the ten dollar bank note has more to tell us than we think.