Following in the footsteps of his older sisters, Jesse Sutton is an emerging Aboriginal artist bringing his own touch and talent to the Sutton name.
At just 14-years-old, Sutton has already established his business creating and selling his original artworks.
A young Kalkadoon man, Sutton’s mob hails from Mount Isa in the Gulf Country region of Queensland. He is the younger brother of Sutton sisters, 16-year-old Brooke Sutton and 24-year-old Chern’ee Sutton. Both are established contemporary Aboriginal artists, something Sutton himself is becoming.
Sutton said a lot of his inspiration came from his sisters. With both Brooke and Chern’ee painting when he was young, Sutton was surrounded by creativity and colour from day dot.
“I picked it up from my sisters,” he said.
“I started painting when I was about four-years-old. I always used to bring my little green painting table over next to Chern’ee when she was painting.
“I used to pretend I was painting masterpieces just like her.”
A decade on from his first painting, Sutton has since created a wealth of art, but he vividly remembers his very first creation.
“The first piece I did, that I can remember, it was called Kalkadoon Country,” he said.
“It had four little handprints which represented my connection to my home.”
Sutton draws much inspiration from his sister Chern’ee, who recently designed the jersey for the NRL Indigenous All Stars team. He also noted the role of his mother and father.
“I mainly get my inspiration from Chern’ee but I do get a lot of my creativity from Dad,” he said.
“He would always show me how to cook, and how to make things look better than they should be. Mum has always been crafty too.”
Art provides Sutton with a way to express his culture and his identity as a young Aboriginal man in a contemporary world.
“It is so special to me. I love knowing that I can share my culture with everyone through art.”
“It does make me sad sometimes, after I spend weeks on a particular painting. When I sell it, I have to realise I’ll never see that painting again,” he said.
Both Chern’ee and Brooke use bold and bright colours in their art, melding both contemporary and traditional styles. Sutton, who is still finding his own unique style, creates pieces that oppose his sisters’.
“My style is very contemporary, I’ve been experimenting lately with bright, pastel colours. I like using ochres and browns more so than the bright blues or purples,” he said.
“I definitely found my style because … I used to think about Brooke and Chern’ee’s painting as I’d go to sleep.
“I imagined the style that I wanted to make compared to theirs.”
With talent and ambition backing him, Sutton is already considering distributing his designs through other mediums.
“I’m just about to get my prints made from some of my more popular artworks,” he said.
“I’d love to see some of my original designs on clothing and furniture.”
By Rachael Knowles