About the Artist

Based in Perth, Western Australia, Tessa paints contemporary realism, large-scale hyperrealism and photorealism portraiture. Reluctant to be boxed in by an overt singular concept or style, Tessa paints diverse subjects ranging from entertainment icons, to the indigenous ‘Montagnard’ people of Vietnam and Aboriginal Australians. In every instance, she strives to meaningfully engage with her subjects and their story as a means to inform her thematic, stylistic and compositional approach. Above all else, through her own interpretive prism, Tessa seeks to create honest works that capture a subject’s essence, drawing the viewer’s empathy, curiosity, fascination and ultimately, shared humanity.

Download CV

 

Foxtel Arts ‘The Archibald’

In 2017, Tessa was included in the Foxtel Arts documentary ‘The Archibald’. The four-part series tracked the journey of eight artists, from blank canvas to finished work as they vied for the Nation’s most coveted portraiture prize, and lifted the veil on the judging process for the first time ever.

Twenty-five at the time, Tessa was the youngest artist on the show, among high profile artists Nicholas Harding, Yvette Coppersmith, Nick Stathopoulos, George Gittoes, Tim Storrier, Jason Phu and Wendy Sharpe. For her 2017 Archibald submission, Tessa painted iconic theatre and screen actor, Trevor Jamieson.

Ethical Framework: Painting Indigenous Subjects

A Statement by Tessa McOnie

I wish to acknowledge the custodians of this land upon which I live and primarily paint, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation and their Elders past and present. I acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this region.

As a non-indigenous artist, I seek to collaborate with indigenous subjects under an Ethical Framework whereby meaningfulness and mutual benefit is paramount. It’s a profound privilege to paint Aboriginal People; one that can only be built upon deep reverence and trust.

In sync with this, every time a Tessa McOnie print of an Aboriginal subject is sold, the subject depicted (or their estate/legal guardian) receives a 10% of profit royalty.