Jumbo task as Ross Potter draws life-size Tricia at Animaze

Ross Potter. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d488750
Ross Potter. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d488750

MANY people in Perth have an emotional connection with Perth Zoo’s Asian elephant Tricia, which made her the natural subject for Willagee self-taught artist Ross Potter when deciding on an animal for his life-size artwork.

Tricia is a highlight in Fremantle Arts Centre exhibition Animaze – Amazing Animals for Kids.

Potter, who has worked in graphite and paper for seven years, said his first life-size drawing was a horse, followed by a humpback whale for WA Maritime Museum’s High Tide in 2017.

When Fremantle Arts Centre curator Ric Spencer approached him to contribute to Animaze, a free exhibition to immerse five to 12 year olds in a world of art and animals, Potter immediately thought of Perth pachyderm favourite Tricia.

“It’s a big children’s exhibition and kids know who she is,” he said.

“I thought it was nice to stick with animals around Perth and she stood out.

“I like working with a very large scale and with animals, I find it’s the one way to really capture them.

“The sheer size of them makes you have a direct relationship to it in the gallery.”

Animaze opened on November 17 with Potter beginning the life-size sketch, in FAC’s main gallery, which he plans to work on daily and finish by Christmas.

Ross Potter. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d488750

However, the father of one’s preparation began long before then.

“Perth Zoo was really great and onboard to let us in to meet Trisha and have a photo shoot,” Potter said.

“It all starts with photography and a bit of research to learn more about the animal itself.

“I went to Perth Zoo a couple of times, did some studies and really learnt more about her by talking to the zoo keepers to find out about her personality.

“It really helps to put more of her characteristics in to the sketch.

“Then it’s a matter of looking at the mathematical side of things and plotting it all down with the logistics.”

Potter said he had only sketched part of Tricia’s head and eye when exhibition goers realised who he was drawing.

Animaze – Amazing Animals for Kids is on until January 23.