Cherry Hood

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Cherry Hood
Born (1959-09-11) September 11, 1959 (age 57)
Nationality Australian
Alma mater Sydney College of the Arts
Awards Archibald Prize

Cherry Hood is an Australian artist, and sometimes a portraitist. She won the 2002 Archibald Prize for her portrait Simon Tedeschi Unplugged.


Cherry Alexandra Hood was born in Sydney, Australia and is the eldest daughter of Max and Helen Hood. She attained a Master of Visual Art at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney in 2000.[1] Her thesis investigated gender politics in art and culture, cultural mores and taboos surrounding the representation of the male body. Hood had countless solo and group shows while at university in artist-run spaces and is now represented and shows regularly At Tim Olsen Gallery in Sydney, Heiser Gallery in Brisbane, Arc One Gallery in Melbourne. Her works have been collected by most major institutions in Australia and many corporate and private collections. Hood has had solo shows in New York, Zurich, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver where she is represented by Diane Farris Gallery. Hood works in the unlikely medium of Watercolor to produce her oversized portraits, which are most frequently anonymous composite and not any actual person. She was an Archibald Prize finalist in 2001 with her water colour of art lecturer Matthÿs Gerber and in 2010 with her portrait of Michael Zavros.

2002 Archibald Prize win[edit]

It was a photograph picture of Australian pianist Simon Tedeschi that first caught Cherry Hood's eye. She went to one of his concerts, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and then asked him to sit for her. "Although I don't normally do portrait/likenesses of people, I usually paint boys or adolescent males," she says. "Simon is only 20 and he has large pale blue eyes which you can almost see through, his look suits the way I make images. The eyes are always the focus of my paintings. I want them to reflect the gaze of the viewer and I am interested in the way his pale eyes both reflect light and have a differentiation between the pupil and iris. I met him and found he is particularly empathetic, easy going and very sensitive artistically. He saw my work and he understood what I was doing."

Hood decided to paint him topless because, she says, "he is always portrayed in formal clothes and often with a piano as well. Images of him are usually more about his playing than about him as a person let alone him as a sensual body. Also, at that time I was finishing a series of huge portraits of boys for my next exhibition. Simon saw these works and agreed to pose for me in the same way.

It was quite easy to portray him because he has strong characteristics. I think it does look like him, if not at his most rested. He keeps up a rigorous international performance schedule and lives between Sydney and London. He was suffering jet lag or in 'post concert letdown' when he sat for this painting. When he last saw the work he said, 'love the whiskers, remind me to stop over in Bangkok next time.'

She received a prize of $35,000 Australian dollars.

Illustration for JT LeRoy[edit]

Cherry Hood illustrated JT LeRoy's 2005 novel Harold's End with a series of her distinctive portraits as well as a series of pictures of Harold, who gives the book its title - a snail. In the acknowledgements, LeRoy says "This is the first of what I hope will be a very long collaboration between us. Our next book is titled Labor."


  1. ^ Hood, Cherry. "Cherry Hood". National Portrait Gallery. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Nicholas Harding
Archibald Prize
for Simon Tedeschi Unplugged
Succeeded by
Geoffrey Dyer