Pilbara tradie “stoked” with art accolade

Danielle RaffaeleNorth West Telegraph
Travis Lilley with his portrait "Pikey" winner of the 2021 Jury Art Prize
Camera IconTravis Lilley with his portrait "Pikey" winner of the 2021 Jury Art Prize

Prominent local artist and tradie Travis Lilley was “absolutely stoked” to receive the prestigious 2021 Jury Art Prize for regional creatives last week for his sentimental tribute to life mentor and Pilbara legend Thomas “Pikey” Pike.

The full-time plumber took the coveted award and a $10,000 cash prize for his portrait, canvassed on a rusted copper car door, which depicted his friend and colleague “Pikey” relaxing with an afternoon beer.

The Jury Art Prize is the people’s choice award bestowed on a creative with the most local votes from the regional exhibition located at the Courthouse Gallery+Studio.

Mr Lilley said Thomas Pike was the first person he met in the Pilbara and hoped to pay tribute to him.

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“Pikey was the first guy I met up here and he is also a plumber like me, he has been up here for a very long time plumbing down in the Aboriginal communities and all over the Pilbara. He’s got a lot of knowledge,” he said.

“When I met him, he’s like an onion skin. He looks rough but I wanted to show his heart through his eyes because he has just got this soul.”

“Every night when we finished up (work) we would sit around the table and he would have his beer and tell stories.

In 2019 Mr Lilley was awarded the people’s choice award for his dragonfly sculpture New Beginning.

He said though he didn't think he deserved the accolade he was proud of his first efforts working with the medium of portraiture.

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