This year’s Borrowed Wall Art Prize goes to Emerging Western Sydney artist Michael Black

Michael Black – Fish

This year the Borrowed Wall Art Prize has gone to emerging artist Michael Black. Artists aged 18 – 30 are invited to submit a design proposal to the Borrowed Wall Art Prize and the winner takes $10,000 and a giant space to fill with their work. The design should reflect young people living in the Liverpool LGA and relate to the contemporary library experience.

We spoke to Michael about the work he submitted for the prize and about what influences him as an artist.


We love the creativity shown by all the young artists who entered and especially the finalists of the Borrowed Wall Art Prize. How does it feel to win? 

It feels quite amazing and when I found out I was over the moon. I feel very honoured to receive the award.

Can you tell us a bit about your practice?

I’m a Sydney based illustrator, although my work ranges from public mural work, painting and digital illustration that is intertwined with my design practice in branding, logo, typography and visual design. I like to think they go hand in hand and feed into each other creatively.

A lot of my work explores how visual images can communicate past cultures and worldviews and in so connect humanity. I really aim to have a strong emphasis on the viewer and put myself in their shoes to communicate most effectively. A lot of my stuff experiments with everyday objects, spaces, people and places and often alters their meaning and aesthetics of these forms.

The remit for the second Borrowed Wall Art Prize was to reinvigorate the Library Youth Space. Can you tell us a bit about the design you submitted and how you met the Council’s vision for the future, which is for Liverpool to be a vibrant city of opportunity, prosperity and diversity?

The design is a digital illustration that contains an amalgamation of people, places and imitative elements, which all work together to comment on our society today. The illustration has a lively colourful characteristic that aims to capture the diversity of people, places and things in Liverpool. There is so much happening in the design from aliens attacking the city to pedestrians in the street, which in a lot of ways reflects the vibrancy and life in a developing city.

What are you most excited about by Western Sydney arts practices? 

Having been born and raised in Western Sydney it’s really exciting to see more and more projects and support surrounding the creative arts. I’m excited to see young people engage with creative spaces and discover their creative avenue of expression in that and their potential.

What influences you in your work?

I can remember as I kid drawing cartoons I would see on TV and from comics. I was always amazed visually by the story and how it was expressed through creative mediums. A big influence from there for me was my Year 12 art teacher who encouraged me to pursue a creative path. Today a lot of my influences come from graffiti, skate culture and having an imaginative, playful approach in the outworking of my practice.  I’m really inspired by a lot of current working illustrators on new ways to do things technically but most of my influence originates from the culture and world around me and how we interact with others in that environment.


Learn more about the Borrowed Wall Art Prize here:

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