Rachel Rovay's TO THE MAXX by John Hipwell

Rachel Rovay's TO THE MAXX  2016

John Hipwell


4 Mins 35 Secs

Max Walker AM is one of a unique group of sportsmen who has played both Test Cricket for Australia and AFL football for Melbourne Football Club at the MCG. Beyond sport, Mr. Walker has re-invented himself many times over. He practiced Architecture (an RMIT Graduate), worked for Nine Network's Wide World of Sports as a commentator, he is an author/writer of 14 books with total sales beyond one million copies. He currently works as a media commentator and motivational speaker.

John Hipwell and Rachel Rovay Artist first met Max Walker a few years ago at the filming of John's TV series Passion to Profession. Since then Rachel & John have maintained our relationship with Max through other projects. One project involved creating an app for mobile phones incorporating fun art projects for children and frazzled parents. At the time, Max was the founding director of a digital engagement and communications firm which was at the cutting edge of the mobile phone App space. For this digital project, our development meeting 'office' was at a cafe 'Yellow Bird' in Chapel St Windsor. After Breakfast and coffee, Max would bring out his mind mapping skills, a graphic way to represent ideas and concepts. A visual thinking and analytical tool generating new ideas as we progressed. Rachel Rovay loved his colourful drawings and saw them as artistic expressions. As we were sitting at the outdoor cafe table, near a tram stop, the people getting off the tram, strangers, would call out to Max for attention. He of course responded with his usual huge welcoming smile and a wave.

With this experience in mind, Rachel Rovay asked Max if he could sit for Her to paint his portrait at the same cafe. John Hipwell, joined Rachel to record and film the process of creating what was to be a shaped cut-out portrait. Once again the long black and short black coffee cups were ordered as Rachel began to draw Max within this familiar urban environment. The trams kept passing by and strangers were still coming up to Max to say hello. Rachel & John had two sittings at the cafe and a third final one in Rovay's studio.

Rovay was striving to meld the physical characteristics with the essence of her sitter. Rovay's challenge was to adhere to an abstracted sensibility with the portrait but still maintain a recognisable likeness. Rovay wanted the portrait to go further than just capturing a faithful likeness. It was not until I extricated the painted figure from its rectangular edges with an electric router that the portrait came to life and took on a life of its own. To my surprise Max's hands became a focal point expressing the man who is a master communicator and an inspiring, motivational, speaking professional.

Rachel Rovay, Artist
John Hipwell, Producer

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