Artist Damian Moss remembers arriving as a student at UNSW College of Fine Arts (COFA), now Art & Design, feeling high on enthusiasm and ready to give anything a go.

“I eventually settled on painting; as a medium I found it very seductive and felt the possibilities the medium presented were endless,” he says.

He completed his Bachelor of Visuals Arts in 1988, and then Master of Fine Arts (Research) in 2010 titled Subjectivity and Authorship: Surface and Materiality in Painting and Drawing.

“In the past I have made drawings, paintings, sculpture and prints, although now I’m focused on works on paper.”

Moss has been selected as a finalist in the 2019 Dobell Drawing Prize. 

Damian Moss Celestial Cartography No 12 Ink On Torn Hahnemuhle Paper 110cm x 94cm 2019


His entry is part of a series called Celestial Cartography. The composition for Celestial Cartography No 12 begins with a grid, which provides pictorial structure while allowing for endless variation. The process of making each work is slow and instinctual, revealing its unique cartography through a series of juxtapositions; the mechanical and the hand-made, the digital and analogue, the macro and micro, the random and precise.

Damian Moss Celestial Cartography No 12 Detail Ink On Torn Hahnemuhle Paper 2019 


As a sessional lecturer at Art & Design, his research reflects an interest in mark making and the mechanics of repetition. 

The artist says teaching has been an inspirational foundation to his practice which he has passed on to students at UNSW and inmates at the Long Bay Correctional Centre. In addition to lecturing at Art & Design, he co-manages the Boom Gate Gallery at Long Bay, specialising in exhibiting and selling inmate art. Moss says he is “a true believer in the redemptive power of art” and finds it extremely rewarding to see what people can create with very limited resources in a challenging environment.

“In every situation, you learn as much as you teach,” he says. “Being an artist is a solitary activity, teaching at UNSW means being part of a scholarly community where ideas and opinions are shared.” 

His advice for emerging artists and students at UNSW is to “remain present, learn from your peers and lecturers, be open to receiving feedback and generous when giving it, regularly visit galleries and join the scholarly community.”

His work is held at the National Gallery of Australia, Artbank, Macquarie Bank and UNSW. 

The 2019 Dobell Drawing Prize winner announcement and exhibition launch is Wednesday 27 March and the exhibition continues from the 28 March–25 May 2019 at the National Art School gallery.