27-year-old Sydney artist Jamie Preisz has claimed the 2018 Archibald Packing Room Prize for his portrait of Aussie rocker Jimmy Barnes.
The first-time finalist beat 57 other works to claim the $1,500 prize, which is decided by the gallery’s head packer.
The painting, titled ‘Jimmy (title fight)’, depicts Barnes as a boxer, and for good reason.
“Jimmy has never been afraid to stand up and fight; he’s fought for his career, his family and even his life,” Preisz says.
“His dad, Jim Swan, was a prize-fighter in Glasgow and that formed part of my inspiration to depict him as a boxer. After losing my sister to suicide, I was touched deeply when I saw an interview with Jimmy speaking about his own suicide attempt.
“To me, he was fighting against the stigma of mental health issues by speaking so publicly about his own struggles, especially to generations of men who don’t feel that having emotional intelligence is a masculine quality.”
Jimmy Barnes responded to Preisz’s win by saying, “You might look at me and think, ‘This guy’s no oil painting,’ but Jamie’s proven that wrong.”
The Packing Room Prize is often called the “kiss of death” by artists, because no winner has ever gone on to win the Archibald Prize.
Winners of the 2018 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes will be announced next week.