The coveted Archibald Packing Room Prize was won this year by Jamie Preisz (2008), for his portrait of Jimmy Barnes. However, it has been a journey of hard work and the discovery of his talents that has led him to this point.
Michelle Arnott, who taught Jamie at Shore recalls: “Jamie was a devoted art student and brought sustained application and innovation to his art making. He was sensitive to art traditions while engaging thoroughly with the contemporary art world. He was a gentle and good humoured student who worked well in the shared senior studio space.”
After completing his HSC at Shore in 2008, Jamie was unsure what path to take in life. His brother suggested he go to UNSW College of Fine Art (now known as UNSW Art & Design), and he graduated securing a Scholarship to the Billy Blue College of Design where he went on to develop his skills as a Graphic Designer creating story boards for movies.
Outside of work, Jamie continued his love of painting and started to get a name for himself, selling his work through galleries.
During a 2014 residency in Paris at Espace Quinze Quinze, Jamie, age 23, started to believe he could make a living from oil painting and delved further into the genre of Contemporary Realism.
After relocating back to Sydney and establishing a studio in Annandale, Jamie was inspired to paint Jimmy Barnes. He commented: "He's not just a rock musician, he's part of the cultural fabric of Australia. He's iconic."
"I got the initial inspiration for the painting from Jimmy's book, as his dad was a prize-fighting boxer in Glasgow. Reading Jimmy's book I realised he's fought for everything that he's ever had." Jamie said. The painting took 9 weeks to complete.
The opening night of the Archies was a memorable night for Jamie; the realisation of a life-long dream. He was accompanied by his Grandma, Dorothy Cutler, who was the original source of his inspiration, having taken him every year to the exhibition since he can remember.
Jamie plans to return to Shore in the near future to share his experience and wisdom with the School’s current Visual Arts students. Head of Visual Arts, Tim Pigott commented: “It’s fantastic when Old Boys return to the School to inspire the current students. We’re looking forward to welcoming Jamie back in the near future to congratulate him and have him share his inspiration for the Jimmy Barnes painting”.