Sydney artist Paul Jackson has been awarded the Packing Room Prize in conjunction with the 2009 Archibald Prize for his portrait of Flacco, the comic creation of stage and film actor Paul Livingston.
A verbal gymnast with a wondrously absurd, sorrowful take on life, Flacco is known and loved for his appearances on television shows including Good News Week and two Flacco and the Sandman specials for the Ten Network, and The Big Gig and Daas Kapital for the ABC.
From 1998 – 2001, Livingston produced a regular cartoon for The Australian Magazine called The Flacco Files, which later appeared as a book. He has written a novel (The Dirt Bath).
Paul Jackson first came across Flacco when he saw him performing with the Sandman at Belvoir St Theatre in the mid-1990s. Comparing Flacco to a court jester, Jackson believes that the character “walks the knife-edge of success and failure every time he steps on stage with his risqué punning and cut-and-thrust dialogue, not easily embraced by the timid. Ironically, I found Paul himself to be a self-confessed timid man, so his suit may represent a suit of armour or perhaps a strait jacket.”
So what of Flacco’s Chariot? “Do we not all long to be transported by something in our lives that will carry a special significance and leave us with indelible fond memories?” asks Jackson. “Do we not carry within our ‘chariot’ the baggage that we think we need for the journey? Here I use the chair as a manifestation of the chariot and have adorned it with cartoons from The Flacco Files.
Born in Auckland in 1950, Jackson now lives in Sydney. He exhibits regularly in New Zealand and Australia in both solo and group exhibitions and is represented in many public and private collections around the world. This is his sixth time in the Archibald Prize. In 2006, he won the Archibald People’s Choice Award with a portrait of actor Garry McDonald battling depression.
The Packing Room prize gives the Gallery staff who receive the entries for Archibald the chance to vote for their favourite Archibald portrait. This is the Gallery’s head storeman, Steve Peters’ 25th Archibald Prize and his 18th Packing Room Prize.
Paul Jackson receives $500 and a $500 Myer voucher.
Finalists for the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes were also announced today.
This year there were 708 Archibald entries, 712 Wynne entries and 561 Sulman entries.
See List of Finalists >