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Winner: Packing Room Prize 2011
Vincent Fantauzzo is fast becoming an Archibald favourite. He won the People’s Choice Award in both 2008 and 2009 for portraits of actor Heath Ledger and child actor Brandon Walters, who played the young Aboriginal boy Nullah in Baz Luhrmann’s film Australia. His portrait of Ledger was also Highly Commended by the judges.
Fantauzzo’s subject this year is celebrity chef Matt Moran, now a household name from his appearances on television cooking shows including MasterChef, The Chopping Block and My Restaurant Rules.
Moran and his business partner Peter Sullivan own two of Australia’s premier restaurants: ARIA in Sydney and in Brisbane. He is also the author of two cookbooks.
‘Matt is one of my best friends. I’ve known him for years,’ says Fantauzzo. ‘I did a portrait of him a few years ago and decided to paint him again for the Archibald as I wanted to paint someone I know well.’
Fantauzzo experimented with numerous different poses before settling on this one. ‘Some of them looked a bit sinister with the knife and meat and I wanted it to look fun,’ he says. ‘This one is a little bit cheeky. He has that grin on his face, which he often gets when he’s about to do or say something funny.’
Fantauzzo chose to surround Moran with meat. ‘He grew up on a dairy farm, he has a lamb business and he’s very into fresh produce and meat. It’s a bit intense, I suppose, if you’re a vegetarian but it’s a bit of fun.’