‘He’s very much an icon of Australian rock and roll. A lot of his songs are anthems of our time,’ says Kerrie Lester of Jimmy Barnes, or Barnesy as he is affectionately known. ‘And his strong personality and strong face go well with my style of painting.’
Lester describes the portrait as ‘a moment in movement’ and ‘a play on stage lights. There’s a double image because he’s the kind of person who doesn’t stay still. He’s such an animated performer that under the bright stage lighting you get burn out and your eye retains images of him as he moves.’
The portrait was, says Lester, one of the most difficult she has painted because of the stage lighting – ‘but I felt it was important to have him on stage. That’s what people know him for, not sitting next to you. Halfway through I thought it was impossible, but you learn something from doing it.’
Born in Sydney in 1953, Lester is a painter and installation artist. She studied at the National Art School from 1971 to 1974 and then at the Alexander Mackie College of Advanced Education in 1975. A regular exhibitor in the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes, she won the Packing Room Prize last year for her Self-portrait as a bridesmaid.