‘Danny Green is a world champion boxer but in the period approaching his world title fight with Roy Jones Junior in November 2009, when this portrait was painted, he was an underdog,’ says artist Peter Kendall. ‘Roy Jones Junior was considered one of the greatest fighters of all time but in the fight, Danny took just 122 seconds to deliver a knockout and end the contest. As befits the underdog, I have portrayed Danny in the counter-attack stance, prepared to defend, avoid and retaliate.’
Kendall wanted to portray Green – The Green Machine to his fans – in peak physical condition. He envisaged a portrait that captured his energy, strength and fierce training regime. However, at initial meetings in Perth, Kendall thought Green looked soft – not the gladiator-like warrior he had planned to paint – so Green arranged for them to meet in Sydney during his build up to the fight.
They caught up at the Raging Bull gym in Marrickville where Green’s trainer, Angelo Hyder, was putting him through his final workout after months of preparation.
‘There were wooden floors and punching bags under dim fluorescent lighting and a solitary boxing ring,’ says Kendall. ‘The walls were rich yellow ochre with ultramarine blue trim. There were the fight posters, all the boxing paraphernalia, and an atmosphere of sweat, toil and testosterone. Danny was in the ring with Angelo, pounding, working and practising fight manoeuvres over and over long into the sticky night. Thud, thud. Whack, whack. Cascades of sweat. Hard energy. So here is the painting. The viewer is in the ring with him, experiencing the heat and the expectation of Danny the Underdog, poised for defence but coiled for attack.’
Born in Albury, NSW in 1949, Kendall has been based in Perth for the past 28 years. He has had 15 solo exhibitions since 1978 and has been represented in many group shows. A highly regarded portrait artist, he has been commissioned to paint more than 100 private, sporting and corporate portraits. He was a finalist in the 2004 Archibald Prize with a painting of motor racing legend Peter Brock.