Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information, including hours

Help us improve our prizes database. Contact us if you have more information.

Jason Phu

Title
Lisa has a much more pleasant face than Glenn...
Medium
ink on Chinese paper
Dimensions
152 x 83 cm
Further information

The full title of Jason Phu’s painting is: Lisa has a much more pleasant face than Glenn. She also doesn’t sing horribly while playing a guitar or try to put a cat up a tree while I’m painting her. His subject is Lisa Havilah, director of Carriageworks, a contemporary multi-arts centre in Sydney.

Commenting on the work, Phu says: ‘I wanted to paint Noel but he hates doing that stuff. Lin was too busy with his footy schedule. Guan wasn’t in the country. So I had to settle for painting [curator] Glenn Barkley. Luckily while Glenn was distracted with showing me how much his cat loved climbing trees (which it definitely didn’t), Lisa was there so I painted her instead. Anyway, Lisa is much more prestigious in the arts and is also a lovely person.

‘I never really wanted to become an artist. I’ve always wanted to be a cartoonist, doing the Sunday comic strips, but I’ve been too scared to pursue it. In high school I decided I’d like to do engineering. I’ve always had a penchant for building little mechanical toys, but I didn’t have the marks to do engineering. So I had to do fine arts. It’s been all right and I’ve enjoyed it but I see myself becoming a chef in the not-too-distant future.’

Born in Sydney in 1989, Phu studied at the College of Fine Arts UNSW and in Nova Scotia and Beijing. His artwork draws on his life as a Chinese-Australian. He was a finalist in last year’s Archibald Prize, and is also in this year’s Sulman Prize.

Listen to label text