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The full title of this artwork is So you want to come down and the silence of painting (self-portrait).
This is Jason Benjamin’s seventh time as a finalist in the Archibald Prize. He says of the painting: ‘So you want to come down refers to the realisation, after years, of the toll that fractured mental health takes not only on oneself but on those closest to you. The silence of painting can be its own worst enemy and is represented by the make-up, crudely applied somewhere between a mime artist and clown: screaming but not making a sound.’
Born in 1971, Benjamin now lives and works in Sydney. He studied art at the Pratt Institute in New York, and is known for his emotionally charged, visually lush landscapes, still lifes and portraits. His previous subjects for the Archibald include musicians Paul Kelly, Gareth Liddiard and Tim Rogers, artists John Olsen and McLean Edwards and actor Bill Hunter, whose portrait won the Packing Room Prize in 2005.