anthony bennett
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Archibald Prize Finalist 2008

This is a 'portrait of jon farriss in a kylie t-shirt.' Jon is of course the drummer from INXS, a band that provided a massive part of the soundtrack of my youth. They were one of the first bands I ever saw in concert as they would frequently do the run along the nth qld coast and play that mecca known only as the mackay showgrounds. In the clip for 'burn for you' if I recall correctly, they cleverly used footage from those concerts, flights and the trip into the nth qld cities, the cane fields and city marker signs ...mackay pop. whatever... 35 000? that what it was?.....can't quite remember if that's completely accurate....cairns pop. whatever etc... very clever and we all loved them for it. You don't forget stuff like that. It was therefore a great pleasure to meet jon, a self confessed art junkie, through a gallery that sold my work and also had him as a client. It was a very organic event. It was great to visit his house and the process of sketches red wine etc leading to the final painting was an entirely wonderful experience. I remember buying the tour t-shirt from the concert, or was it afterwards at chandlers, and it was very japanese inspired red black the INXS colours featured with kanji down the side ...and having said that images of the 'I send a message' clip come back so strongly to me with the monks and the small toy robot and the geisha doing weirdly erotic geisha movements. I loved that "foreign-ness" and always had a curious fascination with japan, studied kyokushin-kai karate and at that age soaked up any novels set in japan.....devouring all of clavell's epic books 'shogun'...'gaijin' and then as he moved his gaze down the road 'taipan' and 'noble house' the world of clouds and rain...delicious wetness...bruce lee movies of course ...'enter the dragon' and 'game of death' etc were virtually porn for the male teen brain and led to books like 'the art of war' and 'the book of five rings' and continued to the present with hurakami and natsuo kirino with mishima thrown in along the way....cold chisel had 'east' and jimmy wore those great headbands...and finally I had the opportunity of living in japan for a couple of years. Our reaction to the rising sun was perhaps quite different to that of our grandparents. T-shirts were and still are a part of the band experience. T-shirts can say a lot. They are their own language. The t-shirt in this pic was originally going to be ac/dc and went through a few incarnations, oils, boomtown rats..... before kylie became the obvious choice. In my thorough internet research, amongst the porn, I came across a claim in gossip world somewhere that jon had originally dated kylie and michael had come along and stolen her away....jon said that was just another thing on the net that was bollocks!(who'd have thought the internet wasn't reliable??I was stunned ....) but hell that was enough of a link for me(did I need one ...really!).....kyles and perhaps more so her ass, are icons of our time and my work references both quite a bit as some may have noticed....I have had 2 exhibitions minogue-ism in melbourne and post-minogue-ist on the gold coast, that might betray my mild obsession to the alert students of the game....sadly I am neither french nor an underwear model...but then that's such a blessing in itself on both counts!!! c'est la vie...

'portrait of jon farriss in a kylie t-shirt'