The Archibald Packer’s Prize is actually chosen by the staff of the Art of NSW, by the Packer’s who unpack over 800 entries. Many of the Archibald Prize entries do not even make it to public viewing. But this year’s winner is the striking portrait of respected celebrity chef George Calombaris by Adelaide artist Betina Fauvel-Ogden.
“I was always interested in George Calombaris as a subject as I felt there was an intensity to his character,” says Betina Fauvel-Ogden. A Melbourne chef and restaurateur, Calombaris owns seven Melbourne restaurants including The Press Club, Gazi and Hellenic, where the cuisine draws on his Greek and Cypriot heritage.
“After eight months of pursuing him, George gave up his valuable time to allow me three sittings. I wanted to paint him in his white chef’s jacket and black apron. In choosing the pose, George felt most comfortable with his hands on his hips. I kept the lighting simple and focused on capturing the determination in his eyes,” said Betina.