The colourful world of Archibald finalist Jason Phu
This Archibald finalist is the subject of Foxtel’s latest art doco
The Archibald Prize may have celebrated its 96th birthday this year, but how much do we really know about this iconic Australian art event? Foxtel has been given unprecedented access to the entrants, taking the viewers behind the scenes following a group of artists and their sitters.
Jason Phu, a two-time Archibald finalist, is featured in the four-part documentary series, as he paints Western Bulldogs AFL player Lin Jong. Jason’s artwork deals with the mixed cultural identities of Australians, and draws upon his own cultural heritage.
He graduated from the College of Fine Arts UNSW in 2011 with Honours and joined the Hughes Gallery in 2013 with the inclusion of a suite of works in Paper Trail.
He shows in group exhibitions in Sydney as well as Taiwan and Thailand and spends a great chunk of his working life abroad in various Asian cities honing his skills. As he says, every artist works differently.
“The public perception of artists is a bit of fa a cliche. It’s often a male who’s painting a landscape or a hot, naked woman,” he says. “There’s a plurality of practices. I have friends ds who have a full-time job and paint as well.”
Jason, who was followed around by a TV crew for the production of The Archibald lovesves what he does but says it is financially taxing.
“Sold artworks have never covered my costs, or I might just break even, except for 2015 when I won the Sulman Prize and that allowed me to spend some time in China.”
Jason is living in a share house in Summer Hill, with a studio in Alexandria, but travelling g back to Asia is always front of mind.
“My mum is from China and Dad is from Vietnam, so Asia is a huge part of my identity,” he says. “Traditionally, Australian artists will travel to Europe, but there is a huge ge artist community in Asia.”