l've been painting and drawing for as long as l can remember - it's something very near and dear to me. l developed a natural skill for art from a very young age and l became intrigued with all things art. Composition, design, light and shade, colour, technique and style are just a few of the things l wanted and needed to understand.When l was nine years old my grandma took me to see Disney's animated classic ''The Jungle Book''. l loved the character design and the beautifully hand painted settings and immediately became obsessed with anything Disney. l decided then and there that l wanted to become an animator. By the time l was fifteen l had left school and landed a full time job in a small animation studio in Sydney that produced animated commercials for television. l was basically self-taught and very passionate about my craft. l won my first award for animation when l was eighteen.As the years went on, the company expanded and l became a director, my specialty being a combination of live action and animation. This was my profession for nearly forty years, winning various awards along the way, most notably a Clio award, a Mobius and Director of the Year.Throughout my career my passion for painting took a backseat. But recently, the urge to paint became too overwhelming and l eventually gave in to it.Portraiture is one of my strengths and l've been fortunate to be selected as a finalist in the Percival Portrait Prize, the Shirley Hannan, and twice semi-finalist in the prestigious Doug Moran National Portrait Award. Just being noticed in these highly regarded awards has given me a huge amount of confidence and courage and l'm thrilled to be rated alongside the country's best artists.The art of caricature is also something l'm extremely interested in. l'm a regular finalist in the ''Bald Archies'', a cheeky alternative to the famed Archibald.My dream is to paint every day and offer my skills for commission work. A portrait or caricature is a unique gift idea for any special occasion. A painting is a one-off original and something that lasts more than a lifetime that can be passed down through generations. ARCHIBALD FINALIST 2017:Phil Meatchem’s subject, Francis Greenslade, is an actor whose many television credits include Seachange, Winners & losers, Blue heelers, Shaun Micallef’s various series, and other comedy sketch shows. He has also appeared in numerous stage productions.‘Francis Greenslade is a household face, not a household name. He’s been around for a while but the name won’t ring any bells. He’s familiar, likeable and I’m a fan,’ says Meatchem.‘Francis was quite happy for me to paint his portrait and invited me to his house for a sitting. Tonally, I was inspired by the elegant Oscar-night celebrity portraits by photographer Mark Seliger. I wanted to capture a similar stylish mood in my painting, but with a more humorous edge. Francis lounges “gracefully awkwardly” in his good suit on his favourite sofa. His expression is typical Francis whimsy. My intention was to create an image that makes you smile and matches the character of this talented man.’Born in Sydney in 1958, Meatchem studied for a year at the Julian Ashton Art School. After a 40-year career as a director of television commercials, he recently took up painting full-time. This is his first time in the Archibald Prize.
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