Norfolk Island is known for its beauty, people and landscapes and famous as the home of the descendants of the Bounty mutineers. It also has amazing artists like Adam Jauczius. Adam creates realistic, vibrant works which capture the essence of his subjects. Adam has submitted art in past Archibald Prize categories and once again Adam has submitted another to this prestigious award.
In the late ’80s Adam and wife Jenny spent two years on the Nullarbor where Adam worked at the remote Forrest Weather Station, and later at Eucla for a further 10 years.
Exploring one day, they came upon a fox hunter’s campsite, stopping to take photos of feral cat skins hanging in a meat chiller and the absent hunter’s motorbike, then returned to Forrest. In 2008 they met Bill on Norfolk at the annual country music festival and told him the story. Looking over their old snapshots, Bill immediately recognised his Nullarbor campsite.
Norfolk captured the Chambers family’s collective hearts when they first visited in 1996. It’s been their go-to getaway ever since and was where Living in the Circle (the Dead Ringer Band’s 1997 album) and Kasey Chambers’ 1999 solo release, The Captain were conceived.
Although Adam is widely regarded for his breathtaking landscapes of majestic Norfolk Island, he’s also a gifted portrait artist.
In 2016 he painted charismatic singer-guitarist Matt Zarb, followed in 2018 by Arrernte elder and country music performer Warren H Williams, and in 2020, The Bushwackers’ madcap fiddler Mark Oats.
“I love capturing the beauty of Norfolk on canvas, but there’s nothing quite like that feeling when the person you have painted loves what you’ve done,” Adam said.
Once he began the portrait process, Adam discovered just how much he and Bill had in common.
“We both grew up in South Australia and he’s from Southend, right near Naracoorte where Jenny was born,” he said. “Like me, Bill lived in the outback for many years and has ‘desert blood’…there’s something about those endless horizons, and wide-open plains, which seeps into your soul and stays with you.
“After I mentioned desert blood and we’d reminisced about Nullarbor days, Bill was inspired to write a new song, and gave me a songwriting credit for the idea, which was just amazing.”
Although he’s almost “embarrassed” to have been the subject chosen by Adam, Bill Chambers said he was “absolutely chuffed” with the end result.
“I’m very proud of the job Adam has done with the painting and that he took the project so seriously,” he said. “At the same time, I feel a bit strange talking about it; it’s hard to talk about yourself.”
Having received Bill’s full approval, Adam unveiled the painting on Facebook on March 17. It will be on display at Norfolk Art from March 21 until April 24 when it will be taken to Sydney for submission in the 100th Annual 2021 Archibald Prize.
It’s the fourth time Adam has entered the Archibald Prize, one of Australia’s most prestigious art competitions. Last year, although a record-breaking 1068 portraits were submitted, only 55 were hung, so Adam remains philosophical about his chances.
“It’s a bit of a lotto, really,” he said. “I’m a huge music fan and enjoy painting passionate people. Matty, Warren, Mark and Bill are all wonderful musicians – and down-to-earth, genuine blokes – and I hope their portraits captured that.
“If the judges select ‘Desert Blood’ as a finalist I’ll be delighted, but, truly, the reaction I’ve had this week from Bill, his family, friends and fans has already been absolutely overwhelming.”
For further information, or to arrange an interview with Adam Jauczius, please visit the Norfolk Art Facebook page, email email@example.com or contact @adamjauczius on Instagram