Like A Rolling Stone
2021 People's Choice Award
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About the artwork and sitter
Sam Cutler is rock history royalty. He is best known as the former tour manager for The Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac and numerous other major acts.
When he was 26, he first used the line: “Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest rock and roll band in the world, The Rolling Stones”, which became their signature introduction. He has published many books including his critically acclaimed biography “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”.
He told the ABC: “I’ve lived in very rough areas of the world, I’ve lived in very spiritual areas of the world. I’ve indulged is massive amounts of hedonism. I’ve had four former wives and three cancers.” Sam moved to Australia in the late 90’s. He now lives in a flat in Upper Mount Gravatt.
About the artist
Jamie Preisz studied Fine Arts and in 2018 won the Archibald Packing Room Prize. He has exhibited widely over the last 5 years, and is based in Sydney. “I travelled to Brisbane to do this painting. And also spent a bit of time there a few years ago installing a work at QAGOMA.”
“He regaled me with stories of rock n roll old too controversial to ever be put down in the history books, yet I had no doubt that every word was true (though some you'd never believe).”
Behind the scenes
This work was created in the style and process of Caravaggio, underpainting the piece instead of sketching it to cut down on sitting time. Included below are some details of his tattoos taken at the end of his sitting so I was able to accurately recreate them once I started again on the canvas in Sydney to finish it.
The piece includes a Eurasion Blue Tit bird native to the area of the orphanage Sam was in during the war. He had mentioned of his childhood bird watching was one of his few respites in which he could escape his reality so I wanted to include it as a reference to his extensive travel (as the blue tit does) and to examine the passing of time.
Sams expression is a combination of the amount of time I made him sit for me and the culmination of a life lived to its fullest. Sam has the most positive and upbeat approach to life, loving music he delightedly showed me through a collection of what could only be described as rock n roll artefacts at his home in Brisbane.
He regaled me with stories of rock n roll old too controversial to ever be put down in the history books, yet I had no doubt that every word was true (though some you’d never believe).
Sam and I have remained great friends since our sitting meeting up many times with a constant flow of hilarious texts and photos between our phones. Sams portrait has provided me with a valuable link to an older generation and a new perspective beyond my own artistic circle to appreciate those who are have walked this road before me.
Sam has also connected me with other Brisbane artists proudly showing them the portrait i painted of him over a dinner table on a phone screen while we laugh, eat and drink red wine into the night. I don’t know how much longer Sam will be around but to see him in this prize, the younger generation linked to the past means the world to him and I.
I long to see his wide smile, to hear his witty quips and am forever worried about losing him as he’s beaten cancer now over 5 times. My fear is that there will be some story I don’t hear lost to history forever remaining in Sams mind. In saying that Im so thankful for every minute with him and to Brisbane for being the home of this wonderful character.