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08 Packing Room Prize winner

Martin Ball

Artist Martin Ball from Auckland has been awarded the Packing Room Prize in conjunction with the 2008 Archibald Prize for his portrait of Crowded House frontman, Neil Finn. Neil Finn is one of New Zealand’s leading singer/songwriters.

“Neil Finn has written some of my favourite songs and so too has his brother Tim,” says Martin Ball who, like many of his generation in New Zealand, grew up listening to their music. “I was delighted when Neil agreed to be my portrait subject.”

Martin Ball didn’t know the Finn brothers personally but just through their music – although he did know some band members of Split Enz who were at art school at the same time as him in the early 1970s.

In his portrait work, Ball is interested in the effects of scale and aims for a simple composition that allows contemplation of the face and head. “In the portrait of Neil Finn I wanted to capture something of his individual and determined approach to making music,” he says. 

Born in Auckland in 1952, Ball is known for his hyper realistic paintings and drawings. He studied at the University of Auckland School of Fine Arts and completed a Masters there in 2001. He has always been interested in portraiture. He has had regular solo exhibitions in New Zealand since 1975 and has been represented in numerous group exhibitions including the 2005 and 2007 Archibald Prizes.

The Packing Room Prize gives the Gallery staff who receive the entries for Archibald the chance to vote for their favourite Archibald portrait. This is the Gallery’s head storeman, Steve Peters’, 24th Archibald Prize and his 17th Packing Room Prize. Steve said he chose this painting of Neil Finn because ‘it was a good picture’.

Martin Ball receives $500 and a $500 Myer voucher.

Finalists for the Archibald, Wynne & Sulman Prizes were also announced today.

This year 693 entries were received for Archibald, 721 for the Wynne Prize and 559 for the Sulman Prize.


Principal sponsor
On view:Art Gallery of New South Wales
8 March � 18 May 2008

The Bendigo Art Gallery Victoria
30 May - 29 June 2008
before commencing its NSW regional tour.
Telephone:(02) 9225 1744
(02) 9225 7400 Recorded information
1800 679 278 National toll-free
Hours:Open 7 days 10am until 5pm
Open until 9pm every Wednesday
Admission:$8 adult, $6 conc.
Media Information and Interviews:Susanne Briggs
(02) 9225 1791 or
mobile 0412 268 320 Claire Martin
02 9225 1734
mobile 0414 437 588

IMAGE CREDIT: Martin Ball Neil Finn , 2008 Packing Room Prize winner