2021 Distinguished Alumnus

Field of study


Graduation year


Graeme Drendel is a key Australian figurative painter and printmaker who graduated from Ballarat Teachers College in 1972. He has sustained a full-time artistic career for over forty years building a strong reputation nationally and internationally as a significant contemporary artist and portrait painter.

Graeme’s art invites contemplation and reveals the humour of everyday life. Graeme has been a finalist in the Sir John Sulman Prize in both 2002 and 2006; a finalist in Australia’s richest art prize, the Doug Moran National Portraiture Prize in 2017; a finalist in the Archibald Prize in 2018; and shortlisted for the ‘Rick Amor Self Portrait Prize’ in 2019.

In 2021 Graeme was a finalist in both the Sir John Sulman Prize, and the Archibald Prize, for his portrait of internationally renowned performance artist and Federation University Visual Arts lecturer, Jill Orr.

Graeme has held thirty solo exhibitions since 1990 as well as featuring in numerous group exhibitions. His work is represented in public and private collections throughout Australia