With his $25,000 art prize, Mitch Cairns will buy travel, time off and - a rarity in his field - a little peace of mind.
The artist, 28, is the winner of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship.
It includes a three-month residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris and Cairns has opted to spend a further three months travelling in Northern Ireland, near family.
"I'm required to spend the money travelling and that's a luxury that hasn't been afforded to me before," said the former Bellambi Holy Spirit College student.
"If you're working to support an art practice you have to have enough money to cover rent, studio bills, enough money to live and buy materials."
The scholarship came at a key moment for Cairns, who recently lost his job at an art supply store when it closed.
He moved from Stanwell Park to Sydney in 2003 for his final year at the National Art School.
When he was a teenager, another Stanwell Park resident, Sydney Morning Herald illustrator Michael Mucci, taught him drawing and other art techniques after school. He showed him a career as an artist was possible and inspired him.
"That was strange to learn, exciting to learn. It's not just people in textbooks who make art; people still make art now."