Comedian and author Anh Do has won the People’s Choice Award at this year’s Archibald Prize for his portrait of actor Jack Charles.
Do had previously interviewed Charles on the second season of his popular ABC art/interview show Anh’s Brush with Fame, and painted his portrait in a similar style to his Archibald entry. The portrait features Charles’s head, floating on a black background, and a reflection lying underneath.
Do first learnt of Charles’s career in 2015, after reading an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, which described the actor as “esteemed actor, former heroin addict and jailbird, member of the stolen generation, gay man and latter-day Indigenous activist”.
Do said: “Jack’s face is full of character. I wanted the painting to capture his gravitas but also the loneliness that has been his constant companion. I mixed wet and semi-dried paint to create a texture that would evoke mountains and waterfalls, tree bark, fallen leaves, clouds and rain to encapsulate the beauty of the Australian landscape inside this beautiful man’s face.”
Charles said: “I am extremely chuffed to be counted as one of Anh Do’s mates, and of his extraordinary portrait of moi. It was a hoot sitting for this legend in his sexy little Sydney studio,
“I count him as one of the best extractors of information – from his engaging smile, wit, genuine interest and listening to the dribs and drabs of my story, my reason for living. I’m blessed thrice over.”
This year’s exhibition marks Do’s second year as an Archibald finalist, after his portrait of his father made the cut for 2014. This is his first time receiving a prize at the Archibalds.
The People’s Choice Award was voted upon by more than 15,000 visitors to the Archibald exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW, and is worth $3500.
Do joins the other two winners of prizes at this year’s Archibalds: Peter Smeeth, who won the Packing Room Prize for his portrait of Lisa Wilkinson, and Mitch Cairns, who won the overall Archibald Prize for his portrait of artist Agatha Gothe-Snape.
Cairns’s win proved to be particularly controversial, with esteemed artist John Olsen labelling the selection the worst decision he’d ever seen.