PIC­TURE PER­FECT MO­MENT

Co­me­dian Anh Do, who re­turns to his other big love, paint­ing, in the third sea­son of Anh’s Brush with Fame, re­veals how one of his por­traits prompted a big­ger laugh than any of his stand-up shows

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY - SEANNA CRONIN

Anh Do strives to cap­ture the spirit of his sub­jects when he puts paint to can­vas.

But the painter and co­me­dian wasn’t sure what to make of ac­tress Si­grid Thorn­ton’s re­ac­tion when he re­vealed his in­ter­pre­ta­tion of her in sea­son three of Anh’s Brush with Fame.

“Si­grid just burst out laugh­ing hys­ter­i­cally,” he says. “I thought ‘Wow, well that’s in­ter­est­ing. I’ve never had that’. It was re­ally loud as if I’d just told her the best joke. She laughed more than any re­ac­tion I’ve got from my stand-up shows. It was just her nat­u­ral, spon­ta­neous re­ac­tion to see­ing a mas­sive 1.5-me­tre por­trait of her­self. She gen­uinely liked it.”

Ev­ery­one says they like the fin­ished re­sult, but things don’t al­ways go to plan in the stu­dio.

“I reckon I can sort of tell when they don’t like it,” he says.

“In one of the ear­lier sea­sons, half way into the paint­ing I got into trou­ble. It wasn’t work­ing out, but luck­ily I had a half-fin­ished study I did the day be­fore when I was prac­tis­ing. I pulled that out and fin­ished it.

“I had a guest in sea­son one, I won’t say who it was, who was just dead still. I thought ‘Man this guy is so stiff’ and then I re­alised he thought he had to be still.

“I ac­tu­ally have a whole range of pho­tos and sketches on the ta­ble be­hind me that I re­fer to through­out the process.”

The por­trait and the in­ter­view that hap­pens dur­ing the process are con­densed into a half-hour episode.

“We go for three hours, some­times four,” he says. “There are stops and starts, but I fin­ish ev­ery paint­ing on the day.

“In a way I’ve trained my­self to do this by just paint­ing friends and fam­ily. Say I paint a por­trait of my brother, I’m hav­ing a yarn to him any­way.”

Do pitched the se­ries to the ABC – he likes the fact that there are no ads – and has in­put into the guests who sit for him.

“I have a guide­line: ei­ther I love and ad­mire the per­son or I find the per­son fas­ci­nat­ing,” he says. “Your most re­cent re­al­ity TV star is a lot more fa­mous than some of the peo­ple I have on, who might be Aus­tralians of the year. This se­ries I was able to paint peo­ple who I re­ally ad­mire.”

When I ask why he didn’t at­tend the re­cent Lo­gie Awards, in which the show was nom­i­nated for Most Pop­u­lar En­ter­tain­ment Pro­gram, Do says he doesn’t do the red car­pet thing.

“I’m ac­tu­ally a bit more in­tro­verted than peo­ple ex­pect,” he says.

“I’ve al­ways been more of a lis­tener than a talker any­way, you know?

“That al­lows me to do this show and just paint away and lis­ten to my guests and al­low them to tell their story.”

Sea­son three fea­tures Thorn­ton, Terri Ir­win, Gill Hicks, Adam Goodes, Car­rie Bick­more, Mun­jed Al Mud­eris, John Wil­liamson, Lau­ren Jack­son and Dr Karl.

Sea­son three of Anh’s Brush with Fame pre­mieres on the ABC on Wed­nes­day, July 18 at 8pm.

Pic­ture: ABC

Anh Do re­turns in sea­son three of the ABC se­ries, Anh's Brush With Fame.

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