VINCENT FANTAUZZO won the Archibald People’s Choice Prize for the second consecutive time today, with a portrait of the young Aboriginal actor Brandon Walters.
Walters became a star overnight when he appeared in Baz Luhrmann’s film, Australia, but at the Art Gallery of NSW yesterday, it was clear the thirteen-year-old is still not entirely comfortable in the spotlight. He left most of the talking to Fantauzzo as they posed for photographs.
Before bolting for the gallery’s cafeteria, he confessed that he also enjoyed painting and had learned some Aboriginal techniques from his grandmother.
“Brandon was painting the day I met him,” Fantauzzo said. “I’m waiting to get some tips from him about Aboriginal art.”
The pair met during the final days of filming for Australia after Luhrmann, a friend of Fantauzzo’s rang the artist to tell him about “this amazing kid.”
They met for a series of sittings in Sydney, where Fantauzzo sketched Walters alone and with both his parents. He took the sketches back to his studio in Melbourne to work on the final portrait.
“He’s quite shy, so it took a bit longer to get to know each other, but once you get to know him, he’s just like an ordinary kid,” Fantauzzo said. “He’s handling [the fame] well, focussing on school at home in Broome.”
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