Artist notches up prestigious double

Artist Sam Leach has scored a prestigious double, winning the 2010 Archibald Prize – with a portrait of comedian Tim Minchin – and the Wynne prize on the same day.

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Leach took the Wynne prize – for landscape painting – with his work Proposal for landscaped cosmos.

The Adelaide-born, Melbourne-based artist painted his Archibald-winning portrait of musical comic Minchin after meeting him in London.

He approached the comedian “primarily because I really like his style of comedy , he said – but also because he saw parallels between the pair’s lives.

“The topics he deals with – social commentary, the appeal to reason over religion and that kind of thing – tie in with my work.

“But in a funny way I also see my career reflected in his. His career is much bigger than mine but we became successful in our fields almost simultaneously and our first and second children were also born about the same time.”

Award-winning comic

Minchin is known for his off-kilter brand of musical comedy – as well as his distinctive ‘look’, featuring messy long blond hair, and heavy eye make-up.

He won the 2005 Perrier ‘Best Newcomer’ award at the 2005 Edinburgh Festival, and is currently working on a musical adaptation of the Roald Dahl children’s book Matilda for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

“I wanted a full-length portrait because he does use his whole body when he performs,” explained Leach, a four-time entrant in the Archibald Prize.

The Archibald Prize is one of Australia’s most prestigious art awards.

Established in 1921, it features work from some of the country’s most distinguished artists.

The winner recieves $50,000 and pride of place in the Archibald Prize exhibition.

Last week, Indian-born Sydney artist Nafisa was named winner of the Packing Room Prize, for her portrait of rock historian Glen A Baker.