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Anh Do paints prominent portraits to life

AAP logoAAP 29/08/2016 By Danielle McGrane

Anh Do's TV show has a particularly unique concept.

On Anh's Brush With Fame, the comedian paints the portrait of a different famous person in each episode and films the process, while simultaneously interviewing the person.

It helps that he is also a talented painter whose portrait of his father made him an Archibald prize finalist in 2014.

"It was my idea because I love painting and I love chatting with interesting people," he said.

"There's an incredible honesty and openness from the guests that makes the show so compelling. Some of the most amazing stuff didn't even make the cut. You can do two hours on Jimmy Barnes alone."

Whether or not there's a camera pointed at him, Anh says he would chat to his portrait subjects anyway about life's deeper issues.

"I love conversation but I'm not a fan of small talk, I like asking the big questions. And I've got access to these people for a couple of hours so I may as well delve deep," he said.

Sitting in the studio, alone with Anh, allows his subjects to feel comfortable enough to spill their hearts.

"There's no studio audience, so they don't feel like they have to perform," he said.

"It's a really intimate space and we chat over a couple of hours. They ask me about my life and it's a real conversation, and in that intimate space they feel like they can share things they don't often share."

Alongside Barnesy, Anh also had the chance to paint and chat with celebrities including Magda Szubanski, Kyle Sandilands and Anthony Mundine.

And some of his guests have really surprised him.

"Kyle Sandilands told me that when he was living on the streets he slept behind a service station and at night he could hear the radio coming through the bowsers," he said.

"He really loved the voices because he really valued their company and he hated when the songs came on. He wanted the songs to hurry up and finish so those human voices would come back.

"So he told me, that's when he fell in love with radio."

The intimate portrait session takes place over a longer period than the final 30 minute TV episode - long enough for real friendships to form.

"Magda and I text each other," he said.

"Sometimes a sitting lasts three hours, and you have a really intimate conversation and it's hard not to feel a friendship instantly develop."

*Anh's Brush With Fame airs on ABC on Wednesdays at 8pm and is also available on iView.

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