Vincent Fantauzzo is one of Australia’s most popular portrait artists.  He has won the Doug Moran National Portrait prize, is a four time winner of the Archibald People’s Choice award and was recently commissioned to paint the official portrait of former prime minister Julia Gillard for the Parliament House collection.

But his wasn’t a smooth path to success. He grew up in a tough neighbourhood where you literally had to fight to get by and he learnt to survive by becoming someone that went against his true nature.

Unaware he had dyslexia, he struggled at school and was kicked out at 13 years of age.  He worked from job to job but never stopped drawing and ultimately realised that was what he did best. How he got into and finished university is a story in itself. He is now an adjunct professor of that university, RMIT.

In this episode he also tells the story behind many of his famous portraits: of actor Heath Ledger, film director Baz Luhrmann, acclaimed actress Asher Keddie (who is also his wife) and former prime minister Julia Gillard.

He also talks about his passion to take art to people who might have never set foot in a gallery.

Press ‘play’ above to hear the interview.  

Current and upcoming events

  • Work included in ‘Heath Ledger: A Life in Pictures’, Art Gallery WA until 18 January 2018
  • Unveiling of  portrait of the Hon. Julia Gillard AC at Parliament House

Links to things and people we talk about on the show

‘Heath’, 2008, oil on canvas, 106 x 140cm (Collection of the Art Gallery of NSW, highly commended and winner of the Archibald Prize People’s Choice award 2008. Portrait of Heath Ledger)

‘Off Screen’, 2010, oil on canvas, (Winner Doug Moran National Portrait Prize 2010. Portrait of Baz Luhrmann)

‘Love face’, 2013, oil on linen, 174 x 304cm, (Winner Archibald Prize People’s Choice 2013 – portrait of Asher Keddie)

‘All that’s good in me (self-portrait as son Luca)’, 2014, oil on linen, 160 x 260cm, (Winner Archibald Prize People’s Choice 2014)

‘Matt Moran’, 2011, oil on canvas, 200 x 150cm, (Winner of the Archibald Packing Room Prize 2011)

Fantauzzo working on his portrait of Nic Cester, in Strachan Lane, Melbourne CBD, outside the restaurant he co-owns, Harley House. (Image from Fantauzzo’s instagram page)



One thought on “Ep #37 Vincent Fantauzzo

  1. Nick Stathopoulos

    I was looking forward to this edition for obvious reasons. There is currently a concerted anti-photo/hyper/realist trend with the Archibald, and among certain critics. I can’t understand how someone who is so popular with the public is not getting into the Archibald, or how the Ledger portrait is not on the walls of the AGNSW. Vincent’s work has always had a level of psychological subtext that takes it beyond a basic realistic reproduction. It was great to hear Vincent talk about his work and his back history. Thanks!

Comments are closed.