How Anh Do manages to capture character on canvas

“The know I don't have an agenda. I just want to be the listening ear for the audience.”
Anh Do

In an emotional episode of Anh’s Brush With Fame this week, 2017 TV WEEK Gold Logie winner Samuel Johnson, 39, talks to Anh about his sister Connie. He describes the moment he found out she was seriously ill with cancer.

“She’s always been our little miracle girl,” he says.

In true Sam style, he can open his heart and let you see his raw emotions, but then bounce back with a snappy line that will have you in stitches.

In his show, Anh’s Brush With Fame, the 40-year-old has proved he not only has a talent for painting, but also for getting his guests to reveal personal things about themselves.

Anh tells TV WEEK how he does it…

Have you always been able to paint?

It was a surprise to me. I went back to TAFE with the 18-year-olds and found 
I had a knack. I have to say, the first 
few paintings at TAFE were horrible.

How long are the sittings?

I definitely don’t paint them over half 
an hour. The show isn’t “Look how fast Anh can paint”. The sittings go for several hours. We enjoy a yarn, take a break, have a drink, and come back and do some more painting.

Anh and Magda Szubanski.

How do you get your guests to open up?

There’s no audience, so there’s no pressure. It’s very intimate, and they let their guard down – that’s the key. I love conversation. If I meet someone as amazing as [comedian and actress] Magda Szubanski, I want to delve in and learn from everything 
she’s been through.

Are there some questions they won’t answer?

Some say, “I don’t want to talk about that.” So we move on. But then they might ask me questions I don’t want 
to answer. They know I don’t have 
an agenda. I just want to be the listening ear for the audience.

Anh and Jimmy Barnes.

Do you always chat when you paint?

I prefer a real person being there, but if I paint a landscape from a photo, I start talking to myself. It’s probably a bit odd. One day, I painted my grandfather from a photo and started talking to it. I haven’t lost it – I know it’s a photo. But it’s a way of connecting.

Do you learn life lessons?

I asked [singer] Jimmy Barnes, “What’s the key to happiness?” He said, “At one stage, I was making more than $5 million a year and it wasn’t enough to cover my expenses. I sold my houses and 
my cars, and now what makes me happy is holding my grand-daughter. And that’s free.”

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