Peter takes on Dr Karl

By Jade Lawton
SEVEN could just be Gembrook artist Peter Biram’s lucky number.
Mr Biram is entering Australia’s most famous art competition, the Archibald, for the seventh time this year with an oil on canvas portrait of Alan Fletcher – more commonly known as Dr Karl Kennedy in Channel 10 soap, Neighbours.
To enter the Archibald, artists must produce a portrait of a distinguished Australian.
A panel of judges sift through hundreds of entries and award the winner $50,000.
Mr Biram, a former Channel 10 cameraman, said Mr Fletcher was the perfect candidate for the sitting.
“I started the portrait at the Neighbours set in Nunawading. It’s a fairly straightforward portrait of him sitting in the studio,” Mr Biram said.
“All my sitters in the past, you need to build a rapport with them first. I never paint anyone who I don’t respect or like.
“Alan is an incredible, nice guy, he has a lot of time for people and I think he is naturally friendly. He always has time for people.”
Mr Biram said winning was ‘a long-shot’ and he was happy to be exhibited in the salon de refuse, an exhibition of the best artworks.
“You enter the painting and if you don’t hear anything a day or two after deadline it’s all over red rover. Then you have to resubmit the painting to go through the judging process (for the salon de refuse) all over again,” he said.
Mr Biram, who has previously entered portraits of newsreader Mal Walden and the late Bud Tingwell, has already arranged his next two subjects.
Next year he will paint dancer Jason Coleman, and the year after that cartoonist Mark Knight.