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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Marcus Willis

"MOST people paint one good portrait to win Australia's most famous art award, the Archibald Prize. This year, Marcus Wills churned out more than 200 to claim a surprise victory.
The 34-year-old Melbourne artist was crowned the winner of the $35,000 prize yesterday for his surreal work, The Paul Juraszek Monolith (after Marcus Gheeraerts), which depicts more than 200 figures crawling over a giant stone head.

The work, inspired by an etching by Flemish engraver Marcus Gheeraerts, features 29 individual portraits of Melbourne sculptor Paul Juraszek. Juraszek's shiny pate was a source of inspiration for Wills.
"I quite like painting bald heads. Hair can be annoying to paint," he said yesterday. Wills, 34, spent more than two years on the work and confessed he struggled to finish it. Among the faces, tucked in a corner, is a sly self-portrait, holding a Paul Juraszek puppet.
Art Gallery of NSW director Edmund Capon called the painting "very different, very original".
"In every sense it is a most unexpected choice," he said."



b. 1972
Figurative realist painter Marcus Wills was born in Kaniva, VIC. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1995 and was awarded the Brett Whiteley travelling scholarship in 1999 and the Archibald Prize in 2006. Wills has held solo exhibitions in Melbourne since 1992 and his works have been included in group exhibitions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney and the Gold Coast City Art Gallery, QLD. His work is held in several regional collections in Victoria and Queensland.

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