TO GET AHEAD IN RADIO YOU DON'T NEED TO BREATHE FIRE (BUT IT HELPS) - DYLAN LEWIS

2007, Oil on Italian Linen, 152 x 152cm

Finalist, 2007 Archibald Prize Salon des Refusés exhibition

I have always tried to avoid the staid, straight poses that seem to so characterise the typical Archibald portrait. So when I found out Dylan was a fire breather, I knew we had found the right pose. In what must be first for an Archibald subject, Dylan turned up for the sitting with a huge bottle liquid hydrocarbon and a box of matches. In the car park below the studio, Dylan began blowing great tongues of fire into the sky as the curious workers came out to watch. It was blisteringly hot and the wind was blowing from every direction, yet he pressed on. Pretty soon they had set up a semi circle of chairs to watch the spectacle of a man about to self combust. Later up in the studio, Dylan posed at length, cheeks blown out and eyes goggling, huffing and puffing as I sketched as quickly as possible. While in the end nothing was burned, he was definitely on fire. I salute him.