Mitchell Johnson portrait scores Bald Archy

A caricaturist, illustrator and painter from Newcastle has taken out the 2014 $10,000 Bald Archy Prize for her portrait of cricketer Mitchell Johnson in a Miley Cyrus pose on top of a huge cricket ball.

Batey and Nadin with the winning portrait

Batey and Nadin with the winning portrait

Judi Nadin, who also won the 2010 Bald Archy for her portrait of a nude Bert Newton, won the award for her portrait “Wrecking Balls (Ashes to Ashes)”.

“I’m not really a huge cricket fan, but when the Aussies thrashed the Poms, I jumped on board,” she told the assembled group of art lovers and media at Watson Arts Centre today.

The multi-award-winning caricaturist, who has just finished illustrating a children’s book by Casey Chambers, said she was somewhat overwhelmed by the $10,000 and wouldn’t mind making a trip to New York but would probably use it to buy a few personal things and pay off a bit of the mortgage.

According to the founder of the satrical  Bald Archy Prize, Peter Batey, the 21-year-old award started off as a one-off joke for the Coolac Festival of Fun, but had, become “as they say about cooks, internationally renowned,” with even The Washington Post taking an interest from time to time, depending on the subject.

He praised the quality of this year’s entries, saying he had received about  double the number of paintings selected to hang on the walls.

Uniquely, the judge of the award is 32-year-old sulphur crested cockatoo Maude of Coolac, whom he predicted would keep coming back, “just like the Phantom.”

As a self-described “recent octogenarian having a 21-year-old baby,” Batey admitted that his main reason he kept going with the award the award was simple—“I’m having fun.”

As the bubbly flowed, Nadin had her own special toast for the prize: “Long live Miss Maude and Australian cricket!”

The 2014 Bald Archy Prize exhibition, at Watson Arts Centre, Aspinall St Watson, from today, January 31 to March 2, Watson Arts Centre. Entry $4.

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