Bill Leak (1956–2017) was a portraitist, illustrator, raconteur and one of Australia’s greatest ever cartoonists, winning nine Walkley and twenty Stanley awards, and making the finals of the Archibald Prize for Portraiture twelve times. He spent the majority of his career at The Australian, where he was a daily irritant to five federal governments, seven prime ministers and countless other political and social luminaries. His cartoon caricatures alone were works of art, but combined with his ruthless front-bar humour they became as funny to his loyal readers as they were devastating to their subjects. Leak’s own life was often chaotic, but throughout it he maintained a deep appreciation of beauty, a devotion to truth and a determination to find happiness. His life is a testament to the humour and optimism that still characterise Australian culture.
Click here to visit Bill Leak’s art Gallery
About: Fred Pawle
Fred Pawle has been a journalist for 30 years. He met Bill Leak while working at The Australian in 1994. They began surfing together, along with Leak’s sons Johannes and Jasper, and remained friends after Leak gave up surfing to adopt less salubrious hobbies in the bars and night clubs of Sydney. Pawle went on to work at GQ Australia and edit Limelight, the ABC’s arts magazine. He was nominated for a Walkley award for feature writing in 2008. He lives in Bondi, Sydney, with his two sons and fiancée and still surfs regularly with Johannes on the Central Coast of New South Wales
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