"The Big Picture"

  The Worlds Largest Canvas Painting by One Artist

It's not often you can walk into a painting  but visit Broken Hill in the Outback of Australia and you can do just that , its Ando’s “Big Picture” the “world’s largest acrylic painting by one artist” , it's housed in its own building and is a major tourist attraction for the area , listed in “Australian Travellers” Top 100 things to see when visiting Australia .It has been referred to as a Masterpiece and a National Treasure.

Ando has a degree in Engineering and a love of building things, for 5 years he researched, planned  and designed how to construct and paint this seemingly seamless canvas painting with its unique walkin through the side entry-viewing platform. Ando also visited Europe to get inspiration from some of the world's most beautiful panorama paintings created by teams of artists over a hundred years ago, they were the cinema of their time . Still determined to put his own spin on the art form, he describes his work as an ‘Andorama’. The Big Picture is famous worldwide not only for its sheer size, but also for its Australian charm and familiarity.. The Big Picture is no ordinary painting, measuring 100 metres in circumference by 12 metres at its highest point, it is the World's Largest acrylic painting on canvas painted by a single artist. Ando's unique style of 'super realism' brings the outback to life. As visitors enter through the side of the artwork, they are often unbalanced by the experience of 'walking into a painting' while having the impression of being in the actual outback. From the viewing platform to the actual picture, 300 tonnes of red dirt has been laid and landscaped to match the painting, the viewer can't tell where the 3D finishes and the 2D starts. It’s a vast, sprawling artwork that recreates the landmarks of Broken Hill and surrounds. All in one sweeping frame, you can see the Flinders Ranges, down through Umberumberka, past Lake Frome and beyond Mount Robe. You can spot Silverton, The Breakaways, Thackaringa, Arkaroola and the Menindee Lakes. It’s a one-stop painted tour of the plains, crags and slopes of this stunning outback region.

“The Big Picture” was the first painting Ando did that was so much bigger than himself and at first, so all that white canvas was intimidating . But once he started, he became part of the painting, working long days for several years to achieve his dream , catching a few hours each night sleeping on the viewing platform. It was an obsession. An obsession he loved doing , it was so exciting to slowly see his dream come to life and so much fun and excitement . Jaws drop and people stand speechless in front of the World’s largest acrylic painting, the “Big Picture”. It’s difficult here to do it justice, especially when you realise it was only one man, one brush stroke at a time, who completed the colossal 12m x 100m canvas. Ando has never had an art lesson in his life. His style is typically referred to as “Andorealism”, as he blends perception, reflection, depth, shadow and light to depict a “super realistic” art form so true to life you’ll be tempted to step into his landscapes. The Big Picture is best described as bringing the outback to life, with real red dirt and plants forming and sculpting the foreground – an effect that seduces the eye. The painting features lightning strikes, dust storms at a rough estimate, Ando has painted 100,000 salt bush plants, 20,000 trees, 20,000 small stones, 1,000 large stones, 3,000 clouds, 1,500 hills and 12 sculptures.  100,000 salt bushes, 3000 clouds, 20,000 trees, 20,000 stones and more. Ando painted parts lying on his back 12m up a scaffold , used tonnes of paint brooms for brushes and took five years to conceptualise, plan and eventually unveil the Big Picture in 2001. The painting is a work in progress, a masterpiece, which Ando will continue to add to throughout his life .The masterpiece stretches across several canvases, joined together seamlessly to make one very big picture that Ando and his partner Chrissie say took millions of brushstrokes to create.

Photos of Ando mid-brushstroke, up a ladder, make him look like a tiny artist beside an ordinary-sized painting. Brush in hand and paint by his side, there were times when he had to lay on his back on scaffolding to reach some of the furthest parts of the canvas. It would be a logistical nightmare for most, but it has been a cherished challenge for Ando.    When he started, Ando was 35 years old, and sweeping his paintbrush for the first time onto that big blank canvas was the beginning of a lifelong project, because many years later, he was still going. Ando is relentlessly ambitious and although he’s done many other stunning paintings and sculptures since, he’s vowed to add to it.

The Big Picture for the rest of his life. More than anything, he wants people to feel part of his artwork, as he does.“It’s deeply emotional to know that hundreds of thousands of people have seen my Big Picture and have been moved by my work. That happens for most artists after they’ve died but I’m so grateful I get to experience that in my own lifetime.” There are mounds of real red and orange dirt, sprigs, twigs and trees in the foreground of the painting to create the illusion of it being 3D. From the viewing platform, which is like a wooden gazebo and surrounding verandah, you can’t tell where The Big Picture ends and the ground begins.It’s an art experience unlike any other, and it’s fascinating. So is the man who can lay claim to a million brushstrokes in one painting. You have to see it to believe it – and even then it’s astounding in its first year over 30,000 people visited it and has been going strong for 20 years as the region's number one tourist attraction.

Entrance to "The Big Picture".


Left side of "The Big Picture" from Viewing Deck.


"The Big Picture" Dingo.


Ando painting dingo in "The Big Picture".


Ando painting sky in "The Big Picture".   


Left side of "The Big Picture" from Viewing Deck.


Left side of "The Big Picture".