Sometimes a hunch just works out perfectly.
When Nick Mitzevich noticed the blue paint used by Jackson Pollock in his iconic Blue Poles was exactly the same as the colour of King Gee workwear, it was only a few steps towards proving it.
The result, a navy boilersuit spattered with paint to emulate the great work, blended right in to the great work; Mitzevich - the current director of the institution that famously holds the work in its collection - took joy in donning the suit and standing in front of it.
"It's had the most Instagram likes so far," he said, tilting his phone to show a snapshot of himself merging into the Poles, grinning cheerfully.
It was par for the course for this arts enthusiast; he may have one of the country's top arts jobs, at the helm of the national art collection, but he's not averse to hamming it up.
And his puppyish enthusiasm is easily justified; it was another such hunch that led him to accept the job he'd already turned down several times in the past.
"When [deputy chairman of the gallery board] Tim Fairfax called me to convince me to take the job, I told him that I wasn't ready," he says.
"I said to him that I wasn't ready, and he said to me that the National Gallery offered the most ambitious and the largest canvas in Australia, and now was my time.
"I couldn't get that out of my head."
He's now 18 months into the job, and his commitment, he says, has been unwavering from the get-go. He arrived with a five-year contract, a 10-year vision, and plans to play the long game.
And, as he has done in each of his three previous directing jobs - at the Art Gallery of South Australia, the University of Queensland Art Museum, and the Newcastle Region Art Gallery - he bought a house within months of moving here - a show-stopping modernist home in Campbell built in the early 1960s by Shine Dome architect Roy Grounds - and set about laying down roots.
"It feels like the right place and the right time. I've always wanted to work here, my whole career, and I never thought I was ready," he says.
"It wasn't that I didn't think I was good enough for the job. I just looked at the job as being so important that I wanted to give it my best shot.
"I wanted to be able to come here and do the best I could, because art gave me the confidence in my life when I was young, and being creative gave me a focus. I want that for other people."
Mitzevich walks in the footsteps of five previous directors, all of whom have left different marks on the place, and he says sitting on their shoulders and considering their legacies forms part of his everyday work.
"I don't feel in awe or threatened by them, I just see what their strengths are and want to build on what the next logical step is," he says.
He remembers meeting the late Betty Churcher, the gallery's second director from 1990 to 1997 at the launch of one of her books in 2014. She informed him, in no uncertain terms, that he would one day walk in her footsteps.
But it's the founding director, James Mollison, whose words have rung the most constantly in his head since he began the job.
"James Mollison said to me that there are three principles when you make an acquisition for the national collection," he says.
"Is it a moment of absolute resolution in the artist's practice, is it a moment of breakthrough, or is it a moment of innovation? Sometimes it can be all three. Sometimes it's not.
"For example, Blue Poles is all of those three. A moment of resolution, a moment of breakthrough - where it opens the door to something new - and a moment of innovation."
With this as a guiding force, Mitzevich has dialled down the quantity of works coming into the collection, in favour of fewer, higher quality acquisitions.
"I use those three principles every day," he says.
As it would happen, Mollison died just a few days after this interview, at the age of 88. Mitzevich would have cause to repeat this mantra many times in the ensuing week to journalists keen to understand Mollison's legacy in founding the country's national collection.
"When I step into the gallery tomorrow, I will feel his absence," Mitzevich wrote in a post on Instagram.
"But his courage and pioneering spirit is what I hope to carry into the future."
In the meantime, though, Mitzevich has plenty more on his own plate. The current summer blockbuster - an arresting examination of the rivalry between Matisse and Picasso, involving dozens of works from dozens of overseas lenders - was hauling in record crowds before the horror fire season set in, filling Canberra's streets with smoke, and causing the gallery to close its doors for two days.
The crowds are building again, and Mitzevich has been fascinated by how often he hears of visitors who have flown in to see just one thing in the collection - Blue Poles, the Brancusi Birds - and how connected people seem to feel to them.
And who would have thought that one of the gallery's most recent acquisitions - a four-metre-high melting wax candle sculpture by Urs Fischer, named Francesco 2017 - would prove its most popular to date? Mitzevich gets a kick out of recording the man's progress as he morphs and melts each day, posting images on Instagram of arms falling off, and visitors watching, fascinated.
The building itself will soon undergo major repairs to its ageing infrastructure - a process that looks set to take years.
But Mitzevich is giving himself years to get it done.
"I've done something here that I haven't done anywhere else in my other three directorships - I've really paced myself," he says.
"In my other three jobs over the last 25 years, I've always felt like I was in a hurry, but this gallery needs a bit of stability.
"We've had three directors in the last five years, so I need to really pace myself and think of the long game, so I haven't felt the pressure of frenetic change, and just slow, incremental, building the base, building the capacity of the gallery, fixing the building infrastructure, doing a lot of things that you can't see.
"And I haven't had anxiety about that. I've actually felt very calm, because I know it's what the gallery needs right now, and I'm playing the long game."
As his life has grown ever more frenetic - Mitzevich is committed to engaging the outside world with the life of the gallery, and travels constantly - his own sense of discipline has come to the fore. He grew up in the NSW Hunter Valley and his parents were farmers; in a weird way, he says, he is using the lessons he learned as a child in his life at the gallery.
"Discipline and having a regime or a schedule is really important to me," he says.
"[My parents] taught me all about farming, and it's not wasted because it's the discipline of farming that I use every day."
He doesn't drink coffee or alcohol - "too hard," he says - but gets up at dawn, exercises, works in his garden and eats two breakfasts - the same routine he's maintained for years.
"I fell into this groove when my professional life became more intense," he says.
"I had to have this structure to be able to manage it, and then I come to work and so on and things flow.
"I keep it simple, and physical activity and being connected to the outside are the two things that keep me energised."
He's certainly in the right place for that, and he says he's never felt so at home as he does in Canberra.
"I see that Canberra is not trapped by the past, it's not fixed on nostalgia," he says.
"People from outside describe Canberra as a political town or an old person's town, but when you actually live here, it's neither of those things, it's a young, vibrant town that's slightly anxious to progress, and I like that.
"I'd describe myself as being socially progressive, and sometimes I leave that in my personal life.
"With what I do in my professional life, at times, I have to moderate that, because you have to be everything to everyone. The job of the director of the National Gallery is to appeal to a very broad base. But living in this city is very exciting because it is a socially progressive city, and I feel really comfortable in that."
He says in many ways the gallery is a perfect medium, with a duty to appeal to as many people as possible.
"I suppose what I don't want to do is isolate the audience at all, and sometimes socially progressive ideas do challenge the community, and there's lots of different forums for that, and I really want to moderate what the gallery's aims are," he says.
"The National Gallery is the middle ground, and I love that! It's about capturing the best of what we produce in Australia, and bringing selectively the best of the world to here, and we don't have to be completely edgy, nor do we have to be completely traditional.
"We're a young institution, we're a millennial, we're only 37 years old, and I love the fact that the gallery's not shackled by the past, either."
He says when Tim Fairfax lured him in with the promise of the largest canvas in Australia, what he meant was that Mitzevich would have the chance to do his best work.
"He was right - the National Gallery and its scope, its collections, its ambitions and its mandate to advance art and culture beyond Canberra, is unique," he says.
"I'm learning every day how right he was, even more, and some of the things that I'm putting into place over the next 10 years will hopefully maximise that.
"I'm about to turn 50 ... and I actually like getting old because I'm calmer, I enjoy life more, I have more confidence, and I feel like I'm in the right place."