A well made Man - heroic views of the colonial male

While  travelling  in the USA  in July and Augu
st 2017 I have begin a new series that is a tribute to Walt Whitman

But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face, 
It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists, 
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees, dress does not hide him, 
The strong sweet quality he has strikes through the cotton and broadcloth, 
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more, 
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side. 

from the Body Electric poem 

My first shoot was in a barn in Pennsylvania  with local worker Ray.


I then approached a guy Nate living in Brooklyn -we ended up shooting in his  apartment (Walt Whitman lived in Brooklyn and wrote about it in his poetry

as part of this process I am looking at more gritty less perfected idealism about the male figure. I am  enjoying the real grounding hairy

-ness of this model

Iwill be back in the USA in July 2018 Contact me on if you want to model for this series.
Also looking for a curator with  a background in Colonial or New World gender studies

Be with people who find you attractive

As an "ageing homosexual" recently turned 60 I find myself  becoming more and more invisible in the youth obsessed English speaking cultures I know. There have been a number of recent scarring events when some of my close gay friends ignored me in the pursuit of the younger and prettier.

Thankfully this is not the same in Latin and Asian countries or even in Europe generally.
This picture was taken by a 21 old female artist friend Morgan on a jaunt to Vicenza last summer.  

I couldn't contrast this more highly with the warm welcome I have received in recent catch ups with my school and university friends, all of them straight.

I am going to move towards kindness as the Sufi poet Rumi recommends and I will find people who find me attractive to be with, whatever their age, gender or orientation. 


The New Testament is a Suicide Note

One of the secondary students I taught yesterday had a look at my studio and asked- "are you religious?  " and then last night I had a dream.
I am looking at an old church,  I am outside and opposite is a door I am looking at.  I can see some type of electronic eye between the door and the door frame. Someone tells me that if I  go in, I will set off an explosive device and I might be killed or wounded. .

 I am not sure what to do,  I am happy to observe from the outside and I don't put pressure on myself to go in ..  in a moment of clarity I feel I know what is inside the church - there are suicide notes in there

Today reflecting  on the dream I  realise the New Testament is one long suicide note. I have many friends who are gay and committed Catholics and its difficult to admit I am not one of them

 It is a gruesome story about a father who conceives a son only to have him killed in the prime of his life . It is a horror story where everyone the Son  loves and he himself is complicit in a bizarre plot to have him killed. 

There is a deep belief in out society that young men should be sacrificed for the good of the tribe, race, religion or nation 

Three years ago I travelled through Morocco with a lovely couple -she was Irish he was Australian . Their only son had been killed serving in the Australian Army in Afghanistan - overcome by the sheer depth of their grief I could not offer any words of consolation.

I see how readily politicians offer up our sons -and now our daughters- to fight in overseas wars thousands of miles from our borders . Why do we allow them to do it ? Patriarchal myths from Christianity to ANZAC make us think its right and proper. As a father of two sons I know its obscene. Religions and artists who work for them glorify the shameful willingness of the patriarchy to sacrifice its own sons  

Sketches of Venice

I am back now about 4 weeks and evaluating the incredible impact Venice has had on me and my art making. Part of this process is to make an online record of the work I made

The Page of this bog called  Scarlatta shows how I am making photo-montage arising from my Venetian experience.

Scuola Internazionale di Grafica, Venezia really encouraged me to get my hands dirty making art they had the most amazing collection of paper and materials that really inspired me  Check them  out at

I also sketched most days, often in the company of my friend Morgan and on one memorable morning with Morgan and Maite at San Giorgio Abbey and island at the mouth of the Grand Canal

Many of the sketches have become damaged/altered in the process of completing other works in the sketchbook and as a result of subsequent travels, so I have begun  to scan them and put them on line

My trip to Venice was entirely self funded and I would like to recoup some costs by selling limited editions of the best of these works- I would really appreciate your advice as to your favourite

Here is the first crop
Canal scene near San Maurizio 

Santa Lucia corpus church from Grand Canal 

Olympic theatre stage Vicenza 

Basilllica Padova 

Pilgrim Chapel Madonna della' orto 

San Simeon  Venice 

Interior Santa Lucia corpus 

Apartment opposite Rialto fish market 

and more including one from Genova and two from Budapest 
journal cover Santa Maria della Salute dome 

Maria della Salute from San Giorgio  

Cathedral door Genova 

View of San Giorgio from biennal gardens 

cathedral bell tower Budapest 

Church f the holy hand Budapest 

The great congregation meets daily, and you are someone's angel today

My curator has suggested I explore Angels as they are an import part of art history especially of the counter reformation and then of the french catholic symbolist painters and pre-Vatican II folk piety

In my childhood we were told we each had a guardian angel, mine lived in a picture in my Aunt Peg's house that I used to love to visit

I told Domi the subject was so cliched that I wouldn't bother exploring it but a few things have happened to change my mind

I came across this quote by  Tennessee Williams

Everything that is tearing us down today will become a memory, and that memory will be shared as an anecdote or a story or a poem or a play or a warning . It will be shared with another human being , who will then understand that he is not alone in his sadness 

This is why we show up for others and tell our tales and listen to others. The great congregation meets daily, and you are someone's angel today 

I found a redundant angel in the Abbey San Giorgio on an island at the entrance to the grand canal in Venice - he seemed so sad in a grungy sort of way. He is made of wood patched with bronze sheets you can see this more clearly from the back view.

I think he has been removed form active service on top of the abbey where he guarded the grand canal for many, perhaps hundreds,  of years  

he is part zombie in his impassiveness and magnificent decay - he inspired my first monotype

and I hope to include him in some ways in my upcoming Scarlattta exhibition

Correr museum Venice 

I am really interested to know why angels, well at least the good ones are pale, either feminised transgender or sexless while Lucifer is often naked muscly butch  red and attractive ! We humans clearly project a lot on to them

A fond farewell to Venice after one month at
Scuola Internazionale di Grafica, Venezia

Here is a picture where I handover a piece I created in Venice for the Scuola's Collection 
Eureka (Michae lO'Hanlon )Julia Kennedy-Bell, Roberta Feoli Rupi

and a close up of the donated image which will feature in my upcoming Midsumma show Scarletto at the Abbotsford Convent Melbourne. 

more images and text to come a I  digest the profound impact that living in Venice with other artists has had on my life and practice 

Old age and grunge beauty

I finally saw Bronzino’s portrait of Admiral Andrea Doria as Neptune at the Pinatoceca Brera  in Milan today – an inspiration for several works especially those of my favourite older model Ben taken in the Oratory at the Abbotsford Convent.

The subject of the Portrait has a portly stomach but is not afraid to pose semi naked with pubic hair and some penis length implied.  Apparently the subject was almost 60 when he posed for the picture -even given a painter’s license he is a handsome man.
How can I assert my handsomeness when I have an expanding belly as well?
Women, though judged more harshly on their appearance have, or at least use a greater armoury in presenting themselves. An older woman of indeterminate age sits opposite me wearing a cornflower blue dress comprising some netting over a similar coloured base. There is a black bra strap showing underneath the girlish cut of the dress. Her skin, though wrinkled, is beautifully tanned and she has simple jewellery- a very large amber ring, a blue mosaiced bangle,and gold dragonfly earrings that perfectly capture the essence of a mid-summer’s day.
Her hair is dyed blonde but there is also grey and black colour coming through …she is reading a book held with blue painted fingernails that match her dress . She orders from the menu in fluent Italian although it is not her first language .. the total effect of her presented self is confident and pleasing

Maybe I can use my own appreciation of the grunge aesthetic to honour and acknowledge my own ageing. I have to feel OK about myself now .. not when, if ever I lose this weight because there will be other cruel tricks that nature will play as she ages us all. I have decided to celebrate my remaining assets including my art making skills, my education, my own beautiful children and the volume and colour of my hair 


saw these wonderful paintings in Musee Correr Venice today all the more beautiful because of their