Tucked away down an innocuous little alley in Surry Hills lies the former studio of esteemed Aussie artist Brett Whiteley. The unassuming doorway leads you in to a wondeful space with each wall adorned with some of Whiteley's finest work.
The ground floor is dedicated to his paintings including the wonderful 'Alchemy' which spans around two walls and perhaps his most famous painting, 'The balcony 2'. Whiteley's two main loves are clear for all to see in his work, with the room almost being divided between his sensual paintings of the female form depicting his wife and the many works capturing the harbour area of Sydney. It is rare to see a collection of paintings from one artist which incorporates such a range of styles, yet that is the mark of Whiteley and the longevity of his work with his career spanning many decades up until his untimely death in 1992.
Alchemy by Brett Whiteley
The feature that truly sets this studio apart from other exhibitions is the upper floor, which is where Whiteley worked and unwound. This area gives a huge insight into the mind of the artist and into his life. At his desk there are transcripts of interviews with the artist along with a telephone that plays audio coverage of an interview with Brett Whiteley.
Adorning the walls are many photographs of Brett and other celebrities including Billy Connolly and Bob Dylan. One wall is etched in graffiti with many quotes, some humorous, some inspiring. Among other intimate sights are his book collection which includes the Kama Sutra, further emphasizing his sensual side, and his music collection. Each of these little details results in an insight that one normally doesn't get to see with world-renowned artists and this reason alone makes this studio well worth the visit.
If that wasn't enough for you then the most insightful part of the upper floor is Whiteley's working space, with his seat still remaining, facing a sadly unfinished work of his. This perfectly captures a creative man who was still in his artistic flow before he sadly passed away.