BRETT MOFFATT HAS EXEMPLIFIED EXCELLENCEIN THE VISUAL ARTS FOR OVER TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AS AN ARTIST AND EDUCATOR. HE IS AN ADVOCATE FOR SELF-EXPRESSION THROUGH FIGURATIVE ART AND BELIEVES IN ART’S POTENTIAL TO ENGAGE AND TOUCH AN AUDIENCE’S HIGHEST SENSITIVITIES AND INTELLECT. HE HAS RECEIVED RECOGNITION WITH MULTIPLE NATIONAL AWARDS FOR PAINTING, PHOTOGRAPHY AND DRAWING. HIS ACHIEVEMENTS ENCOMPASS PORTRAITURE, MURALS, AND MINIATURES.
My practice is about intimacy. I work directly with female subjects in live sessions and photoshoots to achieve a sensitivity of intimacy and self-reflection in the works produced. The process is one of engagement with integrity. The resulting artworks are my authentic response to feelings and memories distilled from these experiences. The paintings, photographs, and drawings I create portray women in repose, self-contained, and introspective.
Intimacy is a life-enhancing quality that our culture needs to cultivate and preserve. But it’s trivialised and debased by mainstream popular media, commercialism, and pornography. The corruption of intimacy undermines our ability to form enriching, meaningful relationships. The degradation to the value of intimacy, and resulting personal rights, is reflected in the prevalence of narcissistic and misogynistic attitudes, sexual harassment, and abuses of power against women.
Through artworks dedicated to intimacy, I wish to express its inherent power to move and connect us and shape the attitudes and actions that lead to respect and equality.
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrancesWilliam Shakespeare, As You Like It
I was born and grew up in the rural community of the Fassifern Valley in southeast Queensland. I enjoyed an idyllic country childhood, however, had little exposure to culture growing up where I did.
I loved drawing and was encouraged by my parents and siblings to pursue drawing. My siblings were also artistic, and I was drawing regularly at an early age. My parents tell a story where my father would pick me up as a toddler, and I would reach for the pens in his top pocket and want to scribble on anything I could get my hands on.
As a child, I was inclined to observe. I observed people, nature, anything really. I was naturally curious and transcribed my experiences through drawing and journaling. I also had a passionate interest in the arts, in all forms, from various genres of music to movies and theatre. However, I was most drawn to the ’20s and ’30s jazz age, to the golden age of Hollywood, Film Noir, and the Femme Fatale.
After high school, I studied painting for a bachelor’s in fine arts degree at Griffith University, then based at the old Seven Hills College, based at Morningside, Brisbane. I also studied make-up and special effects artistry at night and freelance between classes, at night, and on weekends. I enjoyed working as a make-up artist backstage or onset. It was glamorous and I got to work with companies of talented people. Consequently, the trust I developed with models, actresses, and dancers, provided me with the opportunity to photograph, paint and draw them. Artistic influences such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas, Tamara de Lempicka, and Edward Hopper, reinforced the exciting, glamorous, and hedonistic world of bohemian life and its romantic ideals.
My experiences in the entertainment industry were filtered through my artist’s lens of observation and journaling. As a make-up artist, I was often a friend and confidante, privy of the performers’ private lives. And, from experience in the theatre, I was compelled by the exhibitionism of performance on stage compared to the inner personal lives of the performers off-stage. And it was those intimate relationships and observations that became the content and subject matter for my art practice.
At a fairly early age, I’d established that intimacy was important to forming meaningful relationships. It was important for understanding people. It was essential for telling stories and conveying insights about people. In my art, this transpired in portraits and works dedicated to intimacy.