For over twenty-five years, Brett Moffatt has exemplified excellence in the visual arts, as both an accomplished artist and dedicated educator. He is a passionate exponent of figurative art, believing in its power to engage and deeply resonate with an audience’s sensibilities and intellect. HE HAS WON multiple national awards in painting, photography, and drawing, encompassing a diverse range from portraiture to murals and miniatures.
As an urban romanticist, he finds inspiration in the cityscape, capturing its energy, mystery, and human narrative through masterful play of light and shadow. Brett invites viewers to explore the complexities of city life, transcending the surface to reveal the interplay between public façades and private yearnings, and in doing so, continues to carry the torch of artistic TRADITION.
ARTIST STATEMENT: EXPLORING URBAN ROMANTICISM THROUGH CINEMATIC REALISM
In my artistic journey, I am drawn to the intoxicating allure of urban landscapes, where the metropolis reveals itself as a tapestry of enigma, enchantment, and the raw expressions of human intimacy and desire. My work explores urban romanticism, a celebration of the city’s multifaceted identity, and examines the complex, often contradictory, human experiences it encompasses.
Inspired by the cinematic aesthetics of film noir, I am a figurative realist artist working in oil painting, watercolour, photography, drawing, and filmmaking. Through these mediums, I weave together a vivid narrative, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in a world where mystery, moral ambiguity, psychological tension, alienation, and the human heart’s primal longings intersect.
Cinematic framing and lighting techniques drawn from the atmospheric world of film noir serve as inspiration. The mise-en-scène I create is marked by the interplay of deep shadows, stark contrasts, and a commitment to unveiling the raw emotions of the urban environment. Unique perspectives, often voyeuristic, offer glimpses into the intimate lives of city dwellers, revealing their most profound desires and vulnerabilities.
Within the city’s heartbeat, I uncover moments of connection that resonate with the universal yearning for love, companionship, and understanding. Amidst the towering skyscrapers, bustling streets, and dimly lit corners, the city becomes a stage for exploring chance encounters, clandestine liaisons, and the pursuit of unbridled dreams. Yet, I acknowledge the moral ambiguities that occur in the city’s shadows, where virtue and vice entwine and the boundaries between right and wrong blur. Within this tension, we confront the interplay of human desires, the pursuit of happiness, loneliness, misfortune and urban life’s moral complexities.
Through my art, I invite you to journey with me through the cityscape – a space where film noir aesthetics merge with the poetic reverie of urban romanticism. Together, let us explore the mysteries, morality, and human intimacies that define the urban experience.
Join me in exploring the city as a canvas of desire, where the heart’s longings are laid bare against the backdrop of a metropolis that thrives with life. Urban romanticism, as I envision it, is a testament to our unyielding quest for intimacy and connection in a world where the boundaries between reality and fantasy are ever-shifting.
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 drew 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, and anything. 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. I was most drawn to and still revere the ’20s and ’30s jazz age, Années folles, the golden age of Hollywood, Film Noir, and the Great American Songbook.
After high school, I studied painting for a bachelor’s in fine arts degree at Griffith University, then at the old Seven Hills College, 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 fun, exciting and creative, and I got to work with companies of talented people.
Consequently, the trust I developed with models, actresses, and dancers allowed me to photograph, paint and draw them.
The theatre, with its dramatic storytelling, intricate mise-en-scène, and the interplay of light and shadow, became the crucible in which my fascination for the urban landscape was kindled. It was here that I learned to appreciate the subtle nuances of human expression, the complexities of desire, and the profound moments of connection that mirror the essence of the city itself.
Working behind the scenes, I witnessed the magic of the stage, where actors and artists alike breathed life into stories that resonated deeply with the human experience. However, the exhibitionism of the stage, with its grandeur and the artifice of personas, stood in stark contrast to the vulnerability, fragility, and authenticity of the performers’ inner lives.
The theatre compelled me to delve further into the heart of urban romanticism, where mystery, moral ambiguity, and psychological tension converge. As I transitioned from the world of entertainment to that of the visual arts, I carried with me a deep curiosity and desire to explore the delicate interplay between outer appearances and the hidden depths of human existence. My art seeks to peel back the layers of veneer that we present to the world, inviting viewers to contemplate the complexities and contradictions that reside within each of us.
Artistic influences such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas, Tamara de Lempicka, Martin Lewis and Edward Hopper, reinforced the dramatic and often hedonistic world of bohemian city life and its romantic ideals. For the last 30+ years, it’s been a privilege to continue this artistic journey, dedicating my work to a new era of urban exploration and urban romanticism as a living, evolving tradition and building upon these artists’ legacy while exploring the urban experience’s contemporary complexities.
My artistic practice is an exploration of the duality of the human experience—the performative aspects that we project to the world and the profound, often fragile emotions that we keep hidden within. It is a testament to the power of art to shed light on the intricacies of our shared existence, where mystery, desire, and moral ambiguity converge.
I am driven by an unyielding dedication to continue exploring these ideas, to delve deeper into the contrast between what is seen and what is felt, and to invite viewers to join me on this journey of introspection and revelation. The exhibitionism of the stage may dazzle, but it is the authenticity of the inner life that truly intrigues and excites me as an artist.
As I navigate the urban landscape and the intimate moments it unveils, I am guided by the belief that art has the power to bridge the gap between the external and the internal, offering a window into the profound depths of the human spirit.