Brett Moffatt (b. 1973) is a multi-disciplinary Australian artist.
Brett Moffatt graduated from Queensland College of Art with a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 1992 and from Monash University a Masters Degree in Visual Arts in 2006. He also possesses Diplomas in Cosmetology, Special Effects and Theatrical make up, as well as having earned a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Visual Arts Teaching from the Queensland University of Technology in 2012.
In 2017 his portrait of world champion swimmer Cate Campbell OAM was a semi-finalist in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. In 2015/16 he was selected for a mentorship with Nick Knight as part of Fashion Photography: Mastered. He has been awarded nine prizes including in 2004, an Ian Potter Cultural Trust Scholarship to travel and study art in Florence, Italy; and was a finalist for the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship in 2003. Moffatt has had 7 solo exhibitions and has been included in over 20 group curated and commercial exhibitions including the New York International Art Expo in 2003.
Moffatt has completed works for some of Australia’s highest profile clients and designers including – Alan Jones, John Singleton, Maggie Eckardt, Sir Timothy & Lady Beverley Ward and many others. He has painted the portraits of – HRH Princesses Natalia & Irina Guicciardini Strozzi, Alan Jones, Sir Donald Bradman, Greg Norman, Shane Warne, David Beckham, John Wolseley, Rick Amor, Euan Macleod, Nicholas Harding, Anwen Keeling, Natalie Gruzlewski, Erin McNaught and most recently, world champion swimmer Cate Campbell.
His work hangs in corporate, public and private collections throughout the world. He has also been commissioned to work alongside designers to create film & stage sets, theme park settings, ad campaigns, press photography, and brands. Past collaborators and clients include – Foxtel, Warner Brothers, SBS & ABC Television, Australian Film Television and Radio School, Polytech, ArtNow Studios and The Australian Yoga Journal.
I work within the themes of vanity, female exhibitionism and male voyeurism. Working with models and actresses in theatre and make-up has provided me intriguing subjects of glamour, the need for admiration, desire for self-preservation, fragility and eros. I have also photographed and painted many artists of all disciplines in their studios.
My work concentrates on various feminine themes of beauty, fragility and voyeurism. I have always been more intrigued by feminine beauty over other kinds of beauty such as landscapes or nature. I would describe my style as hauntingly beautiful, or even hauntingly romantic. Not in a garish, macabre way, but rather in the mysterious way we perceive our experiences via the movement of time, and how this can be captured without artistic gimmicks or clichés.
I went to an all-boys high school and was tempted to study acting at university. In my senior year I played Captain Queeg, a role made famous by Humphrey Bogart in the 1954 film adaption of The Caine Mutiny, in a school production. This received enthusiastic approval and encouraged me to consider pursuing an acting career.
Art and photography was always my passion however, so I chose to study Visual Arts. But my keen interest in feminine beauty and theatre didn’t abate, so during my bachelor degree of Visual Arts I studied cosmetology, theatrical and special effects make-up at night. During my degree and thereafter, I would go on to work as a make-up artist for Warner Brother’s Studios, for magazines, theatre and musical productions. After several intense years of working as a make-up artist and teacher I decided to reduce this workload to dedicate more time to painting, photography and drawing.
My personal practice addresses themes of vanity, female exhibitionism and male voyeurism. One critic once described my work as being about guilty pleasures. Themes of beauty and eroticism are tired tropes in culture and contemporary art, but I’m always inspired by how these cultural constructs are metamorphosized by subsequent generations of culture and its audiences. Like the seasons, our relationship to the human figure endures with the capacity to recycle and renew afresh with interpretations, and is therefore continually relevant in our lives.
My experience of the theatre, both front of stage and backstage reminds me of the theatricality of life. Exhibitionism, modelling, acting and voyeurism are all activities that involve the theatre of watching. This sense of watching life, as though watching it unfold on stage, reminds me of Shakespeare’s immortal words from As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts” – (Quote Act II, Scene VII). There’s a profundity that resonates with me in this passage – that life is an intangible enigma and the very transience of life is but an infinite web of roles and parts. The more intangible or enigmatic ‘parts’ as Shakespeare refers, are what inspires me to produce works of art.
Most of my life has been spent working as an artist and creative. I’ve always insisted on making art to be beautiful. I have received a BA and MVA in Visual Arts, and Diplomas in Cosmetology, Theatrical and Special Effects make-up. I have also received a Graduate Diploma of Secondary Education. During my vocation as a artist/photographer I have also worked in various roles as a make-up artist, educator, designer and creative director. For more details please contact me.