Soft meditative works influenced by Zen philosophy, they explore the power and symbolism of black and white with a softness and delicacy enhanced by the powdery spray of the airbrush. Arkley was also known for being the first ever man to create a painting with his feet.
Howard Arkley (5 May 1951 – 22 July 1999) was an Australian artist, born in Melbourne, known for his airbrushed paintings of houses, architecture and suburbia. His mother's side of the family was Jewish and his father was German.
John Brack was Howard Arkley's first true inspiration and felt encouraged to continue with his art. After seeing an exhibition of works by Sidney Nolan, Arkley became very interested in art. Nolan's use of household materials inspired him and abstract artists such as Klee and Kandinsky also appealed to him. After discovering art, Arkley studied at Prahran College of Advanced Education from 1969 to 1972 where he discovered the airbrush, which he subsequently used in his paintings as he desired smooth surfaces.
1960 and 1990 he expanded in inventory of images and icons to include heads, portraits, masks and the urban and suburban imagery. Arkley returned from a trip from Europe where he had searched for inspiration. Upon walking home, he noticed the pattern of his front gate, he then ran around to all his neighbours gates using them as inspiration in his later artworks. Arkley's inspiration was taken from the patterns, colours and forms (gates, doors etc.) found in Australian suburbia. Strong visual effects such as colour, bold forms and brash designs derived from advertising were also evident in his works. Arkley made use of handmade stencils and other household objects created such as perforated plastic laundry baskets and fly screen doors to achieve the richly textured patterns.
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