Life as artist after near death Neil Walker firstname.lastname@example.org A BRUSH with death made artist David Oakley reassess his life and pursue a passion for art that is on display in Frankston this month. The Chelsea Heights resident’s Exhibition ’15’ marks 15 years since Oakley was almost killed when he was attacked by a knife and hammer wielding robber in a shop in Hoddle St, Abbotsford in 2002. The then 33-year-old was “not expected to live” after suffering several hammer blows to the head during the armed robbery. It took more than five years of speech therapy to relearn to speak and to this day Oakley feels no sensation down the right-hand side of his body. He lost about 16 per cent of his brain and part of his skull after surgery and was in an induced coma for weeks in The Alfred hospital after the violent attack. One of the artworks in the exhibition is based on an X-ray of his brain taken in 2003 that illustrates the damage done by hammer blows. The former website designer said he had “a five-year plan” at the time of the attack but after his near death experience he decided he had to pursue his artistic dreams. “Before I was a workaholic and I thought ‘I’m going to do something one day’ but after I decided my art and interest in animals are what I want to focus on so I’m going to do that now.” Oakley draws portraits of animals and accepts private commissions to portray family pets.
Courage on display: Artist David Oakley suffered brain damage 15 years ago during a violent robbery. Picture: Gary Sissons
He takes photographs for reference purposes and draws animals using a computer pressure pad. “I tried to paint but depth perception is a problem so I was either too light or heavy on canvas.” Oakley’s work is being exhibited at Kindred Art Space, a warehouse conversion that displays art with a difference. Gallery founder and art therapist Kerryn “Kez” Knight said Kindred Art Space has been open for just over a year. “We decided to build a place and fit it out to be really welcoming. There’s an open fire and lots of rooms and a meditation garden out the back.” She said art can help people deal with anxiety, trauma or depression. “It’s not about creating a masterpiece – it’s about the process,” Knight said. “You’re creating from your heart and it’s an outlet to express frustration, trauma or anxiety.”
The gallery’s latest artist to have his work exhibited at Kindred Art Space has managed to look on the bright side of life despite his life-changing traumatic experience 15 years ago. “One man tried to kill me but so many people saved me,” Oakley said. “Usually people with a brain injury lose friends – I’ve actually made more friends than before.” He said “so many amazing people” had helped him on his journey to recovery including doctors, nurses and friends. “Usually people with a brain injury lose friends – I’ve actually made more friends than before.” David Oakley’s 15 Exhibition is on display at Kindred Art Space, 22 Kookaburra St, Frankston until 18 September. Public entry free. See kindredartspace.com.au or call Kerryn Knight on 9770 5670 for details.
Police patrol Cars stolen, torched
TWO Mercedes Benz sedans were stolen from a Gladesville Blvd, Patterson Lakes, property, overnight Sunday 13 August. One – a 2012 model – was later found burnt out in Hampton Park while the other is still missing. Offenders broke into the house while the owners were away and stole keys to the cars before driving them away. The burnt-out car had been spotted at Dandenong Plaza shopping centre bearing stolen plates, Saturday 1 September. It was then hurriedly driven away by a man described as thin, bald and tattooed. This car had its correct plates taped onto the back of the stolen plates when it was found torched. The plates were from Ballarat.
Window smashed THE rear window of a car parked in the driveway of a house in Tonbridge St, Carrum, was smashed overnight, Friday 1 September. The owner thought he heard a noise at 8pm but did not investigate. Next morning he found the 2004 Lexus damaged. The cost of the window is put at $600. Nothing was stolen.
Hunt for men after IED explodes A GROUP of young men who ignited an improvised explosive device at a Carrum Primary School in July is being sought by police. The men walked over to the Walkers Rd school’s basketball court, 10.45pm, Saturday 29 July, and detonated the device which consisted of a shotgun shell and sparklers inside a beer bottle.
No one was injured but there was potential for injury, police said. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.
JEWELLERY was stolen from a house in Bonbeach, Tuesday 29 August. Thieves forced a side window before ransacking the house in Ilma Grove and leaving clothing scattered all over the main bedroom. They stole three gold rings of unknown value and a quantity of coins.
Hall hit again
THE 3rd Carrum Scouts hall has been vandalised or broken into seven times in the past three months, police said. Offenders on the evening of Saturday 2 September extensively damaged the roller door and side sheeting of the hall in Whatley St but do not appear to have gained entry. Anyone with information is asked to call Moorabbin detectives on 9556 6111.
NUMBER plates 1AQ 1IN were stolen from a 2010 Holden Commodore in Chelsea Rd, Chelsea, Friday 25 August.
‘Smashed’ pylon makes its roadside debut A NEW sculpture has been installed near the Skye Rd exit alongside Peninsula Link to replace the large ram’s head Rex Australis. Iconoclast — a mock electricity pylon smashed by what looks like a meteor — was put in place last week after Rex’s removal. The artwork by Brisbane-based Michael Riddle is based on “the idea of collapse”. Riddle told ABC radio’s Breakfast show he believed reactions to the sculpture would be “a mixed bag”. “There will be some people who like it and some people who have something negative to say about it.” Public artworks along Peninsula
Link, including “the chrome gnome” at the Cranbourne Rd exit officially called Reflective Lullaby, are privately funded by Peninsula Link owner operator Southern Way. The sculptures are commissioned and owned by McLelland Gallery & Sculpture Park and “retired” artworks including the popular Tree of Life, removed to make way for the chrome gnome in July 2015, are put on display at the Langwarrin sculpture park where entry is free. Peninsula Link artworks are rotated every two years. Neil Walker High voltage: New sculpture on display alongside Peninsula Link near Skye Rd exit. Picture: Gary Sissons
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Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News
6 September 2017