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THE LOVE OF ART the work of artists with disabilities

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” Vincent Van Gogh


Melbourne Tramcar John Bates

Welcome to The Love of Art, a collection of work created by artists with disabilities that has inspired us at ONCALL. Each piece presented in this collection has been purchased by ONCALL, and are proudly on display throughout our offices in Melbourne.   We are thrilled to be able to showcase and share these works with you. We hope you derive the same inspiration and pleasure from them as we do. Anna Fleming, ONCALL Director

“True art is characterised by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.”



by John Bates


John is an artist with a national and international reputation. His work has featured in several overseas exhibitions, and is represented in many private collections. His work is characterised by his flat use of colour, applied with neat, meticulous brushstrokes and often outlined in black. Like many disabled artist, his work has an innate sense of order and harmony. His complex drawings often possess an aerial view and a fascinating composition of hundreds of bricks or windows or people combining across the canvas to create a complex patten of colour and design. In recent months, John has honed his method and has produced work of such visual and technical skill that it is increasingly sought after by art collectors. John works at VATMI Art & Design, and his work is on display at the QArt Gallery in Kew, Victoria.


“My disability has opened my eyes to see my true abilities.” Robert M Hensel


Judy is an enthusiastic artist and a passionate inventor who’s highly s e l f - m o t i v a t e d . S h e ’s b e e n working in Araluen’s Lower Plenty studio for almost a decade where she attends several sessions per week and has also worked with many artists in her local c o m m u n i t y. J u d y ’s w o r k i s frequently exhibited and she takes great pride in the recognition she receives.


shortlisted for The Nillumbik Prize in 2008 and 2011 gained selection in Bundoora Homestead’s “Reinvention: Creativity & Self Identity” Exhibition in 2009 gained selection for The Rob McNamara Exhibition in 2012 presented a comprehensive body of landscape work in the exhibition “Bridges” for Nillumbik Council in 2012.



Tony has been working in Araluen’s Studio since the early 1990’s. Prior to that he attended Janefield where he was also actively developing his artistic skills and exhibiting widely in group exhibitions.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS • short-listed for the “Connected” Art Award in 2010 • presented a comprehensive body of landscape works in the three-person exhibition “Bridges” at Eltham Library Community Gallery; 2012 • regular annual contribution to Araluen’s exhibition at Rotary Eltham Town Festival • inclusion in group exhibitions at many high profile locations such as Australia House in London, the National Gallery Victoria and Parliament Victoria


by Tony Allan


TIFFANY McBROOM Tiffany is the life and soul of the studio. She is interested in everything and everyone, and is always concerned about her fellow artists. She is the mother hen telling others off for doing something she disapproves of, or fussing over someone to put a jumper on (or take it off). Her work is a reflection of her bubbly energy. Her colours are bright and vibrant, often pinks, oranges, and golds. She became famous for her cupcake paintings, and has since progressed to fabulous images of fish, birds, and owls. They overlap and whirl around the canvas in a splash of crazy colour. Tiffany was born in Melbourne and now lives in supported housing in Mount Waverley. She also works at VATMI Art & Design, and her work is on display at The QArt Gallery, Kew.


by Tiffany McBroom


BRIAN COSGRIFF Brian has a very tactile approach and is primarily interested in working into his surface to create his multi-layered compositions. His work springs from his imagination with great spontaneity, yet at the same time, appears considered and deliberate. Brian manages to create complex arrangements of floating shapes and colours that draw the viewer to explore the various planes floating beneath the surface. Since 2012, when he started displaying his work, Brian has contributed to numerous group exhibitions. His work was also showcased by Nillumbik Council in 2012.



Kevin is a prolific artist who creates forests of butterflies and birds as well as larger-than-life fish. His love of and fascination with nature is evident in his exuberant and vibrantly colourful pencil drawings. He transfers them to canvas and they become ornamental and fanciful. His linear approach resembles stained glass, and his powerful colour ranges underpin the balance of his designs. Kevin’s trademark is his flat single dimensional representation of nature. Kevin has benefited from his collaboration with David Milne and the other artists in the VATMI Art & Design studio. His recent work has seen him apply the same flat colour treatment to everyday images such as cars and giant shoes. Kevin was born in Melbourne. He is one of the original studio artists at VATMI and now lives in supported accommodation in Bulleen.


by Kevin Keane


by Kevin Keane


“A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament.”



Ronnie has been painting for over six years. He says: “I don’t remember how I got started with painting, but I love it.” He uses canvas and acrylic paint. His favourite colours are blue, yellow, and white. He draws mainly houses, vases of flowers, and landscapes. He often sketches by himself at Wyreena Community Centre in Croydon, and at home in his lounge.



As part of the Coolart program at Focus, Michael enjoys anything tactile: painting, pottery, anything he can get his hands into. He also loves painting, which clearly shows in his work. Michael was born in 1984 and was diagnosed with cerebral play when he was 10 months old. And although he is severely disabled, his disabilities are physical rather than intellectual. He lives with his family on the Mornington Peninsula. by Ronnie Weiss

by Michael Greaves



Ralph’s work has appeared in many exhibitions, both in Australia and overseas. His work is colourful, rhythmic, and prolific. A review of his work would show a varied subject matter, his recurring themes being, in his words, ‘stickmen, fish eyes, and fish.’ He loves to challenge himself by making his compositions as difficult as possible, but takes equal joy in executing them swiftly and skilfully. He has also developed a new painting style that involves using layers of tape that are painted and then removed. This technique has given his work a luminous effect. Ralph is employed by VATMI Art & Design, and lives in shared accommodation in Ivanhoe.


by Ralph Dawson



Sonja is a very gentle, soft-spoken person, and this is reflected in her work. She is well-known for her multi-layered delicate ink-and-pen works on canvas. She spends weeks building up the layers of ink in wave upon wave of colour. Many more hours are spent with gold and silver pen drawing over the ink with images that are Sonja’s hallmark. Her work has a true magical quality and it is easy to gaze at them often and see different things every time. Sonja is one of the original members of the Q Art Studio. She was a resident of The Kew Cottages before moving into a supported care house in Hawthorn.



Reeve is a young artist with a natural flair for illustrating. His pen and pencil drawings are geometric, patterned, and mirrored. When transformed into ceramic pieces, his imagery morphs into vibrant, integrating intersections of colour and shape. His work also has a strong conceptual content which is ever evolving. Each work of ceramic art is a personal journey for Reeve. It is as if he gives life and sprit to the pieces, each of which has an individual story. Look at the patterns closely to see the magical, celestial, and spiritual motifs hidden within the swirling designs. Reeve was born in Melbourne and lives in Blackburn with his family.


ART TILES BY VATMI ARTISTS An art tile is a stylish, modern acrylic tile with a high visual impact. The depth of the acrylic tile gives the image it contains a luminescent, floating, three-dimensional effect. Art tiles are freestanding, so no hanging is required. Each art tile shows artwork created by a VATMI artist, and the medium truly adds another artistic layer to each work.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ONCALL Personnel thanks all the artists featured in this document as well as the following organisations for helping us put it together:

ARALUEN ART CONNECT Araluen is a not-for-profit public company that provides accommodation and day services for adults with an intellectual disability. 226 Old Eltham Rd, Lower Plenty VIC 3093 03 9439 2805

FOCUS 'focus' offers a range of outreach services to people of all abilities. These are flexible, developmentally focused services which aim to impart life skills, often as part of a short or long-term plan for greater independence. 90 Arthurs Seat Rd, Red Hill VIC 3937 03 5989 2176

MELBA SUPPORT SERVICES Melba Support Services is a not-for-profit, community based organisation that supports people who live with a disability to lead lives of their choice. Ormeau Road, Mt Evelyn, Victoria 3796 03 9760 8200

VATMI GROUP The VATMI Group is an Australian Disability Enterprise that provides employment opportunities for people with a disability. 35 Hutchinson Drive, Kew VIC 3101 03 9851 9700

L2/660 Canterbury Rd, Surrey Hills VIC 3127 Phone 03 9896 2468 Fax 03 9899 7012 Web

The Love of Art  

This is a collection of work created by artists with disabilities that has inspired us at ONCALL. Each piece presented in this collection h...

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