Tony Ashby was born in Tunbridge Wells, England in 1960 and immigrated to Adelaide, Australia in 1966. After finishing school, he successfully completed an apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery, met his wife Pam and settled in the suburbs. The travel bug bit five years later and Tony and Pam set off on an adventure that lasted six and a half years, travelling to many countries and experiencing many different cultures. Wanting to return home to Australia, but not wanting to lose this sense of travel, Tony and Pam took a look at Brisbane and ended up settling there for seven years. An opportunity arose to move to Portland, Victoria in 2003 and it was then that Tony took up the pursuit of art fulltime in the form of oil painting and printing, spending most days in his studio honing his skills and creating new works.

‘For me painting is about bringing together two skills; the physical application of the medium and the ability to translate imagination onto canvas.’

Tony is a self-taught artist who strives to be competent through experimentation and dedication to his craft. You can check out Tony’s work at www.tonyashbyart.com.au and on Facebook at Tony Ashby Art.

Gareth Colliton was raised in an antique shop in the Western Districts of Victoria. This unusual upbringing seems to have influenced his career as an artist, as history features prominently in his work. Much of his practice centres on creating alternative histories for contemporary topics, such as Australian Rules football, science fiction or comic books. The blurring of lines between history and mythology questions our assumptions about the history we’ve been taught.

Gareth’s work is held in several public gallery collections and has featured in many exhibitions nationally, including the Salon des Refuses in Sydney. In 2012, Gareth was awarded the Australia Day Community Award for service to the Arts in the region. Currently, he and his brothers operate Wishart Gallery in Port Fairy.

Eileen Curd was born in Liverpool, United Kingdom and migrated to Australia 30 years ago with her husband, Derek. After settling in Melbourne, they raised a family of three daughters and became the proud grandparents of six grandchildren.

Eileen and Derek recently moved to Toolong, where Eileen is now able to concentrate on her art practice. She is a self-taught artist who enjoys all mediums, but has a preference for watercolour, acrylics and oils. She also creates magnificent resin pieces on large boards of various shapes and sizes, which are characterised by bold splashes of beautiful colour.

Eileen recently joined the Whale Bone Gallery in Port Fairy and enjoys the challenge of producing work for public display. Her first exhibition was titled ‘Where do you go too?’ and consisted of six resin creations and two watercolour on Yupo paper creations.

‘With the resin, I love the magic of the colours mixing together and morphing into something unexpected. Same with the watercolour on Yupo paper. The colours tend to run into each other, creating little mythical creatures – which I then embellish.’  

You can check out Eileen’s work at https://eileencurd.wixsite.com/yniqueart.

Robert Gatt is a professional artist, who has worked from his studio in Port Fairy since 1993. Robert and his partner, Freya Marriott, work primarily with glass, but for the past three years, he has also been creating kinetic, technical sculptures.

Robert’s goal in creating these sculptures is to stir the imagination of his audience. He wants to provoke a humorous dialogue and instil a sense of doubt in viewers as to what they are seeing. To this end, he uses materials that may not always be what they seem and technology that may be inherently flawed.

‘I want people to question what they see, both in my sculptures and their everyday encounters. If I can make people smile while I am doing this, then I have achieved what I set out to do.’

Jeanie Gleeson is a Port Fairy based artist whose practice revolves around the disciplines of drawing, oil painting and various printmaking processes.  The themes in her work usually develop from a personal point of fascination and deal with questions of cultural identity and memory.

Jeanie’s current work explores the erosion of the sand dunes at Port Fairy’s East Beach, where large seas have exposed previously buried manufactured objects.  Her curiosity and imagination play with and examine concepts by juxtaposing these found objects with layers of humus, seaweed, calcified roots, crabs, shells and rocks.  The works are indicative of time, movement and the forces of nature, and strengthen her connection to place.

Jeanie completed a Bachelor of Art with a major in Visual Imaging at Deakin University. She has been the recipient of an ArtStart Grant from the Arts Funding Division of the Australia Council and teaches painting, drawing and printmaking at South West TAFE in Warrnambool.

Tracie Griffith is a writer who loves to dabble in visual art when she has the chance. Although primarily involved in researching and editing the Port Fairy Ghost Stories project, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to illustrate at least one of the amazing stories uncovered for the collection.

‘Truthfully, I needed something to do in the small hours, when kept awake by the scary ghost stories I’d been working on.’

Tracie has a Graduate Certificate in Visual Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts (Melbourne University) and is interested in painting and photography. She also recently published her first novel titled Redemption, which is a contemporary story set in Port Fairy (available at all good bookstores and www.traciegriffith.com).

Berit Hampel was born in Stendal, an historic town in Saxony-Anhalt, East Germany. After extensive travels, Berit settled in Koroit in southwest Victoria in 2004. She studied visual art and found herself increasingly drawn to the creative possibilities of digital photo imaging.

Berit is known for the captivating photographic series she produces, which are built on stories with dark beginnings or histories. She takes her viewers on a strange, other-worldly journey and enlarges the tale along the way. One series is set in an abandoned military hospital in East Germany and another is based on Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice in Wonderland. She also transforms our local forests and beaches into extraordinary worlds of the imagination.

Berit’s work is evocative, mysterious and multilayered – offering viewers a place to wander, wonder and discover. She has staged two exhibitions at Blarney Books & Art, and is a full and permanent member of Whale Bone Gallery. Her images have won numerous awards at home and abroad.

Julie Hoey is well-known locally for her stunning floats and wall murals. She has blitzed the competition in the Moyneyana Festival’s New Year’s Eve Parade over the past three years, winning in 2014 with her stunning Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse float, in 2015 with her dramatic Trojan Horse float and again in 2016 with her larger-than-life Big Ben float. Julie is currently developing her business ‘Majestic Murals’ and her latest commission can be viewed at the Port Fairy Angling Club on Gibbs Street.  Past commissions for wall murals include the Four Seasons Chinese Restaurant in Sackville Street and the ‘Grieving Garden’ at Bauer College in Warrnambool. Julie will also be resurrecting the town’s infamous ghost tours in 2017.

Kathryn McIntyre (Weatherly) works in many mediums, but specializes in painting on silk. In her practice she prefers to paint to a theme, either imposed or of her own devising. Her work is quirky, colorful, figurative, stylized and very individual.

Kathryn has worked professionally as a visual artist for twenty years and ran her own gallery until recently, which was open to the public. She has also taught art to children, adults and people with special needs, as well as running workshops.

A love of literature and ideas has been ongoing and Kathryn recently returned to her first love – writing. So the invitation to illustrate a story in the book of Port Fairy ghost stories held great appeal.

Kathryn has lived in Port Fairy for half her lifetime and draws inspiration from the town and her own personal life experiences. She enjoys receiving commissions and loves a challenge – personally, intellectually and artistically.

Sid Sprague is an energetic and vibrant artist, who has extended his talents to numerous fields and creative ventures. He grew up in 1970s Eltham, where he drew inspiration from days saturated with light, art and architecture under the Siren’s spell of Montsalvat and the Yarra River. After studying Fine Art at Deakin University in Warrnambool, Sid was represented by the Collins Street Art Gallery in Melbourne. His work has appeared in numerous exhibitions – most recently at the Warrnambool Art Gallery and ArtSpace8 in Mornington, Victoria.

Sid is an active film maker, who has been engaged as artistic director by art galleries, Regional Arts Victoria, The Torch Project, local councils and community groups. He has also coordinated three regional film festivals. Sid studied multimedia at South West TAFE in Warrnambool and went on to manage the indigenous media company Worn Gundidj Aboriginal MultiMedia Alliance (WGAMA). At WGAMA, he produced a radio show that covered stories on indigenous art and culture, and the environment. He is also a composer and DJ, producing CDs and music videos for local artists.

Passionate about art in all its forms, Sid has taught classes for community groups, schools, TAFE colleges and universities. He is currently developing an interior design and fashion label named ‘GASH’.