From the Shadows
About the artist
Simon McLean has received numerous prizes and awards for his original artworks and illustration. His works are represented in private collections throughout Australia and overseas. For 20 years McLean produced illustration and art for a myriad of advertising and publishing companies in Australia and internationally. McLean’s work has illustrated successful childrens books and is known for intricately detailed full colour cartoon poster artworks. His charcoal works on paper and paintings on canvas first attained recognition through sellout shows in 2002 and 2003 and continue to receive critical acclaim for originality in style and theme. The works have been described as anything from brilliantly dark and moody to hilariously disturbing. McLean exhibits annually through galleries on the east coast of Australia and is represented through Yallingup Galleries.
About the sitter
John Kotzas is the CEO of QPAC, one of Australia’s leading centres for live performance and the arts, and a prominent member of Brisbane’s arts and culture community. Simon says of John, “I have a few friends in the public domain who mix it up on a daily basis with countless VIP meetings, phone calls and performances, and I take it none too lightly when they find time for me, amongst their relentless demands. John is one of those, and I count it as a real and special act of friendship. He is a stalwart of the Arts and retains a genuine interest in those who persevere with their practise whether at the “high” end or elsewhere. We were sharing a nip or two of whiskey, when I thought I’d like to draw him. We’d been to see the Bolshoi ballet, ballet being one of his many great loves, and I see it perhaps, as somewhat of a symbolic, figurative representation, of his love of the arts in general, and so represent it here as such. The darkness is representative of John’s preference for hanging in the shadows, instigator of the world class events that he brings to us, but not particularly eager to be at centre stage himself, although his position demands it of him, and also, in a way, I like to think, bringing us all out of the darkness and bleak black void that we’d exist in, without the illumination of the arts.”