My Art Kills Monsters




Life’s a funny thing

As I open my laptop to undertake the task of updating my blog, I’m a buzz with all sorts of emotions.

 I look at my bookmark bar and realize its been so long since I opened the My Art Kills Monsters Blog Page that its no longer in the header but far down the line in the drop down menu relegated back through the list, as new ideas and bookmarks flood the header on my Safari home page.

I click and open the page and I realize with a thud it’s been 3 years since my last entry ………

For you first time readers this blog stretches back to the beginning of this project both written and video content of everything that happened along the My Art Kills Monsters road.

The honest reason wasn’t laziness or lack of passion, quite the opposite.

It was out of self-preservation.

Take it back to 2011; I set of on an adventure an art sabbatical, to raise awareness of mental health, depression and anxiety.

 After an incredible year in 2010 with a hugely successful show in Surry Hills  (PEACE INSIDE ANXIETY) and through a cover story in the SMH I stumbled upon my own recipe for dealing with my depression and anxiety.

And with this, kind of became an accidental ambassador.

Becoming aware of the power of conversation and how in changed my life and the life’s of others I had connected with I launched into the concept of My Art Kills Monsters.

Armed with this I set of for Indonesia I had a tone of support and bunch of handshake agreements.

I take out a loan from the bank and set of for what I thought would take me 6 months to paint 14 paintings in 14 amazing locations through the Indonesian islands.

6 months in I have done 7 and realize it’s going to be at least another 6 months.

No sponsors and money has run out I borrow more cash confident sponsorship reimbursement will be coming along   and I put my head down and forge on. With such a fixed focus on getting this show idea and concept over the line.

2012 I return back to Australia, overjoyed with the feeling that what I had just achieved in Indonesia was a world first and something to be proud of.

I get back to Sydney and realize that the last 12 months flying, driving and hiking up active volcano’s painting in busy market places all over the Indonesian islands was the easy part.

I door knock showcasing my show plan and show-real Its always well received and met with amazement at what I had done over the past 12 months.

But no one wanted to get behind it and bring the last piece of the puzzle together and bring My Art Kills Monsters to life.

I had features on Foxtel and went as far as mocking up a small example of what the show will look like at the Standard in Sydney, with 200 punters, but still no one wanted to show it or help fund it.

I was reluctant to just have the show for having the show sake, I wanted as many people to see it as I could to break down those walls and make it no longer a taboo subject.

So I carry on building frames, re-stretching linen works and building for the show.

2012 went on like this for 365 days …..

 I found myself slipping into a familiar darkness; handshake agreements are not what they were when I was growing up.

In 2012 I meet up with Kate Edwards and become the first artist signed to Fostered. Now we both battle to get the show to market, with no success.

Kate after seeing the stress it was taking on me suggested we just put the project on ice, the demons are back. And I agree on ice sounds like a safe idea.

How ironic that the very project I undertook to alleviate and help others was now tearing me apart.

Letting go was hard, I hired a container and packed all My Art Kills Monsters works and gear away I didn’t need to have that constant reminder in front of me.

I set the focus back on myself and re-discovering my recipe for harmony, I with Kate’s help open my Namesake Gallery on the South Coast and also have another successful show in 2013 called project 13 in Darlinghurst.

But still deep down the anger still bubbled about the non fermented My Art Kills Monsters, it was only a conversation with a soul mate that the point was put forward that ….

By focusing on the destination I was always going to be disappointed, things very rarely turn out the way we see it in our heads, that perfect fairytale. But to instead focus on the journey and how amazing that has been then I can be truly happy.

If My Art Kills Monsters was to never see the light of day then that’s ok , because the good place I’m in  and the great things that have happened only happened because I took that first step in the My Art Kills Monsters Journey.

And with that I made my peace. And 2013 was the last post ….

2015 Kate Edwards organizes a meeting with The owners of Ambush Gallery about doing some collaboration shows with them and The Matthew Gillett Gallery.

It was in this meeting totally by chance and out of my mind set that My Art Kills Monsters came up. I go into the old familiar pitch not thinking to much of it.

November 2015 the owners of Ambush Gallery contact Kate and are so blown away by the idea and concept and what its about and trying to achieve they offer me the Creative Space at no charge for 1 week in the Ambush Gallery at Central Park.

I’m blown away, in shock and very very emotional.

Kind of like I set it free and it came home to roost.

2016 the last 6 months has been crazy, unpacking re assembling and adding another 40 works to the already 14 strong My Art Kills Monsters series.

A lot of emotions positive and negative but the negative are just attached to old scars, now being replaced with new friends, supporters and musicians.

So here as I sit in a room typing this out I realize I am actually in shock after 5 years this is a reality My Art Kills Monsters is Live and will air Thursday 23rd of June at Ambush Gallery fro 6pm until Sunday the 26thJune.

So spread the word !  My Art Kills Monsters , Pass it on…… see you all there with your mates and your mates mates , together not only will we break down the walls associated with depression and anxiety we will blow it to bits !!

Again life is a funny thing , fast forward another two years and again I find that I haven’t updated my website , and that the show has run its course. The show was a huge success. With full page SMH stories and TV appearances, My Art Kills Monsters far exceeded what I ever thought possible.

The building of the show at Ambush was indeed a huge task , but the result was spectacular.

I remember saying at the very beginning of this journey ,”if I could change one person or help one person through the darkness , then the measure of My Art Kills Monsters would be a success” .

With a over a thousand people coming through the doors during the week long show , I had met so many amazing people. They shared there struggles and journey . And how my strength and courage to put on the show, had given them strength, courage and direction to move out of the darkness and into the light of life.

When I look at all these time-lapse videos , the wave of emotion is extremely strong . For one I can hardly believe that’s me, and that I painted and lugged camera gear all over Indonesia. I am amazed to see the idea I had in my head all those years ago come to fruition .  And play out in one of Sydney’s finest Galleries. Its now been 7 years since My Art Kills Monsters journey began. I am still an Artist, im still in my studio painting  every day ,and preparing for the next show . Life sure is all about the Journey not the destination . Be BIG put yourself out there , shine bright , and keep showing up being the best version of yourself .



    Location 1. The Bukit Peninsula. This spot is on the southernmost point of Bali, Indonesia. This is a large limestone peninsula famous for its Temples and perfect waves. The entire area is also called the Bukit Peninsula or just The Bukit. I chose this place for its shear beauty  and sunsets; and it was the first place I visited some 20 years ago. This being the first spot for me, in my heart it felt like all the pieces of life’s puzzle slowly falling into place.

Location 2.Ubud.A town in central Bali high in the mountains, it is famous as an arts and crafts hub, and much of the town and nearby villages consist of artists’ workshops and galleries. There are some remarkable architectural and other sights to be found, and a general feeling of well being to be enjoyed, all thanks to the spirit, surroundings, and climate of the place, and why I chose to paint in the rice fields here. This place has an amazing energy all of its own, also being the artistic hub of Bali, it felt so natural to add to the artistry with a work of my own. The energy had a huge impact on this work especially the two parts to my anxiety and depression depicted in the work.

Location 3. Bedugul,  Pura Ulun Danu Bratan (Lake Bratan Temple). This is perhaps the most photographed temple on the island and is certainly one of the iconic images of Bali. The temple sits on the western shore of Lake Bratan, and it can give the illusion of actually floating on the water. Built in 1633, the temple is devoted to Ida Batara Dewi Ulun Danu, goddess of the lake. A beautiful temple in a truly stunning setting. It was truly an honour to paint here I took a sit down meeting with the local Banjar in order to paint at this location and to my knowledge, I am the only westerner to be granted permission to paint here. I don’t usually paint what I see, but this place had such energy, I combined what I saw and what was the perception of the place in my mind.

Location 4.Jatiluwih .North of Tabanan has paddy fields following the contours of terraced land some of the most famous terraced rice fields in Indonesia set against the background of spellbinding Mount Batukaru and Mount Agung. We camped up here for 5 days In the rice fields nothing but rice and chilli for food but set in front of Mount Agung it was spell binding, but along with the serenity was a lot of head chatter .

Location 5.Mount Bromo(Indonesian: Gunung Bromo). Is an active volcano and part of the Tengger massif, in East Java, Indonesia. High in the hills, freezing, and with almost an eruption every two hours, an amazing place to paint and document using time-lapse photography. This was such a mission to get to.  Two planes,  16 hour drive and freezing cold at night, volcanic dust was in everything, but with its moon like backdrop, I was constantly blown away. Five paintings in and this was a difficult time, self funded, and running low on cash it created a lot of stress. My inner workings depicted on the work.

Location 6.Jimbaran . This was formerly a real backwater of south Bali, just a tiny fishing village with a daily market. The bay itself has a pleasant white sandy beach and is a hive of colourful fishing boats, leaving and returning from daily fishing expeditions. Background activity was always important in the decision-making when it came to any spot. Hot as hell painting at this location, but super peaceful, It also was like all locations, never short of a huge audience. There is a shooting star captured in this Tim lapse.

Location 7.Git Git Falls.Follow narrow winding road from Lake Bratan down to Singaraja to find Git Git falls  The falls drop down many levels, the tallest of which is around 45 meters (149 feet).  One of the few purely natural spectacles. An amazing and spiritual place to paint. The sound after 5 days nearly sent me around the bend, not to mention damaging all the gear with water mist. After finishing my work and walking out of the falls, the local people were blown away that with out me knowing, what they believed the water spirit looked like, I somehow managed to paint a very close version of it, like most of my paintings, I never know what I will paint until I am standing in front of the canvas. I had an overwhelming desire to produce what I did and had never produced anything like it before. It was pure emotion.

Location 8.Local Produce Markets.From 3am to 10am for 5 days, estimated 3000 locals, one painter, 3 cameras, for a slice of Old Bali. The local food/small goods market on the intersection of JI. Pantai Kuta and Jl. Raya Tuban, Kuta, with sights smells and colours of daily local life, it was a must to document, and a challenging location. I really wanted to re-create the madness of Indonesia and being how manic the location was, I managed to produce how low and hard things were at this stage of the journey.

Location 9.Lake Bratan, Bedugul.I returned to this amazing place later in the year for the amazing stillness and unique weather patterns on the other side of the lake, for and unforgettable time-lapse experience. With clouds coming in and out, sometimes it felt like you were actually painting in the clouds, like when a plane flies through the clouds.

Location 10.Monkey Forest, For this ,most go to Ubud, but I was after something a little different. So located after talking to locals, another more sacred place to the local people, the monkey forest, about two hours South of central Bali. An experience and amazing spot under a very sacred tree in the Balinese religion, an honour to paint in this location. Again I needed to sit with the local Banjar to gain access and permission. I also had to employ three helpers to keep the monkeys from stealing gear but one monkey did steal a full tube of Colbert blue. As the days went on, more and more blue monkeys began to appear, the local keeper of the temple assured me no monkeys became ill, but he did comment on how funny they looked. The temple was a vortex of time space and culture.

Location 11.Krakatoa(Indonesian: Krakatau) is a volcanic island made of lava in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. I stayed on the island, slept on Bamboo, endured Giant lizards, eruptions, earthquake’s. Daily hikes to the rim of the volcano alone to paint and film, and a very traditional un-sea worthy boat to get to and from. I ate fish from passing fishing boats and swam with pods of dolphins. The volcano blew chunks of rock twice during my stay forcing me to leave all my gear and run for cover, four days after I left the volcano,  it erupted spewing ash lava and rocks into the ocean leaving me feeling very lucky, and also bringing home just how mad a decision it was to paint at this location. I had to get permission from the government to stay and paint on the volcano .when Krakatau first erupted it was the loudest sound ever heard in modern history, with reports of it being heard nearly 3,000 miles (4,800 km) from its point of origin.

Location 12.Tanah Lot Un-Named Black sand beach near the temple of Tanah  Lot. ,Tanah Lot means “Land [sic: in the] Sea” in Balinese language. Located in Tabanan, about 20 km from Denpasar, the temple sits on a large offshore rock which has been shaped continuously over the years by the ocean tide. The Tanah Lot temple was built and has been a part of Balinese mythology for centuries. I painted just to the left of the temple. I used ash from Krakatoa and sand from the black beach in my mediums here, with the sound of the ocean and constant stream of locals to the temple. This was a very pleasant experience.

Location 13. Mount Bromo, Returning to this spot later in the year and discovering a lush savanna in stark contrast to a landscape that could be used if needed to demonstrate the meaning of the phrase, desolate beauty, then this is surely it. Rugged, barren volcanic peaks, gravel plains and that sea of sand. Truly unworldly. And again a massive mission to get to this spot lugging all gear down into the crater on small horse back. A real treat like slipping back in time, a long five days that left me spent, exhausted and emotion pretty much like the finished work. So many fears and thoughts, this was the outpour of that emotion.


Location 14. Borobudur,

Barabudur, is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist monument in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia.  Said to be the oldest Buddhist temple in the world! This was always going to be the last spot, truly out of this world. I had to fly to Jakarta and meet with the government officials to get permission to be on site to film and paint. After a lot of forms and dinners, I was approved to be at the temple, the first and only painter to my knowledge to be given such a privilege. The temple is one of the heaviest guarded landmarks in Indonesia. This spot was tricky, with so many tourists and locals wanting my photo, to autographs to wanting me to explain why the image I am painting looks nothing like the temple ha ha ha A question often thrown at me whilst painting on all fourteen locations.

Matthew Gillett by Cartercarter Pty Ltd