Friday, October 07, 2011

Whiteley's Incredible Blue; An Interview With Barry Dickins

Whiteley's Incredible Blue

Barry Dickins Interview

By Lee Bemrose

During his lifetime, Brett Whiteley's flamboyant lifestyle more-or-less overshadowed the very art that made him famous. During the 60s, 70s and 80s even those uninterested in the art world knew about Brett Whiteley; internationally famous at the age of 22 and living a life of sex, drugs and art ever since. He mingled with the likes of Bob Dylan and polarised the populace with an exotic nature that often didn't sit right with average Australians and the Australian art elite alike, many of whom viewed him as a reckless upstart undeserving of his preternatural talent.

When Whiteley died of a drug overdose in 1992, the crescendo of gossip and superiority peaked as the biographies hit the bookshops. In his death, Whiteley had probably never polarised us more.

Amongst the many biographies was Black And Whiteley: In Search Of Brett by artist and writer Barry Dickins. As the title would suggest, this is a compassionate, non-judgemental biography, and indeed his new play, Whiteley's Incredible Blue, is also an intimate look at the mind of one our greatest artists and most colourful characters. In talking about this one-man performance featuring actor Neil Pigot, Dickins talks of poetry and dance, music and mystical manners, and drug-dealing Pink Flamingoes. All so very pure Whiteley.

For the full interview go to Australian Stage.

I saw the play last night and will write my thoughts on it shortly (short review: lived up to expectations and is well worth seeing; the 10pm show was pretty full, which is a good sign), but for now, read someone else's review at Australian Stage.


Kathryn said...

"Obsessed and competitive and as lost as Christ upon the cross." How many of us feel this way...? Barry Dickens sounds like an incredibly interesting person to have a coffee with. Nice interview, Lee. I really enjoyed that slice of nice.

Lee said...

Thank you Kathryn. Mr Dickins also arranges words very nicely. I really enjoyed the performance... some interesting ideas or portayals of what it's like to experience the world/life as someone as drenched in art and fame as Brett Whitely was.