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… But to take on the law, that is, the majority, he fashioned out of ploughshares [stolen] a helmet, horizontally slitted for eyes, and a breastplate. With this he could surely march out into and, at the same time, stand out against the world. Isn’t that verging on the melodramatic? He must have known that the police only had to shoot at his legs, which is precisely what happened. For him gesture had greater power than the prosaic, the practical … It was medieval, yet modern. A mobile Malevich shape superimposed on the dry and fairly featureless Australian landscape, and the desolate main street of Glenrowan. Kelly’s helmet added something; it made a difference. Otherwise these hot dusty places were altogether too barren, places without apparent history. And Kelly’s steel head was instantly human. It was defiant, a statement.

Murray Bail Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly

The Art of Kelly has filled numerous books and exhibitions across the globe. In some quarters Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly series is perhaps as famous as Ned himself. It would be rare for an art student not to have a sketch, sculpture, or painting of Kelly in their portfolio. From Norman Lindsay to Ken Done, the imagery of Ned – complete with hipster beard and iconic armour – has captivated viewing audiences and gallery patrons for close on a century.

Maria 'Mucha' Ihnatowicz

Ned Kelly

Maria Ihnatowicz was born in Poland in 1937 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw where she studied under professor Henryk Tomaszewski – one of the founding fathers of the Polish School of Posters. She graduated in 1963, the same year she married fellow artist Andrzej Krajewski. She specialised in graphics and mainly worked designed book covers and posters. Whilst she and Andrzej were a couple they sometimes designed pieces together. She has won many awards. Mucha is well regarded for her instantly recognisable bold, expressive painterly style and the most beautiful use of colour.

Subject: Mick Jagger
Category: Film Poster
Date: c. 1973
Medium: Offset Colour Lithograph

Information: Documents.uow.edu.au

Johnny Romeo

Johnny Romeo is a contemporary Australian pop artist whose Ned Kelly Hero Series is a vibrant, solid slab of retro 60s glam thrust kicking and screaming into a modern interpretation on the legend of the iron outlaw juxtaposed with racy typographical imagery that lends itself to wild, untamed, pulsating art – much like his central character. It’s like a comic book has exploded right in your face!

You’ll Never Take Me Alive! The Ned Kelly Hero Series

Inspired by the folk lore tales of Ned Kelly, Johnny Romeo’s exhibition You’ll Never Take Me Alive was an investigation into Kelly’s existence in Australia ’s historical fabric and his influence on our national pop culture. The tales of Ned Kelly have been much explored in Australia ’s short history. In this exhibition, Johnny Romeo uncovers his view of Kelly while simultaneously discussing the notion of story telling in our contemporary society. Romeo’s The Ned Kelly Hero Series was on display during March 2010 at the NG Art Gallery in Chippendale, New South Wales.

Information: JohnnyRomeo.net


Johnny Romeo’s work critiques the madness of a modern world driven by pervasive advertising, hollow materialism and wasteful excess, exploring the way in which we construct our identities through the idolisation of pop culture and brand-name heroes.
Ned Kelly [1970-1]

Sidney Nolan

The Ned Kelly series

For those of us who rank Sidney Nolan as one of the two or three painters in Australia of real significance, this Exhibition – his first one-man show in a Public Gallery – is of quite outstanding importance. We believe its value in the history of Australian painting is already assured. Australia has not been an easy country to paint. A number of artists have sensed something of what it holds and one or two – the early Roberts and Streeton – have succeeded in giving us glimpses of it which were movingly true; but we have waited many years for a mature statement to cover both the landscape and man in relation to the landscape. In my opinion this has now been achieved by Sidney Nolan in the group of 27 paintings exhibited, and it is a remarkable achievement indeed, necessitating as it has the most sensitive and profound harmony between symbol, legend and visual impact. That this has been accomplished in language of the utmost simplicity is in itself an indication of the strength of the artist’s vision and discipline, while at the same time it should allow those who are responsive to the elemental things which move us all to find ready response in themselves to what the paintings have to give.

John Reed
The Kelly Paintings of Sidney Nolan 1946-47

Information: NGA.gov.au

Mike McGann

Captain Kelly Sky Commando

Mike McGann is an Australian artist with a strikingly unique style that combines originality, controversy, and daring into artworks that come at you with full force. Mike was a significant figure in the local pop culture scene during the seventies and eighties. His impressive folio of work spans indie comics, zines, convention flyers and, most conspicuously, tee-shirts which Mike designs and screen prints himself. His Captain Kelly Sky Commando series of illustrations are whimsical, formidable, and in your face. Mike’s vibrant use of colour and multi-vector action demands these images be re-viewed over and over again – plus who doesn’t love seeing Ned Kelly kick arse!

Interview: TheAither.com
Feature: ArtWhoreCult.com
Information: CaptainKellySkyCommando.art


Mike and his art comes from a period in sci fi fandom before the ease of digital technology and the internet. Back when it was all done by hand, and exchanged via mail-order or at sporadically held conventions. The fandom of this period was personal, DIY and punk as fuck. We love it.
ArtWhore

Richard Webber

Tom Wentworth Wills and Ned Kelly

Martin Flanigan, in his 2011 John Button oration, argued that the legend of Tom Wills should rightly carry a stature akin to that of Ned Kelly, considering his contribution not only to Australian culture through sport, but also his recognition of Indigenous culture. It is the attraction of the enigma that was his extraordinary life which makes him such an appealing subject for interpretation. Tom Wills almost certainly was influenced by observing the indigenous game of ‘Marngrook’ (played with a possum skin football) as a child, and may have even played the game. The drawing up of the first rules for Australian football by five men including Tom Wills, took place in sight of the MCG. He lived in historical coincidence with Ned Kelly, inspiring a fictionalised meeting between them.

Information: Facebook.com

Maree Coote

50 Neds. Ned Kelly: Icon of Australian Art

Ned Kelly. Australia’s sexiest Bushranger. Freedom fighter? Revolutionary? Or just a naughty boy? Bit of everything really…

Maree Coote is a writer, designer, illustrator, photographer and publisher. She has enjoyed an award-winning career in advertising and understands Melbourne’s unique advantage well. Her many creative passions converge in her studies of Melbourne’s history, which is the focus of her work in object design and in publishing over the past ten years. Maree is passionate about a sense of place and history, and she brings this to life in multiple platforms for multiple audiences. Her affinity for Melbourne is unique and highly informed. Her skill is bringing ideas to life, and communicating ideas to any audience, ‘in whatever form gives them most power: books, artwork, song, stories, design, film.’

Information: MelbourneStyle.com.au

This collection is both a design journey and a tale of an Australian legend. It features 50 original artworks, each reinventing yet again Australia’s most famous bushranger. 50 Neds is a labour of love, by Melbourne artist and writer Maree Coote, who dives head first into the Kelly legend and surfaces with a collection of decorative pieces that are a celebration of a very Australian visual aesthetic.

Godzilla vs Ned Kelly [acrylic on canvas]

Stefan Bruneder

I was born in Austria in the last century and now live in Australia. My German humor enables me to be silly, ironic and dead serious at the same time. I listen to music while I paint. Beethoven piano sonatas have proven to work best. I can also recommend Captain Beefheart (a brilliant painter in his own right). Art has always intrigued and inspired me since early childhood. If I had the means I would definitely be an art collector. The process of producing artwork never ceases to amaze me. Although much thought and a fair deal of skill goes into my art, while working I still feel like a medium for something beyond my perception. Consequently I fancy seeing myself as a modern day hoodoo medicine man.

A fantasy monster expressing the horrors of WW2’s mass destruction versus an actual historic person exemplifying romantic sentiments of nonconformism. Which one is more real?

Information: ArtLogic.com.au

MyCKs

MyCKs is a collective name utilised by an artistic family based in the United States. The primary creative is responsible for these amazing watercolors. The style is a combination of their mother’s Japanese calligraphy and sumi based paintings. Each year the artist accepts limited commissions, however, the bulk of their artwork is available to view on their DevianArt portal.

Information: DeviantArt.com