INCREDIBLE: Pictured are artists Simon Ulyatt (42) and Adam Heining (26) at the RED Inc Studio in Byron Bay. The annual IncREDible Art Show opens tomorrow.
INCREDIBLE: Pictured are artists Simon Ulyatt (42) and Adam Heining (26) at the RED Inc Studio in Byron Bay. The annual IncREDible Art Show opens tomorrow. Megan Kinninment

Ex-Sotheby's boss "in awe" of work by disabled Byron artists

ART created by a group of disabled Byron Bay artists has caught the eye of former Sotheby's Auction chairman and tribal art specialist, Robert Bleakley.

Mr Bleakley said he was "in awe" of artworks created by members of RED Inc's Studio Red at Byron Bay, describing them as "works which charm, tantalise and beguile".

He has compared the local disabled artists with celebrity outsider artists such as Henri Rousseau and more recently the graffiti artists Banksy and Jean Michel Basquiat.

"There is always a sense of surprise and delight at the untutored raw expression ... not self-conscious and unaffected by the filters which can constrain other artists aware of critical approbation," he said.

Having someone of Mr Bleakley's stature recognise the talents of his disabled clients was encouraging, Studio Red founder and art tutor Mathew Godwin said.

"Their art is incredible and unique," Mr Godwin said.

"These guys are keen to become professional artists and to have someone of Robert Bleakley's esteemed reputation recognise their work is important."

Studio Red has been operating for four years and has a stable of artists affected by a range of disabilities, including autism, brain injury and Down syndrome.

The studio acts as a creative and community space, he said, where the artists can express themselves freely through their art.

Annually, for three years now, the studio holds it IncREDible Art Show, with hundreds of artworks for sale and artists retaining 80% of the sale price.

"Artworks are now held in private collections across the world," Mr Godwin said.

The IncREDible Art Show opens tomorrow at 6pm, at 5/16 Tasman Way in the Byron Industrial Estate and will run until Tuesday.


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