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Aaron BLABEY (b.1974) - MAX

Aaron BLABEY (b.1974)

New Photo of ArtistAaron Blabey was born in Bendigo in Victoria in 1974. Blabey was a talented artist as a child. He moved around a lot with his family and so art and books were a refuge. He spent much of his early childhood drawing but then his confidence gave way in high school. ** He also enjoyed creative writing and credits his year 7 English teacher’s complete lack of political correctness in letting him submit astoundingly naughty and inappropriate creative writing as helping inspire his writing. *

Blabey was also a talented actor in high school and he gravitated towards performance. He was spotted in a school play by a director and invited to audition for him. He went on to play bit parts in TV crime staples such as Water Rats and was later cast as the lead in the ABC miniseries The Damnation of Harvey McHugh, for which he won the 1995 AFI Best Actor Award. ** Blabey became a well-known Australian actor. In 2000, he was nominated for an AFI Best Actor Award for his role in Stingers and has appeared in Through My Eyes - The True Story of Lindy Chamberlain, Crashburn, All Saints, Wildside and Phoenix, and movies including Mullet and The Human Touch.

In early 2000’s, feeling unfulfilled with his acting career and, following a visit to Europe where Blabey was inspired by the Picasso Museum in Paris, he picked up a paintbrush again and began to paint, as well as to write. In 2004, Blabey and his wife, actress Kirstie Hutton, moved from Sydney to the Dandenong Ranges outside of Melbourne. Blabey had a studio there and began to paint in earnest, inspired by the poor body image projected onto females in the entertainment industry. *** He also wrote and illustrated two popular children's books Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley & Sunday Chutney, published in 2007 and 2008.

In 2009, Blabey and his young family moved back to Sydney where Blabey studied at design school. *** After graduating, Blabey worked for a time as an advertising writer to make money while he pursued his writing and art on the side. He remembers the advertising world making him so unhappy he would sit in tears under “the sobbing tree” near his Sydney office. However, he also recognises the experience hardened him up a bit and gave him room to be inspired in his personal time. **

Blabey’s books for children continued to be successful and win many awards. In 2014, Blabey signed a three-book deal with Scholastic Australia, beginning with the Pig the Pug series, which went on to be wildly popular and has sold millions of copies around the world across the 10 books in the series. His second book in the Scholastic deal, Thelma the Unicorn, is being developed into an animated musical movie adaption by Netflix, with Blabey as executive producer, set for release in 2024. In 2015, Blabey published the first two instalments of his best-selling graphic novel series for junior readers, The Bad Guys. This series has gone on to span 17 books and sell over 25 million copies worldwide, spending over 120 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. An animated feature film adaption of The Bad Guys, again with Blabey as executive producer, was released in 2022. Blabey’s latest series is Cat on the Run.

Following the success of his books and illustrations, Blabey was able to leave the advertising industry behind and writes and paints full-time. He illustrates all his children’s book series, including Pig the Pug, The Bad Guys, Cat on the Run and Thelma the Unicorn. He currently lives and works in Katoomba.

Blabey held six solo exhibitions of his paintings between 2004 and 2006. Blabey’s artwork won the Best Designed Children’s Cover of the Year by the Australian Publisher’s Association in 2013. He was winner of The Children's Book Council of Australia Early Childhood Prize book of the year for Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley in 2008. The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon won the Patricia Wrightson Award in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards and also won a Children's Peace Literature Award in 2013. The Bad Guys won the INDIE books award for Best Children’s Book in 2016. Blabey has been included on the Smithsonian Institute's Notable Book List and has been a National Literacy Ambassador.

Blabey has won acclaim for his unique paintings of the female form. He is a lover of all women and paints them with swirling curves doing everyday things. Having worked for 13 years in film, TV and theatre, and having viewed the ruthless entertainment industry from within, he became appalled by its concept of body image, the stress that it put on his female colleagues to comply, and the insecurities it caused: “The entertainment industry creates the most extreme scenario for women to have the spotlight on their imperfections, and it never ceases to amaze me how the most divine, curvy, feminine goddess can be made to feel ‘fat’ or ‘ugly’.”

This was the starting point for his exploration of a central character, the ‘dark haired girl’. She first appeared in 2004 in a solo show in Adelaide and was received very well. The paintings are stark, devoid of any element other than the figure in an empty space. A later series places her in the bathroom, bedroom and lounge. His work is a celebration of imperfect feminine beauty in all its forms. He glorifies woman, insecurities and all, in the face of the media’s relentless promotion of unrealistic perfection. To him, all females are divine, curvy, feminine goddesses. ****

Blabey has also created a series of paintings entitled ‘Small’ based on the innocence of children and imagination. Suggestive of some paintings in this series of balancing on a tightrope, Blabey has said: “I’ve felt essentially like a tight-rope walker for my entire adult life”. ***

Blabey’s works are held in private Collections in Sydney and Melbourne. * Aaron Blabey, My Book Corner, Emma Perry ** How author Aaron Blabey found happiness through greedy and selfish Pig the Pug, Michael Evans, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 June 2016 *** Aaron Blabey makes books for children, Dumbo Feather, Kate Bezar, 1 July 2009 **** Just a figure of Cheech, Simon Plant, The Herald Sun, 5 September 2005

To read more about Aaron's Acting, Painting, Writing & Illustration career follow this link.



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