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David LAITY (b.1958)

Born in Wangaratta in 1958 David Laity originally trained to be a motor mechanic.  In 1983 he moved to Perth on an extended holiday - whilst in Perth he decided to turn his hobby of drawing cartoons into a career.  His "Rat Race" comic strip was first published in the Perth Western Mail in October 1983.  In 1984 he moved to Shepparton, Victoria where he lived for the next two years - his comic strip was published in the Shepparton News throughout 1984-87.  During this period he also completed a drawing course at the Shepparton Technical and Further Education College.

His cartoons were humorous, non-political observations on daily life.  The Benalla and Shepparton Art Galleries gave him a solo show called "Out on a Limb: an exhibition of cartoons by David Laity" in 1987.  Then followed the publication of "It's a Rat Race" (with foreword by Les Tanner) in 1989. Laity evolved his cartooning so as to include single frame and full colour work - this was to lead to the next stage in his career where in 1993 he took up oil painting.

Laity's paintings have variously been compared, in style and content, to those of Beryl Cook and Jeff Coons.  He is best known for his very stylish, beautifully crafted evocations of female sexuality.  His paintings owe a debt to his earlier career as a cartoonist, in that they have been pared down and crafted through an economy of line and stylised in the manner of caricature.  This is not unlike that of the great Colombian artist Ferdinand Botero.  Botero's signature style, also known as "Boterismo" is characterised by people and figures in large, exaggerated volume.  This description could apply to Laity's paintings which can be seen as, in terms of style and palette, highly sexualised Botero's.

As palpable as the sexuality is in Laity's paintings, they tend not to the offensive - they are a celebration of sensuality presented in a playful and loving manner.  The potential to offend is mitigated by their "Boterismo" style.  These paintings do not present naturalistic portrayals of the female genitalia as say Courbet's "Origin of the World".  Rather, they are beautifully crafted, stylised, exaggerated celebrations of a "sexy", "naughty" female icon.  To quote Laity himself: "I paint what I like.  I like the sensuality and beauty of the feminine form. My works are a celebration of love and intimacy. I am trying to show that sexuality is something that can and should be held".

David Laity's works are much coveted.  He has had many successful solo exhibitions since his first show "Girls" held at Kazbar, Melbourne in 1995.  Largely self-taught, he believes that important things - inspiration, passion and perseverance - cannot be taught but must come from within.


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