ArtChat [Blog Interview #76] – Dean Reilly – Looking for Fantastic

On Friday 9 October, Red Hill Gallery, Brisbane will open its doors for an exciting new exhibition featuring the one and only Dean Reilly. With an eclectic mixture of works, his latest exhibition ‘Looking for Fantastic’ is bound to be just that, Fantastic.

Dean Reilly Renaissance Man 2015Having been a finalist in two of Australia’s most prestigious art awards, the Archibald and the Doug Moran portrait prize, Dean Reilly is vastly becoming one of Australia’s sort after artists. With several successful solo and group exhibitions under his belt, this is bound to be a big one.

A classically trained artist and graduate of the Australian Design College, Dean’s works are highly acclaimed for their style, design and variation. His paintings are part of many prestigious collections all over the world and he continues to delight with his unique approach to painting.

Red Hill Gallery Curator and Director Margaret Campbell-Ryder believes Reilly is a quality collectable artist with an amazing future.

“‘Looking for Fantastic’ isn’t just the exhibition name; it is the eternal idea encompassing this exciting new study of works. Each piece is fantastic and shows the outstanding journey Reilly has been on,” Campbell-Ryder said.

“We do not see the images and ideas of our minds, we imagine them. They are blurred and morphed into feelings mostly unexplained. Like dreams, they are remembered and sometimes forgotten. They float like balloons in a magical sky. The exhibition is of my meanderings through that magical sky. I am looking for fantastic.” Dean Reilly


AC:  Where does the exhibition name ‘Looking For Fantastic’ originate from?

DR: It came from the word itself, in the beginning there was the word ‘fantastic’ – imaginative or fanciful remote from reality or extraordinarily attractive, I decided to look for it.

AC:  You have an eclectic mix of work for this exhibition. What was the inspiration behind the body of works?

DR: I really wanted to lift my work to the next level the only way to do this was to aim for the ‘fantastic’.

AC:  If you could be anything, what would you be?

DR:  Fantastic.


AC:  As an artist, what was the best piece of advice you ever received?

DR: No way, is way and no limitation is the limitation (Bruce Lee).

AC:  If you could choose 4 people to have dinner with, who would you choose?

DR: Bruce Lee, Jesus Christ, Kerry Packer and Ayn Rand. I would take them to a great restaurant called ‘Bridges’ in Ubud, Bali.

AC:  What is your favourite TV Show at the moment?

DR: ‘Sorry’ Game of Thrones, it is fantastic.

AC:  You display a wonderful sense humour in your paintings is there one particular piece in this exhibition that displays this the most.

DR: “The possibility of humour in the mind of someone serious”.  Poker dots on a man eater, certainly isn’t serious.  It started off as an ode to Damian Hirst and his twelve million dollar shark. It grew in relevance with Mick Fanning Shark attack and the current media coverage of all shark attacks in Australia.

Reilly Dean 41395 The Possibility of humour in the mind of someone serious 210x85cm Low Red

AC:  Recently you have been painting people with bird houses, floral bouquets and other different items for heads. What was the process behind this specific style?

DR: The whole exhibition explores the notion and the complexities of personalities which I thought could be expressed through a juxtaposition of different elements. I really like the feeling they give rather than what they are.

AC:  Your style sometimes seems futuristic in a sense, where do you see yourself in the future?

DR: Still looking for fantastic, as fantastic is a shifting horizon that will always be in the future.

AC: Who is your favourite Super Hero?

DR: Bond, James Bond, great suits, can’t beat a hero with style.

AC:  You have painted a compelling series of faces, you obviously enjoy studying people, but how do you put a name to a face?

DR:  You must remember these people don’t exist, they are fabricated personalities and they are inspired by media pseudonyms.


AC:  The men in our works are cultured, cultivated, conversant and renaissance, so how would you describe yourself?

DR: Dreamer, Doer but I wish I was a Debonair.

AC:  Looking for Fantastic….. So did you find it?………. We think you did!

DR: I found fragments of it in every painting – it is the journey of finding it that makes it fantastic.

Looking for Fantastic continues at Red Hill Gallery, 61 Musgrave Road, Red Hill until Sunday 25 October 2015. Make sure you don’t miss out on this fantastic exhibition!


© Red Hill Gallery


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