Painters John Olsen & Ben Quilty in conversation

Painters Ben Quilty and John Olsen chat on what it is to place their careers regionally, to face depression (or not), and the role mentorship plays in shaping legacies.

Are painters Ben Quilty and John Olsen so dissimilar? Sure, they may be a generation (or two) apart, but they both engage with the world around them – its joys and its darker side – with a creative passion that is rivalled by few.

The pair met 15 years ago, and share a regular drink together. What do they chat about? ArtsHub spoke to them on the occasion of Olsen’s exhibition Goya’s Dog at Ngununggula, on what it is to place their careers regionally; facing depression (or not), and the role mentorship plays in shaping legacies.

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Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina