A picture paints a thousand words: Australian artists honour the original ‘masters of art’

The ‘FAB FAKES Art Exhibition’ has been a beloved part of the Tuggerah Lakes Art Society since 1998. Bringing together artists from all across Australia, entrants compete to produce the best forgery inspired by masters of art. Due to COVID, this year’s competition is in dire need of community support. (Image source: Tuggerah Lakes Art Society)

By Ashleigh Buck | @ashkbuck

The Tuggerah Lakes Art Society (TLAS) was founded by the late Robert Doyle in 1989. Renowned throughout Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, Doyle was a master of multiple mediums, and he has mentored artists all across Australia.

Brian Hasler, a passionate member of the TLAS, established the Fab Fakes Art Exhibition in 1998. Hasler wanted to encourage artistic diversity. Taking inspiration from those who came before him, he believed the best way to learn art was to mimic the likes of Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh, artists considered ‘masters’ of the craft.  

The aim of Fab Fakes is to imitate or ‘forge’ an established piece of art and trick both the trained and untrained eye. During the nineteenth century this practice was welcomed and even encouraged. This attitude changed as we entered the twentieth century. The art community started to condemn this interpretive style, seeing it as theft and imitations were widely frowned upon.

In Adelaide, several businesses are embracing the philosophy of Fab Fakes. It is clear ‘art forgery’ is back in fashion. Places like Studio Vino and Vintage van Gogh have caught onto the trend, offering popular ‘paint and sip’ experiences that pay tribute to the masters by giving everyone the opportunity to re-create a masterpiece.

The city is also home to the internationally acclaimed Van Gogh Alive exhibit until August 22 2021. The experience promises to immerse visitors in the world and imagination of Van Gogh, allowing you to not only observe his masterpieces but ‘step inside them and feel their power’.

As the world continues to battle restrictions brought on by COVID, the arts industry continues to feel the heat.

According to Queensland artist and Fab Fakes spokesperson Gail Brigden, public support of creatives is essential during these trying times.

“Unfortunately, due to coronavirus, sponsorship for Fab Fakes’ 23rd year has been limited so we really need the community’s help,” she said.

“We felt a fun way to do this [was] to ask people to donate artwork they’re happy to part with.

“[It’s] a great way to potentially pick up a beautiful bargain while supporting the local community.

“Funds will help the much-loved Fab Fakes exhibition to go ahead.”

The Fab Fakes competition is open to all Australians, with entries closing on September 6 2021. All of the reproduced artworks will be offered for sale at Wyong Art House from October 7 2021 to October 14 2021.

To enter, simply download and complete the entry form on the TLAS website or rally your friends and family together and go along to the exhibition.

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