Richard McLean is a male artist born in Australia, currently working in Australia.
Richard McLean image

Richard McLean’s artistry evolved with the completion of a Bachelor of Fine Art from Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, (Drawing), with a sideline of ceramics.

It was during and after this phase that his art practice took a different turn-with the digitization of his work, co-inciding with the onset of schizophrenia when he was 20 years old.

The art he made during this time was published in the autobiographical account of recovery, in ‘Recovered, Not Cured, a journey through schizophrenia’, (Allen and Unwin, 2003), which was awarded a human rights award from the HREOC, and nominated SANE Australia’s ‘Book of the year’, prompting a long relationship with the organization.

Not to be held back from his illness, after much travel and more study, he was employed by the two main newspapers in his hometown Melbourne, Australia, by ‘The Herald Sun’ and ‘The Age’ newspapers respectively, specializing in news graphics and illustration.

His private art practice did not stop, however, and he has constantly been exhibiting in solo, and group shows, since 1995. At one point he utilized the computer based medium to diversify into short film-making.

The sideline from his artistry reflecting periods of ‘dis-chordancy’, led to the filming of a documentary on his life and visual practice, by The Cunningham Dax Collection. Entitled ‘Collected Thoughts 3’, the film is distributed as a resource mostly for young people. Previous editions highlighted the art of Graham Doyle, and Renee Sutton, whom Richard admires.

‘I spoke publicly for many years on the role of art and recovery from schizophrenia. Talking about the images was always a good starting point and insight of the time, which people were interested in, and sufferers could relate to. My speaking role also helped a lot of people I think, and was very cathartic, but now I spend my time solely on art practice, without the obvious trauma of years gone by.’

In 2008, Richard published a collection of his works in the book ‘Strange Currencies of Ego and Soul’.

‘As a spiritualist, soul is heaven, ego reflects the darker side of human nature, for it’s corruptible nature, I think the book reflects both these themes.’

He has spoken many times, from places as diverse as Australian Parliament, outback New South Wales, and The School of Religious and Philosophy studies, in Montreal, Canada, where he also exhibited.

He has also spoken extensively with The Mental Health Research Institute on his experience of art making and life experiences with high school students. In 2009 he lectured to national body of the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Team, in which he used his life experiences, and art, to help decide and direct what is appropriate for school curriculum in Australian High Schools.

Richard has since moved on from public speaking and the role his past art played.

Currently working towards an exhibition of traditional drawings, for the show ‘Back to Basics’, he is focussing on traditional art making, and a return to Drawing, in 2011. This new body of work returns to the traditional sensibilities of form and space, using subjects reflecting on circumstance, metaphor, bayside location, and social realism.

These striking drawings represent his joy of image making, also the rhythmic dynamics of light and dark in both a metaphysical and visual sense.

He lives happily with his partner in Melbourne.

He promotes his art making through his website: