“The Father of Psychedelic Art in Australia” is a man aka Vernon Treweeke. Also the Father of one our artists, Dysphemic, who appeared on the brilliant “Generation Bass Presents Transnational Dubstep” with his great track “Kamikaze”. This peculiar fact was not known to me until recently and I’m not quite sure why Dysphemic did not himself introduce us to his father’s wonderful, mind-blowing and unique art.
Vernon Treweeke sadly passed away in March 2015 and he led a reclusive life in the Blue Mountains in Australia. Vice did a great piece on him a few years back together with an interview which you should take time to read HERE.
Vernon spent his formative years in London in the 60’s hanging out with the likes of David Hockney. The man later shied away from the art world for pretty much the same kind of reasons some of us here at Generation Bass shy away from being in the focal point of this underground club scene – because we do it for us and not for commercial reasons.
His reasons for dropping out of the art world and joining the alternative life was because as he put it “I found out that people were buying my paintings—not necessarily because they liked them but because they were a tax deductible purchase—a case of capitalist corruption basically. I’m a Socialist by nature and politically a member of the Labour party and this just seemed really wrong to me. Why should wealthy people be able to avoid paying tax by buying art and why should art be treated like a charity? The whole thing just disturbed me. Of course it made some artists fabulously rich but I decided I was done.”
After dropping out of the art world, Vernon set up home and started a family, he got a job on the railways and was there for 28 years until he retired some years ago.
After moving to the mountains, he drew inspiration from his new surroundings to continue painting as the mountains seemed to attract astrologers and UFO watchers who claimed to have seen them in the mountains. This made Vernon think about it a lot because space ships or UFOs have appeared in a lot of his work and also, his wife was born in Egypt and so you’ll see things like camels and pyramids also popping up in his work.
As stated above, sadly Vernon died in March of last year and of course that is a sadness in itself but I feel even sadder about it that I only discovered his work after his death and didn’t have a chance to talk with the dude.
Vernon’s art is something really special and his use of space, ufo’s and Transnational imagery using ultra-violet light and fluorescent paint gave his paintings an other-worldly vibe as they effectively turn on; they glow in the dark. He later moved on to make three-dimensional pieces which were meant to looked at through 3D glasses.
This man was an unbelievable talent and his work is something that really appeals to my sensibilities and tastes. Like most things in life, the hidden gems only get discovered after they have long passed and have been unjustifiably & cruelly ignored by the world. Vernon’s work will continue to shine on for many years to come in the darkest of places in this cruel world helping to illuminate the beauty that can sometimes be found within it.
In the ’60s, Vernon Treweeke was a radical psychedelic artist whose work was bought by the National Gallery of Australia, but a decade later, this emerging artist vanished overnight to become a recluse.