‘My partner Gary passed away in 1990 and left me $10,000 – but he said that I should use the money for my art. I was a butcher at the time and had been studying art as a hobby at night. I’d always wanted to go to National Art School so he left me the money and said I should apply and go. I got accepted and spent three years doing my Bachelor’s degree there and it was terrific.

‘It was the catalyst for me to be in the position in the art world I’m in today. I started the Lennox Street Art Studios 20 years ago with another artist called Steven Perrin. We now have 36 artists here. Gary would be so very proud of the studios – he’d be very, very happy.

‘For a city like Sydney, having accessible art studios like this is very important – there should be more of them. A city is not just big business – it’s about communities and being creative. Imagine a boring city with nothing but big business – how boring would that be? You need places like Newtown where there are creative people around and there’s variety in style.’

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