BY: VANESSA ROBERTS
Follow the cobblestones through Sydney’s historic ‘The Rocks’ area and you’ll discover a three story white cottage, housing the artworks of Graham Atwell, the digital artist better known as ‘ATTY’.
One of Sydney’s most sought-after artists, ATTY is best known for creating stunning animal artworks with serious personality, from hares to emus and giraffes, and every other creature in between.
Once the residence of a colonial worker in 1877, this quirky building which is located between the Opera House and Harbour Bridge is a self-proclaimed “animal sanctuary” – after all, it is home to a family of Australian, farm and African wildlife all nestling under the same roof.
These signature designs come to life after a meticulous, painstaking process, something ATTY admits does not come naturally. He spends countless hours on each artwork, working in three phases until each one is executed perfectly.
A former central London cop and Sydney resident for over a decade, ATTY’s switch from the MET Police to the art world is an unconventional and as fascinating as his work itself.
Most of his animals take 150 to 250 hours to complete but his latest conception, an elephant, known as Winston took
around 695 hours.
Each ATTY piece is uniquely different. To ATTY, the characters he creates – after hours of love, come to life and develop their own personalities.
“I never name my animal until I see it printed for the first time, I guess this a similar process to what many parents go through. These guys and girls are like my babies; it’s critical the right name goes to the right animal” says ATTY.
ATTY’s creative ability is that he can instill nostalgic emotions through his works and characters which, for this reason, the purchase of these pieces is not considered a transaction but an ‘adoption’. Once home, the chosen piece will become an integral part of the family.
ATTY’s work has been adopted in over 40 countries on every continent and welcomed into new homes by people from all walks of life.
What keeps him going is knowing that ‘every time one of my animals is adopted I feel very privileged. It is amazing to know that my beloved animal is going to a loving owner and new home.
Visit ATTY Gallery –
27 Playfair St, The Rocks NSW 2000
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 10:30 am – 6pm
Saturday and Sunday 10:30 am – 5pm