Art a lifeline for abuse survivor Bruce Templeton

On two separate occasions he was sent to the infamous St Vincent’s Boys’ Home as punishment, which he describes as a “walk in the park” in relation to living with his host family.

As a child, Templeton drew (mostly motorcycles) as a form of escape. The archives of his parish show his self-taught interest in art and his refusal to learn to draw: “His approach to art seems to be personal and he reacted really badly when he was told to draw” , he says.

“I don’t like being told what to do,” Templeton said with a chuckle. And he is direct about what it would be without his work: “I would be dead,” he said simply.

As an adult, he was homeless for a period, then joined the military, but found it too restrictive. So he became a stripper (he made his own construction worker costume) and traveled all over Victoria and Australia under the name “Jimbo” with the “Crystal T’s” .

Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, Templeton now uses a wheelchair but still manages to get out often to draw his favorite subject, landscapes.

It also uses magazine photos and even still images from television programs (the ABC Phone is a favorite) as the basis for the images.

Templeton received a set of Derwent colored pencils from Open Place, a ‘Forgotten Australians’ organization, and decided to start drawing in color, but almost wore them out.

Her artistic goal is to get one of her images onto a box of Derwent pencils, made by a British company. “I will write to them and tell them that they would sell a lot more pencils in Australia if they used an Australian artist.”

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Romona L. Lopez

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