Tag Archives: australian artist

Michael Zavros & Sean O’Pry

5 Jul

Self Portrait as Saint with Sean O’Pry by Michael Zavros

Beauty, Fashion & Luxury

When I see Sean O’Pry, Versace and Michael Zavros together, I want to know more. You may remember my interview with artist, Michael Zavros, from a while back (read here). Michael is an amazing artist, alongside being a man of class and style. A gentleman who creates luxurious artworks that blow your mind every time you see them. His attention to detail and ability to make you feel such emotion when you are viewing his works is simply wonderful. Sean O’Pry was featured in my Top 5 Male Models story and a model that I have been showing on The Man Has Style since the beginning. Of course, I have also shown Versace throughout the past few years here, how could I not?

So, when I learned that Michael Zavros was working with Sean O’Pry on his new collection of artworks, and Versace was in there also, I was so thrilled. The end result is spectacular, the images are amazing! Once I had seen them, I had to contact Michael to find out more and share with the readers of The Man Has Style.

Self Portrait with Sean O'Pry/Versace by Michael Zavros

Self Portrait with Sean O’Pry/Versace by Michael Zavros

TMHS: Sean O’Pry, Versace and Michael Zavros is a wonderful combination and one I had to know more about. How did this all come about and what was your inspiration behind this?

MZ: I’ve long held an interest in beauty, fashion and luxury and also in how life and art intersect. I met O’Pry in Los Angeles en route to New York from Milan quite serendipitously after actively seeking the model for some three months whilst in resident in the Australia Council Greene Street studio in Soho.

O’Pry is highly sough after for print and catwalk. At the time, he was the star of Taylor Swift’s current film clip, Blank Space. His beauty has become iconic and bankable – he is the patron saint of contemporary culture’s obsession with youth and beauty. In my photographer, Self Portrait as Saint with Sean O’Pry/Versace, O’Pry holds aloft his own makeshift halo, a gilded Versace plate, while he is formally beatified by the adoring gaze of the viewer. Discus Thrower with Sean O’Pry/Versace references art history, specifically the original Classical Greek sculpture held by the British Museum (discobulus), making analogies between O’Pry and the sacred Greek concept of perfect Hellenic proportions.

In Self Portrait with Sean O’Pry, the model wears a t-shirt with a hand drawn logo. O’Pry adopts a classic model pose of casual insouciance as he endorses the brand on the t-shirt (Zavros). He, and we, are in collusion; the consumed and the consumer. But what exactly is for sale? Is this an advertisement or a self-portrait, in which O’Pry is my avatar? Perhaps both. My work explores narcissism. O’Pry is the embodiment of a projected perfection.

Discus Thrower with Sean O'Pry/Versace

Discus Thrower with Sean O’Pry/Versace

TMHS: Your paintings often look like photographs with so much detail and you have the ability to bring an artwork to life. Saying this, there has been much talk of whether these particular works are paintings or photographs, can you clear up for those who don’t know?

MZ: The works in question are photographs, although I anticipate they may form part of a larger project with Sean. I enjoy the connection between painting and photography, both mimicking and extending each other. Importantly, the photographs of Sean referenced classical painting and portraiture. 


On the cover of Australia Art Monthly

TMHS: You are on the cover of two art publications; Art Collector and Australia Art Monthly. How does it feel being on both of these around the same time?

MZ: It’s exciting to see the new work embraced in a critical way via a medium I’m less know for. The project with Sean marks quite a shift in my practice in so many ways.


On the cover of Art Collector magazine

TMHS: Any exhibitions or other events you would like to share where people can see your works?

MZ: My work will be included in GOMAQ at Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) next month, following this, a group exhibition with my Auckland gallery, Stark White at Sydney Contemporary in September, and then the Adelaide Biennale at Art Gallery of South Australia next Feburary.

TMHS: Where can readers of The Man Has Style purchase your artwork?

MZ: Currently, I’m represented in Australia by Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane and in New Zealand with Starkwhite, Auckland. 

Follow Michael Zavros on Instagram: @michaelzavros

Michael Zavros website: www.michaelzavros.com

Follow Sean O’Pry on Instagram: @seanopry55

A note from TMHS: Michael also shared with some great behind the scene shots.


Michael Zavros / Sean O’Pry – Behind the Scenes

Michael Zavros / Sean O'Pry - Behind the Scenes

Michael Zavros / Sean O’Pry – Behind the Scenes

Michael Zavros / Sean O'Pry - Behind the Scenes

Michael Zavros / Sean O’Pry – Behind the Scenes

Michael Zavros / Sean O'Pry - Behind the Scenes

Michael Zavros / Sean O’Pry – Behind the Scenes

Michael Zavros / Sean O'Pry - Behind the Scenes

Michael Zavros / Sean O’Pry – Behind the Scenes

Michael Zavros / Sean O'Pry - Behind the Scenes

Michael Zavros / Sean O’Pry – Behind the Scenes

Michael Zavros / Sean O'Pry - Behind the Scenes

Michael Zavros / Sean O’Pry – Behind the Scenes

Words by Sarah Crawford, Editor, The Man Has Style

Follow The Man Has Style on Instagram: @themanhasstyle

For all editorial enquiries please contact: editorial@themanhasstyle.com

The Luxury of Michael Zavros

25 Feb
© Michael Zavros -  Bad Dad - Oil on canvas - 110cm x 150cm - Finalist in The Archibald Prize 2013

© Michael Zavros – Bad Dad
Oil on canvas – 110cm x 150cm / Finalist in The Archibald Prize 2013

Australian Artist Michael Zavros always seems to keep me at a loss for words.  I am fascinated with detail and luxury, from a view of the time it takes to design or create, and the beauty of the finished product.  His paintings are exquisite.  The realism quite spectacular, taking you to a world of the most beautiful of luxuries and the depths of the most lavish dreams.  When I see the images online I spend so long looking at every detail.  There is so much detail.  However, in person, when you see the artworks in front of you, the detail becomes even more apparent and it is then I am truly lost for words.  My mind is almost silenced and I feel hypnotised by the world he has created.  Michael Zavros is truly an amazing and talented artist.  I recently caught up with Michael so I could share with you more about his inspirations and why he is attracted to this luxury and style.

© Michael Zavros - The Lobster - Oil on canvas 120cm x 150cm

© Michael Zavros – The Lobster – Oil on canvas 120cm x 150cm


TMHS: Luxury and style are key elements in so many of your artworks. What attracts you to both of these things?

MZ: I think that I am probably just interested in what could be described as a European aesthetic. I probably respond more to beauty. I am drawn to luxury objects partly because most often they are borne of a kind of artisanship, they are usually very well made and often by hand. I think this is what differentiates expensive things with luxurious things. The term luxury is certainly misused and frequently. To paraphrase Andy Warhol’s observation on beauty, if everything is luxurious then nothing is. Luxury and its trappings becomes almost part of a performance between the subject matter in the work, its application and my life as an artist.

TMHS: You have achieved some amazing accomplishments in your career. What stands out to you as one that is particularly special?

MZ: Thank you. I never really allow myself to navel gaze but certainly the Moran Art Prize was a great professional moment for me, and I loved working with my daughter Phoebe to realise it. The Bulgari Art Award was another very major achievement for me and the residency that followed was so influential. Bulgari are an incredible company and I feel almost as though I have become part of their family.

© Michael Zavros - Phoebe is Dead/McQueen - Douglas Moran National Portrait Prize Winner

© Michael Zavros – Phoebe is Dead/McQueen – Douglas Moran National Portrait Prize Winner

(see the Bulgari Art Award image and details here – www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/181.2012 )

TMHS: Family plays a big part in your life. How have they become part of your art practice?

MZ: Having three children means I have less time than before and this has had a big impact on my work which is very time consuming, but actually since they came along I have made more work than ever before. I waste very little time now. They influence me too in all sorts of ways, some explicit and some implied, but I do find myself looking to my children more as the source of work. I work often with my eldest, Phoebe, in particular. We clash over homework but in the studio we are very simpatico. She is very intuitive about what I am trying to achieve and she really gets into the process.

TMHS: I particularly like the recent Charmer exhibition at Philip Bacon Galleries. Amazing luxury designer ties that look like cobras. Tell me more about this series.

MZ: The ties are really about seduction and the lure of beauty and of course luxury. I like ties and I have big collection of them. Many I inherited or bought, vintage. They’re such curious ribbons of silk decorated sometimes with elaborate patterning and they have always seemed to me snake-like in their design, like a cobra at the thicker end, its hood flaring as it is being charmed. But they are the charmers, charming me as I paint and they charm their audience, trading in a desire for the work itself.

© Michael Zavros - Charmer / Versace - Oil on canvas 77cm x 55cm

© Michael Zavros – Charmer / Versace – Oil on canvas 77cm x 55cm

© Michael Zavros - Charmer / Versace - Oil on canvas 77cm x 55cm (detail)

© Michael Zavros – Charmer / Versace – Oil on canvas 77cm x 55cm (detail)


TMHS: The Debaser series is one I always look back to. The men’s facial features are blocked out. What does this represent?

MZ: I sought to remove that which made those models relevant. Beauty and youth are paramount in contemporary culture, they have a currency all of their own, and I wanted to destabilise that and negate it somewhat. It’s sort of perverse to invest so much work in something such as this only to remove it. Of course the charcoal can never be completely erased, it stains the paper and so I’m left with a ghost mark of both the drawing and person.

© Michael Zavros - Debaser Burberry Prorsum - 122cm x 86cm

© Michael Zavros – Debaser Burberry Prorsum – Charcoal on paper – 122cm x 86cm

TMHS: I am a big fan of your personal style. You dress impeccably at your exhibition openings and in every photo I see you in. Who inspires you to dress so well and who are some of your favourite designers?

MZ: In recent years I can afford to buy Italian suits or have something tailor-made, which is a true luxury. Mostly I like classical simple tailoring, but with flair, I like a colour or pattern. I admire the men captured in Slim Aarons photographs from the 70s and 80s, European aristocrats or tycoons reclining on yachts or by their pools or with their horses and children. They’re real men, hirsute peacocks in little short swimming trunks or effortless in pink linen suits, cravats or dinner suits. I like Etro a lot, also Gucci and Ferragamo. And I like Versace for its audacious 1980s Euro style.

TMHS: Three things you can’t do without in your day?

MZ: Coffee. Eggs. ABC Radio National.

See more of Michael Zavros at www.michaelzavros.com

Be sure to follow Michael on Instagram: www.instagram.com/michaelzavros  – @michaelzavros

The Art & Inspiration of George Raftopoulos

19 Oct
George Raftopoulos  |  le courage  |  18cm x 25cm  |  mixed media on canvas

George Raftopoulos | le courage | 18cm x 25cm | mixed media on canvas

What a pleasure it has been to not only have had my eyes opened to the artwork of George Raftopoulos but also to be able to be part of his audience via Instagram and get to know him over time. It was a few years ago I was introduced to George’s artwork via a gallery I was managing. I felt an instant connection to his works. His paintings resonate with me in so many ways. His use of line creates a sense of strength and freedom while there is a looseness in his work; along-side a sense of placement and belonging. I love his use of colour and automatically sense so many feelings from this. I find myself completely hypnotised by so many of the paintings that it takes me to another place, inspiring me in my own pursuits and making me reflect on the past as well as the exciting future.

Over the past year or so I have started to know George more. What I love is George’s passion for not only his art, but his family and their life together. When we caught up for a Skype call recently, he was out for the morning with his wife and two daughters. I find it wonderful to see such a strong family bond and everyone part of the creativity, inspiring each other every day. It was great to chat more to George about his artworks and inspiration.

George Raftopoulos

George Raftopoulos

TMHS: Tell me a little of your background and how it influenced you to pursue a career as an artist.

GR: My background is one of many, many layers… and in hindsight I feel blessed to have such a background! I grew up in a rural town, 4.5 hrs south west of Sydney. It was quite an eye opener, one which instilled in me an appreciation for the land. I also believe it forced me to look at my Greek-ness with earnest as we were the only Greeks in the town, so apart from my immediate family, I had never met a Greek person or its cultural aspersions ever in my life. Thus, being so removed from it, I found it fuelled my fire to learn the language; to read and write. Consequently, I am appreciative of this time in the rural areas as it taught me to respect and encompass all that rural life represents.


TMHS: You are quite close to your wife and two daughters.  What part do they play in the overall process for creating artworks?  Are they actively involved? Tell me some more of their influence on your life as an artist.

GR: My wife is my biggest critic and advocate!! Indelibly I know or recognise when certain works are not working. However, she is my constant and my confidant, not only to pull me out of the creative fire, but in life. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to her for this. She is an amazingly strong woman; and kudos to that! Further, we live in a creatively rich household and our two daughters celebrate this divine madness with us daily. They believe in the notion of ‘freedom in expression’, which is what we instil in our existence, so for this it is important to our psyche.

George Raftopoulos  |  Freedom is Paramount So Take Flight  |  183cm x 183cm | Oil on Vellum

George Raftopoulos | Freedom is Paramount So Take Flight | 183cm x 183cm | Oil on Vellum

TMHS: Are you quite planned with your artworks or more spontaneous?

GR: Absolutely, categorically NOT!!  The best things happen by pure accident. Plans are only meant to be broken! I attack a canvas without pre-planning, only with pure gusto and intent relying on intuition to guide me through it’s path. I am the vehicle for expression, so therefore I rely heavily on my ‘gut’ instinct.


TMHS: Are you drawn to certain colours when painting?  If so, tell me more about this.

GR: Usually I reference something I have noted from memory. For example, of late I have been utilising flouro pink in reference to its association with referencing safety buoys in the water to warn people of danger etc, as they bobble up and down against a Paynes grey sky. I love that this flouro, lurid colour signifies something different to so many people, yet it still alerts them to something. It has a universal meaning, therefore I am translating this meaning into my work.


TMHS: You currently live in Sydney however have spent time working and living in New York.  How do the two locations compare for you as an Artist?

GR: New York can be cold and impersonal. It also can be sterile. We were there on and off for five years traveling like Gypsy’s between here and Sydney. It is this notion of movement that excites me… where it be Sydney and NY or LA and Sydney as long as I am moving I am happy. To compare the two would be difficult, however there is one universal truth; people are people no matter where you are!!! The only highlight is that NY has a established art world that far surpasses that of the Australian system at present. However, with time Australia will have it’s time in the sun akin to the Chinese and the Russians, and when it happens I will be waiting!!!

George Raftopoulos | ClouδΣ

George Raftopoulos | ClouδΣ

TMHS: What has been, or still is the biggest influence on your career?

GR: Travel and the notion that anything is possible!!!! BE FEARLESS and attack everything with GUSTO. When people say NO, allow that to fuel your fire to a YES!!!!


TMHS: Do you listen to music when you are painting? If so, what might one hear if they were in your studio when you are painting?

GR: My tastes are eclectic as I think It would be unfair to pin point one movement of music. However, a huge influence has been the onset of Internet radio whereby I can now listen the BBC Proms, or a Jazz station in France with French Arabic Rai, or Rap music!!!! Intrinsically music serves as a tool to send us somewhere via memory or thought, therefore this is an automatic thought process for me whilst immersing in music!!


TMHS: Three things you can’t do without in your day?!

GR: Water, a kiss from girls, and fresh air!!!


TMHS: I consider you quite a stylish man on so many levels.  How do you define style?

GR: Style is the ability to be open to be eclectic in ones choices. Style is made up of so many classic moments… and it is how one embraces those moments that style is formed.


TMHS: Favourite item of clothing?

GR: My bottle Green MIU MIU suit that I purchased when I was 20. It still fits, it is a classic and I still wear it today!

George Raftopoulos  |  Piffy Birdie & Bing  |  120cm x 180cm  |  Oil on Linen

George Raftopoulos | Piffy Birdie & Bing | 120cm x 180cm | Oil on Linen

TMHS: Any up and coming exhibitions you are involved in?

GR: I have a few that I am working presently. One in particular that I am excited about is that with my wife as she is completing her MFA in Arts Administration here in Sydney at COFA. We have been discussing doing an exciting project between here and China. It is in its early stages but will be developed by next year!


TMHS: Where can people see your artwork?

GR: Well currently I am private and my works are being held under wraps until I am ready to unleash them onto the world…..I have forcibly removed myself from the commercial sphere. I am taking a sabbatical which I think is a healthy proposition. As my work is under Flux!!!


TMHS: Where can people find you online?

GR: I am an Instagram junkie… so my craziness which represents the every day thought process is there for all to see however the finished product is quite private!!
(TMHS: Find George on instagram @graftopoulos)

George Raftopoulos  |  One by One  |  132cm x 157cm  |  Oil on Japanese Linen

George Raftopoulos | One by One | 132cm x 157cm | Oil on Japanese Linen

TMHS: Any final words for readers of The Man Has Style?

GR: I believe that style is a cultured notion and is successful when it is eclectic. Style embodies a person’s everyday; it either finds you; caresses you in every way either via your output i.e. ART or dress; or it eludes you and one is left celebrating other people’s style. I certainly know which side of the style fence I sit on…


Find more on George Raftopoulos at www.georgeraftopoulos.com



Nick Batchelor : An Artist to Watch

8 Jun
Nick Batchelor :: Vacheron Constantin World Time Watch

Nick Batchelor :: Vacheron Constantin World Time Watch

In 2010 whilst I was managing an art gallery I was introduced to the artwork of Mr Nick Batchelor.  Over the next few years I have followed his works, completely falling in love with his beautifully drawn watches.  Each watch is drawn with precision, capturing the essence and detail of the timepiece. I recently caught up with Nick to talk to him about his artworks and his latest commission for the famed Jerry Lewis.

I asked Nick what inspired him to start drawing watches.  “A man’s watch is undoubtedly the mainstay in men’s fashion accessories.  It’s a highly sophisticated and intricate piece of technology that is often overlooked, except for the wearer. Form follows function but both are critical to its appeal as both a fashion item and as one of the most intricate and accurate pieces of technology.”  His favourite watch he has drawn is the ultimate in excess and luxury – the Vacheron Constantin World Time Watch.

Jerry Lewis is the latest to own a Nick Batchelor original commissioned piece.  The subject of the artwork, a Bueche Girod, ended up being one of Jerry’s prized items.  “It is quite a traditional style being small and slender with a black leather band with a gold housing and clasp.  However it is very unique in the fact that it has a double face. I’ve never seen anything similar,” said Batchelor.  The drawing for Jerry Lewis is pencil on paper 420mm x 297mm and truly beautiful.

Nick Batchelor :: Beuche Girod for Jerry Lewis

Nick Batchelor :: Bueche Girod for Jerry Lewis

A favourite of Nick’s is the WeWOOD Date Black made from Tasmanian Blackwood.  A beautiful 100% natural wood watch with a 42mm face that is simple yet striking you can see why he would be drawn to this timepiece.

Nick has come a long way since completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts at Queensland College of Art in Australia in 2003.  Graduating with Honours he went on to start clothing label Art Policia with a few friends from University.  Moving on from this he studied graphic/digital design at CATC, working with design agencies in Australia and with a publishing house in London for a few years.  On return to Australia he was a founder of Frosting Magazine, a fashion magazine based solely on Australian and International jewelry and watch design.  A perfect fit for an admirer of watches.  Now based on the Gold Coast Australia, Batchelor runs a digital design studio Italics Bold, specializing in helping businesses thrive on the web.

Nick’s inspiration is in the form of “Art that asks questions and Design that solves problems.”  Taking inspiration from mechanical process through human invention and the artistic slant, he has a cross-disciplinary approach gathering inspiration from all his surrounds. Technology, fashion, architecture, furniture design, digital media, product design, science, travel and music all keep his inspiration flowing.

Nick is represented by the highly respected Australian Art Consultant, Lorraine Pilgrim.  I asked Nick how Lorraine has helped him in his journey as an artist. “Lorraine is a saviour. Her endless support for her stable of artists is invaluable. I started working with her in 2008 and she has always fostered and encouraged me to create my art, even when the time limits associated with business and life often seem encompassing.”

I threw a few other questions at Nick just for fun.

TMHS: What is the one item of clothing you can’t do without?

NB: A pair of black straight leg jeans.

TMHS: Three things you use most in your day?

NB: My iMac, a recently purchased Stateline Ergoform chair and a Retro 1951 Hex-O-Matic pacer.

TMHS: Do you listen to music while you are drawing?

NB: There is always some music playing, usually something from this Spotify playlist – here

TMHS: A favourite quote?

NB: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result” – Albert Einstein.

Nick Batchelor :: Albert Einsteins Longines Pocket Watch

Nick Batchelor :: Albert Einsteins Longines Pocket Watch

Nick Batchelor :: Calibre de Cartier

Nick Batchelor :: Calibre de Cartier

Nick Batchelor :: Tag Heuer Monaco Twenty Four Calibre 36

Nick Batchelor :: Tag Heuer Monaco Twenty Four Calibre 36

Nick Batchelor is part of the ‘Ya Gotta ‘Ave Art’ group exhibition presented by Lorraine Pilgrim, 29 June – 12 August, 2013 at Studio 87 on the Gold Coast, Australia.  All enquiries and more information to Lorraine Pilgrim – lorraine@lorrainepilgrim.com – www.lorrainepilgrim.com

See more of Nick Batchelor’s artwork via links below or by clicking on any of the images.



Nick Batchelor :: Tag Heuer Calibre 5

Nick Batchelor :: Tag Heuer Calibre 5

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