From adversity to diversity

On the 26th January 2011 Greg Wilson received an OAM (Order of the Medal of Australia). He was recognised for his work with the arts and for his representative role on Mental Health issues.

At age 24, Greg Wilson was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident in Paddington, severing the main artery in his neck and being pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene before they were able to bring him back to life.

During a traumatic four-year recovery period, plagued by depression, anger and confusion, he called upon previously acquired skills in art and woodwork to begin sculpting and painting. It was the beginning of an exciting and rewarding journey.

The fragility of life, the joy of simply being alive, a newfound awareness of the beauty of nature, as well as reflections on his near-death experience became the inspiration for his work. “My work is more than a work of art; it is a work of the heart,” he said.

Possessed by a new zest for living, he refused to confine himself to a single theme or medium – and his creativity is expressed in a wide range of paintings and sculptures. Critics at home have dubbed him the “Rebel of the Art World,” acknowledging this diversity. Unafraid to be spontaneous and free, the artist uses a multitude of media to create his works.

My Brush with Depression – the Greg Wilson story is an autobiographical account of the artist’s extraordinary rise to prominence. The book was officially launched in Canberra by the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. John Howard, and by the Minister for Education, the Hon. Dr. Brendan Nelson MP.

More recently, Greg was commissioned to paint an official portrait of Nelson Mandela for his 90th birthday. The painting was given to the world leader as a gift from Australia, and now hangs proudly in Mandela’s home in South Africa.

In addition to his career as an artist, Greg acts as a spokesperson for Mental Health issues. He is an ambassador for the Westmead Children’s Hospital, an ambassador for the Mental Health Association of NSW, an ambassador for the Children’s Cancer Institue Australia and he is also a supporter of Friends of Australia, a Tourism Australia initiative.

His inspirational message: happiness can be achieved, even against the greatest odds.