About Owen Lyons
I am a Wiradjuri man, born in Narrandera, New South Wales, on Wiradjuri country, into a family of 10 children.
We lived with my mum and dad at the bottom of the Sandhills in Narrandera, at a place known affectionately as “Down The Lane”.
My father worked on the shire council and my mum was a stay at home mother who kept our corrugated tin sheeted home immaculately clean.
I could not of ask for a better childhood growing up 250 meters from the Murrumbidgee River. Spending time with my cousins on the river down at “Koories Beach” and playing on the Sandhills are memories I will never forget.
Growing into a young man I was a little rowdy and hit the grog spending a lot of time with my brother and mates hitting the pubs in our little town. During this time I worked a few jobs like at the local school, at the Challenge Foundation which was an organisation for young adults with disabilities. I also worked in the shearing sheds which was a great experience I loved this lifestyle – young, free and lots of travel!
At age 27 I settled down and started raising my own family. I have two daughters and a son and am also now a proud grandfather.
My son has schizophrenia and his mental illness is probably what really led me to my career in art. I had to find a way to cope with my sons illness, and my art became my outlet to deal with the chaos and havoc that was now part of our home. My son now lives independently in Wagga Wagga, and is still much loved and comes home regularly for visits.
My passion is helping people who suffer from mental illness or substance abuse, and helping those people who are in the role of carer to those people.
I love the process of creating artworks and using finely detailed dot painting techniques to bring to life my designs in both traditional and contemporary ways.
I have a diverse range of subjects, including creating art that showcases the natural landscape, flora and fauna of Wiradjuri Country, through to creating more contemporary art as a healing journey for me in dealing with my son’s mental illness.
I am a mental health advocate after experiencing first-hand the effects of mental illness on my son, and living with him and helping and encouraging him to live independently. I really want to be able to help others as well, no matter if they are living with mental illness themselves, or are a carer or family member of someone who is.
One of my passions is running art workshops, especially those which have a focus on mental health for both those who are suffering or recovering from mental health or substance abuse issues, or for their carers. I have run a number of workshops and really enjoy the connection with people and opening up a safe space for them to express themselves through art and to have a release in the process of creating art.
I have been running workshops for indigenous recruits at the defence bases in Wagga Wagga. These workshops offer a great opportunity to engage with the new recruits in learning more about the traditional aspects that go into creating artworks, and provide a connection for them. The workshops are very popular and always have a high participation rate.
My artworks have also been in demand by a number of corporate and government bodies, who have commissioned artworks created by me for their premises and office spaces. This is another part of my artistic career that I really enjoy being involved in, as it allows me to bring traditional artwork techniques in conjunction with the corporate brief to create unique and representative artworks for my clients. It also helps to give me a platform to increase awareness of mental health in my advocating for understanding and compassion for those who are facing mental health issues.
I am always exploring new ways to bring my art to the community, and discovering new techniques and mediums for this.