Ian Painter used art to turn his life around after a workplace accident left him with nothing
Ian Painter used art to turn his life around after a workplace accident left him with nothing Chris Ison ROK160117cpainter1

'Art rescued me from life on the street: An ex-miner's story

FROM the outside, Ian Painter's house seems to be nothing more than a modest home.

But the inside speaks volumes to a man who has used art to turn his life around.

The walls of Ian's home are adorned with his paintings of rural landscapes - aesthetically simple, yet strikingly genuine.

After a workplace accident left Ian homeless, art provided him with some reprieve in a life of uncertainty and hardship.


"I started like 21 years ago basically with kids colours, that's all I could afford at the time," Ian said.

"I used to work up north in the mines and I lost my job, I smashed a truck and I fell on the streets.

"I lost all my personal possessions and everything so I could only afford kids pencils... and then worked my way up from there.

"It's relaxing and it's stress free."

Before Ian got off the streets he would busk to collect money - painting and playing music.

But with support from those around him, Ian now has an impressive 530 pieces in his collection and a roof over his head.

He intends to begin selling copyrighted reproductions of his works this year.

"I've done a lot of street busking, like painting on the street to raise money as well," Ian said.

"It was really good, it was different because I also play a mouth organ and I put that aside to focus on the painting and I found it really good.

"...People were quite responsive to it."

The majority of Ian's works were created underneath his house, where a busy table of paints and brushes provides a catalyst for his creativity.

"Some of the paintings might take hours to do and some might only take five minutes to do," Ian said.

"Basically landscapes are my favourite.

"I painted a lot of buildings in my time as well, I do a sketch of the building and then I'd go and repaint it the same colours the building was, for money."

The avid painter is no stranger to the small hours of the morning, but is taking a well deserved holiday break.

"I usually paint on a regular basis at around 3am or 4am in the morning, but I haven't done any probably since the week before Christmas..," he said.

"A bit of a holiday."

While Ian worked hard to get himself off the streets, he hasn't reached his goal, but is now one step closer to where he wants to be.

"...In the last 12 months I've gone from a tiny little unit to this nice house, which is not quite my dream, but it's upgraded my lifestyle, which has been really good," Ian said.

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