In early 2020, as COVID was sweeping the world, Filippa Buttitta (pictured right) was facing her own personal crisis.
She had been working on her entry for the Archibald prize when she had trouble with her eyesight and was finding it difficult painting the fine details of her work.
Thinking she needed an eye test, she visited her optometrist which led to a swift hospital admission and the shocking diagnosis of an aggressive brain tumour.
In the past year she’s had to make decisions which go to the heart of one's purpose in life and which also highlight the importance of creativity.
This episode is about those choices but it’s also about Filippa's life as a skilled artist. She's been painting for over 30 years, and has been a regular finalist in many art prizes including the Archibald (with a stunning portrait of the late Judy Cassab) as well as the Black Swan and Portia Geach and last year she was noted as one of the artists who had been selected the most times in Australian art prizes in that year.
Her entry into the Archibald this year is a fascinating portrait of her surgeon Professor Charlie Teo who has provided not only medical care prolonging her life but compassion and empathy along the way.
You’ll also be hearing from her close friend, artist Louisa Chircop (pictured above left), who joins us in this conversation. Louisa is a previous podcast guest and has been a rock for Filippa throughout this time. She is also entering the Archibald with a portrait of Filippa. She was one of seven artists who requested Filippa to paint her portrait this year and even though many portrait sitters have in the past agreed to having their portrait painted by more than one artist for the Archibald, Filippa has only said yes to Louisa.
We recorded this episode in Filippa’s studio in Sydney which also operates as a private gallery where she has exhibited her own work and that of fellow artists. From time to time you might also hear Filippas’ beautiful budgerigar, Sky.
To hear the podcast conversation click 'play' beneath the above feature photo.
A video of Filippa in her studio will be uploaded to this website in a few weeks.
Links to people we talk about in this episode
Filippa ButtittaLouisa ChircopJudy CassabTony CostaProf. Charlie TeoDawn Fraser
'Dr Charlie Teo Removing my Brain Tumour', 2021, oil on Italian linen, 140 x 155cm
'Judy Cassab - portrait of an artist', oil on Italian linen, 113 x 85cmFinalist Archibald Prize, 2015
'Tony Costa In His Studio', 2020, oil on Italian linen, 214 x 168cm
'Turbulent Waters', 2010, oil on Belgian linen, 214 x 127cm
By Louisa Chircop'Filippa Buttitta - Post second brain tumour surgery', 2021, pencil, watercolour, gouache, watercolour markers and photomontage on polyester, 200cm x 137cm
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