About me

I currently live with my partner in a peaceful little cottage on a rainforest covered mountain in Bundjalung country, Northern NSW.

I was born in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, where I spent the first eleven and a half years of my life. After almost failing high school in Sydney, I lived the itinerate life of a stockman for some years on cattle stations in Queensland, before returning to Sydney to study fine art and music. During my twenties I spent a couple of years in the UK, working as an equestrian artist, painting some of Britain’s leading polo ponies and thoroughbreds. I am a children’s author/illustrator and my works have been published in several different languages around the world. I’m also a composer and used to be a professional flamenco guitarist (but I don’t have as much time as I’d like to practice any more). I am currently an endorsed Yamaha musician and am involved in many exciting music composition projects, which you can find out more about on the multi-modal/music page.

Some things I love, apart from the arts are woodworking, tea and wildlife. For many years along aside my day job I worked as a volunteer wildlife rescuer, specialising in snakes, possums and bats.

The following list contains most of my published works and exhibitions and some projects under contract but not yet released.

Published Books

Music Composition – The Sound of Picture Books (multi-modal musical works)

  • The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness: 50-minute multimodal work containing images, music and narration. The music is scored for large orchestra (76 piece), 40 voice choir and solo tenor by Matt Ottley, 2022. Guest composition by Alf Demasi.
  • How to Make a Bird: 11-minute multimodal work containing images, Meg McKinlay’s narration of her text for the book How to Make a Bird, and music for string quintet, piano, French horn and clarinet by Matt Ottley, 2021
  • Afloat in Venice: 11-minute multimodal work containing images, Tina Wilson’s narration of her text for the book Afloat in Venice, and music for string quintet, piano, French horn and clarinet by Matt Ottley, 2021
  • The Incredible Freedom Machines: 8-minute multimodal work containing images, Kirli Saunder’s narration of her text for the book The Incredible Freedom Machines, and music for string quintet and piano by Matt Ottley, 2019
  • Dumazi and the Big Yellow Lion: 30-minute multimodal work containing images from the book Dumazi and the Big Yellow Lion. Music composed for small orchestra with guest composition by Valanga Khoza (narration, lyrics and playing of traditional zulu instruments), 2018.
  • Teacup: 40-minute multimodal work containing animations, images and narrated text from the award winning book Teacup.  Music for chamber orchestra (Piano, 1 x violin, 1 x cello, 1 x double bass, recorder quartet, organ, recorded natural sounds, soprano and alto) by Matt Ottley, 2016
  • Home and Away: 18-minute multimodal work containing images, the narrated text from the book Home & Away, and music for symphony orchestra and soprano by Matt Ottley, 2014
  • Parachute8-minute multimodal work containing images, the narrated text from the book Parachute, and music for string quintet and piano by Matt Ottley, 2014
  • Tree: 8-minute multimodal work containing images, Danny Parker’s narration of his text for the book Tree, and music for string quintet and piano by Matt Ottley, 2013
  • Requiem for a Beast: 30-minute multimodal work containing images and music (no narration). Music composed by Matt Ottley for string quintet, piano, harpsichord, soprano, tenor (traditional Bundjalung singing), 2007.

Print media articles and illustrationswingedcreature

  • School Magazine, NSW Various illustrations since 2004
  • Beneath the Skin, May 2002 Scan vol 21, no 2
  • Lesley Rees lecture, 2008

Exhibitions of visual arts

I have exhibited paintings in the following major galleries: