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Off Cuts for New Cuts

Art and About with framing mogul Don Whyte.

IT’S NOT OFTEN YOU GET FREE licence for a bit of fraudulent behaviour, but if Don Whyte says it’s okay, who are we to disagree?

The artistic socialite is giving out canvasses to artists around the Top End for his annual Off Cuts show, this year with the theme Fakes and Forgeries.

“Sometimes you come up with a theme, but lots of the works that come back are not on theme. Some people go ‘ew, nah’. But there’s been 100 percent enthusiasm for Fakes and Forgeries,” he says.

There’s no limiting the creativity for the annual group exhibition, which Whyte claims is celebrating its 10th anniversary for the fourth year running. It first started 13 years ago, when a small mix up at his framing business left him with hundreds of 200mm off cuts. 

Making the most of a less-than-ideal situation, he made them up in to mini canvasses and distributed them among local artists to unleash their creativity on. It’s now an annual highlight on the Darwin arts calendar and raises thousands of dollars for charity each year.

Whyte says there are plenty of artists already toiling away on a piece, and he’s keen to see how many will re-vision, re-imagine, re-interpret or make a nod to other artist’s work.

“You can do whatever you like – there are so many people wholike other people's works. They can copy them, give them their own version – you can do a basket full of plastic animals or your version of a Rob Brown.” 

This year, the team have made 130 canvasses. If you’re an artist keen to get involved, or have one of the old canvasses sitting in your studio waiting for a splash of colour, all he asks is that you return them by November 12 so they can be hung before the show.

“Everyone is notoriously late – it’s a Darwin thing – but it’s preferable to have them back a week before the show,” he says.

If you’re a punter keen to snap up a piece – if experience has taught us anything – get in early! 

Off Cuts Sat 16 Nov | 6pm | Don Whyte Framing, Coconut Grove |

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