Howard Arkley (1951 –1999) was born in Melbourne, and known for his airbrushed paintings of houses, architecture, and suburbia. Arkley’s parents were Australian and had British ancestry.John Brack was Arkley’s first true inspiration and hence felt encouraged to continue with his art. After seeing an exhibition of works by Sidney Nolan, Arkley became very interested in art. Nolan’s use of household materials inspired him and abstract artists such as Klee and Kandinsky also appealed to him. In 1969 he studied at Prahran College of Advanced Education where he discovered the airbrush, as he desired smooth surfaces and began to incorporate the medium in his paintings.
Arkley had his first exhibition, aged 24, at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne, in 1975. His early works often depicted patterns or lines created with airbrush. Arkley’s works were first black and white, it was only later on that he began experimenting with colour. A turning point in Arkley’s career was in 1981 when he created Primitive, a mural, which caught the attention of the public. In 1982 he painted a tram for the Victorian Ministry of the Arts.