When Footy Meets Art Meets Peptides Meets Celebrity Meets Society: The Story of an Art Exhibition


 About PEPTIDES: Prominent Football Identities… and also…

Exhibition 30 January-14 February

Expressionist Portraits by Stephen Alomes


Like many footy almanac contributors, as well as Sixties wannabe rock heroes, maybe I’ve done it all: footy – so so (amateurs, in Hobart, Canberra and Tokyo…and junior umpiring in Canberra) ; history books – several; celebrity –had the 15 minutes on the little screen, just, and more on (‘I look good on’) radio and in the papers occasionally. Except music – don’t play or sing; just been to Chisel and Cohen concerts, and the Searchers in NZ in 1999 and the Seekers and the Surfaris in Hobart a bit earlier.

….peptides, not really, but I knew a cook called Cook who baked me some ‘cookies’ once…

And now Art.

After years of looking at galleries, collecting a few ‘things I like’ – footy paintings, woodcuts by the brilliant Paris artist Pierre Vella, who is now a friend, and a few miscellaneous non-famous seascapes –  I have discovered pencil, charcoal and paintbrush. Doing it myself.

I combined it with writing. In Australian Football The People’s Game 1958-2058, available from wallawallapress.com, a popular and serious history and futurology of footy, I have images.

Paintings of The Coach as Devil (Ross Lyon), ‘Benched’ (Kelli Underwood demoted to boundary rider by Channel 10), and happy footy supporters on the back cover.

I also took some photos; and the book has a front cover featuring high-flying Nick Naitanui (not by me, but for much moolah paid to HQ).

So, to PEPTIDES: Prominent Football Identities…and Also, an exhibition in honour of 7 February 2012, or ‘the blackest day in Australian sport’, as it was dubbed. Expressionist portraits explore the dramatis personae…and several other peptide or ego-inspired celebrities and powerful people. On display in the RMIT Library* (see below).

Toorak Mates Andy and Jimmy

Toorak Mates and High Earners

There is…Jimmy of the marked face in the high-earners’ pinstripe suit. So too are those ‘Toorak mates’, Andy (Demetriou) and Jimmy (Hird), perhaps discussing the price of mansions these days

…Just for artloving Essendon supporters, we have ‘Caro’

‘In Search of Caro’ pursues an image of the high priestess of footy politics journalism, Caroline Wilson…

But also, ‘Ask not for whom the bell tolls’ – Essendon supremo Paul Little…


Stephen Dank...'Inside the Bowels of ASADA'

Dank You or just Danke? Stephen Dank

And at the top of the tree,  the secret agent who knows all about peptides and Thymosin Beta 4 and other betas and all that…and  all that gear…

He is the man with that interesting name and a colourful tie. He who declared that he did not have documentation from ASADA about various drugs, which is normal when you check with them, because he was, in his own words, ‘straight inside the bowels of ASADA’. That leads to a most appropriate halo on the little man from Ascot Vale – Stephen Dank.

But this is about more than amino acids, legal, TGA-approved or not. It is also about celebrity, about images, and sometimes egos, larger than life.

Blondness be my friend …under the celebrity bright lights – Dermie

There is Dermie, on the little screen or with the radio mike, hair-dresser assisted as he was in his football career, knowing that ‘Blondness is my friend’.

Big Rexy

Also ready to ‘getaway’ across the waters, is a blast from the past: the Boom Boom voice of Rex Hunt, so big that the MCG members had a ‘Rex deflector’ plastic barrier just outside the 3AW box at the MCG, above their seats.

Media Mega Magnates – Rupert and Silvio

Celebrity, power and significance is more than footy and far more than Oz TV and radio.

There was Rupert, if not in a suit of gold like Elvis, but in the pink of condition – Rupert Murdoch the Page One News of the World man, ringing the world with his global conglomerate just like certain Italian groups and that great world ringing low relief image on Newspaper House in Collins Street, Napier Waller’s 1932 mural, I’ll Put a Girdle Around the Earth.

And, a little closer perhaps to certain Italian groups, is the little big man, the bunga bunga man – Silvio Berlusconi. Aided by plastic surgery, the media magnate and one of Italy’s richest men, and gender matters here, declared in the 2013 elections that he was like Christ crucified…except here I have portrayed him with golden halo rather than on the cross.

Still rockin’ after all these years… ‘It’s Johnny!!’

Less rich, but almost more famous, is the ageless French rocker, Johnny Hallyday, still rockin’ since 1963….as if J.O’K (Johnny O’Keefe) and Elvis were still going today…resplendent in oils, flash as ever despite life’s battering, while the other luminaries only shine in acrylic.

Patrick White... A Cheery Soul

And also… Patrick White….and the Littoral

… after William Blake (although I have instead looked at more of Charles Ensor, Chaim Soutine, Emil Nolde and other Die Brücke artists, and then the German expressionists and Oz expressionists, including Albert Tucker), we move from experience back to innocence.

There is Patrick White (like Mr Dank’s image, it speaks) – A Cheery Soul.

There too is the peace of the Australian littoral, in the most beautiful place on the coasts of Australia – Bicheno, on the east coast of Tasmania, both Bicheno Calm and Bicheno Wild.

There is life after footy after all.

Steve Alomes

* PEPTIDES: Prominent Football Identities… and also…

On display at RMIT Library: level 5, via lifts, building 8, Swanston St, entrance foyer N of  Storey Hall & RMIT gallery, S of Combank)


30 January- 14 February.

Library Hours: weekdays 9-6 (Thursdays 9-8), closed weekends.



  1. Cheryl Critchley says

    Good luck with it Stephen! You’ve put a lot of work and thought into the themes so I hope it goes well. It will be interesting to see how all these issues pan out this year.

  2. You had me at: “in his own words, ‘straight inside the bowels of ASADA’. That leads to a most appropriate halo on the little man from Ascot Vale – Stephen Dank”.

    Actually, you had me at: “I knew a cook called Cook who baked me some ‘cookies’ once…”!

    If this is an advertisement for the exhibition at RMIT then great, it worked, I will def be along. And if this was merely a FA artice then you won me as well. Love the ideas, love the work.


  3. Thanks Rick and Cheryl. Those exact words were reported in the Age on 24 August 2012
    in the article ‘The science of Stephen Dank’

    Unbelievably, after a year of trial by media, and central characters using media battalions at 10 paces, the plot has yet to thicken, especially if ASADA stirs it, puts it on the stove, and heats it up even more.


  4. Stephanie Holt says

    A much better reason to visit the library than the usual sorry do-list. Sounds great – will make sure to get to it.

  5. Jerrard Jones says

    I have to admit that to start with I didn’t see the connection between peptides and an art exhibition. Interesting just the same. The Ozzies seem to be obssesed with peptides these days and with the price they are, I don’t know how anyone can afford them. This was quite helful when I was looking for peptides info… https://peptideshealth.info/buy-ostarine-australia/

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