I have been drawing cartoons for as long as I've been painting, but the degree to which I use them in my professional life fluctuates. Lately I have been mainly confining my two dimensional (humourous) cynicism to the pages of my journal! But I have recently been included in two group exhibitions: one in Madrid and the other at Coffs Harbour (Bunker Gallery). Over the years I have illustrated a large variety of publications in Australia; been included in a number of cartoon anthologies in Australia, U.K, Europe and the USA, as well as having published a book of my work: 'CONsequences', through Wakefield Press, South Australia in 1990, with an introduction by Kaz Cooke.
A great deal of my work as a Community Artist has involved cartooning as the medium of communication, particularly with young people. In the eighties and nineties I worked specifically with young people 'at risk'. I conducted art projects in schools, youth detention centres, youth health & drop-in centres. The subjects we used cartooning (my work and the kid's work) to deal with were of course, pertinent to the situations: drugs; alcohol; crime; interpersonal communication; truancy; homelessness; and especially, how to recognise and process emotions. Out of some of these projects came small publications, some of which are still out there doing what they were designed to do! The then federal government pledged to consider & adopt some of the issues & ideas raised in a booklet called 'SEEN & HEARD' a foolproof guide to the Youth vote' which expressed the hopes, fears, concerns and priorities of young people, in the new government Youth Forum. The project and the book were completed in the mid nineties, but of course and alas, very little of it's content is out of date! I developed a series of cartoons to accompany the exhibition "Braveheart", some of which can be viewed on this page. These speak to and of the major works, to the creative process, and to cultural behaviours that never seem to go out of date.

This is of an actual comment made to me by an esteemed colleague, of course I didn't let on!

Copies of Barbary O'Brien's book of cartoons are available through this site, just leave a request in the guestbook for now. Cheers x


A page from my personal diary during a long desert surftrip!

..and another one from the same trip!