For artist Guy James Whitworth Sydney’s lockdown has provided the opportunity the channel frustrations through his work. As we emerge from lockdown Guy will showcase his works at Surry Hills local gallery The M2 Gallery.

Guy says: “I’ve been tucked away in my studio, questioning ‘what is joy’ and exploring ways to depict the answers to that question, so I’d often find myself in a state in utter contentment – in contradiction to what was happening outside in the real world!”

Guy is a prominent Sydney LGBTQI artist, whose works seek to create an incisive social commentary. He is best known for his brightly coloured portraits of the Sydney queer scene.

You Can’t Say Happiness is his seventh solo exhibition and is an artistic culmination of the past two years, which have not been lacking in food for thought.

“One of my biggest challenges for this show was completing portraits while not being able to see people face to face,” he says.

“Trying to really get under the skin of someone, trying to work out what makes them tick is difficult enough, but when it’s done over a laptop screen, it can be nigh on impossible.

“A lot of my time on these portrait sessions were spent trying to get people to laugh – like, really big belly laugh – and taking screen shots of that particular moment when joy was truly visible. I guess, like all good artists, I just have to make the most of what I’ve got to work with!”

Guy James Whitworth has also published two books – Signs of A Struggle and Enough of Your Nonsense, – and is current writing a third.

With his partner, Ryan Alexander, he is a co-founder of the global No Meat May campaign, which challenges people to cut down on animal products for the month of May.

You Can’t Say Happiness will run December 8th to 14th at The M2 Gallery, 4/450 Elizabeth Street Surry Hills NSW 2010.