Howard Arkley

Do you remember the real estate adverts in the newspaper, before the explosion of the internet? Well, the houses were artistic line drawings of the facade, with a short description of the home: number of bedrooms, bathrooms, car spaces; inspection and auction times. Even a Melway reference! The only way to see interior and floor plan, was to visit the home.

A Supa Group print advert in the Herald Sun 2004.

Supa Group even used line drawing advertising for our extensions.

These adverts were Howard Arkley’s inspiration for his series of suburban houses.

Howard Arkley was born in 1951 in the Melbourne suburb of Surrey Hills. An extraordinary artist whose works spanned the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, until his sudden death in 1999 at the age of 48. Like all the greats, he went too soon.

Howard Arkley with his painting Another House with Native Tree 1996

Howard Arkley’s catalogue of work changed throughout the decades. From abstract, black & white line drawings, patterns and lines to primitive line drawings to more colourful suburban homes.

Large canvases of air-brushed paint showed Australian suburbs as bright, colourful places to inhabit and full of different styles. Producing artworks of a Carlton apartment block and homes in Reservoir and Chelsea, Arkley provides another perspective into the beauty of the suburbs.

Theatrical Facade 1996 – Reservoir & Original House in 2014

It has been said that his paintings are “…seductive pop images of suburban bungalows and triple-fronted buildings.”

Superb + Solid 1998 (Chelsea); Family Home – Suburban Exterior 1993; The Bay Window 1988; O.Y.O Flats 1987 (Carlton North)

Original House in Chelsea in 2015, used for Superb + Solid 1998

Original Flats in Carlton North in 2017, used for O.Y.O Flats 1987

The value of Arkley’s paintings has increased over time, with some paintings costing as much as the medium house price back in 2008.

The beauty of his paintings provides a look back at the house design of suburbia in the 1960s and 1970s. The floor plans may not have been designed for the lifestyle of today, yet it is possible to adjust and transform these houses into magnificent homes by adding a ground or second storey extensions consisting of extra bedrooms and bathrooms, and larger open plan areas.

Many of the homes in Arkley’s paintings are exactly the homes we enjoy extending, opening up the home to the rear garden, or adding a second storey for the parents or the children. It’s wonderful to see the joy in a home-owner’s eyes with the anticipation of what it can become.

Recent House Extension by Supa Group in Balwyn North

It is always sad to see homes demolished to make way for new homes or townhouses with compact living.  These beautiful family homes, often the subject of Howard Arkley’s paintings, sadly make way for new developments.

Many of our clients love their neighbourhood, the location and the existing style of the home and just want to enhance the space inside for their growing family which you can enjoy for years to come.

With Supa Group we can extend and renovate your family home beautifully and respectfully, a solution that will suit your budget and lifestyle.

Written by Maree. P