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The Hard Light of Day; an Artist’s Memoir

Published by UQP, 2011 / Skyhorse Publishing, New York ​2017

Written over the course of 25 years, this book is a candidly brutal and groundbreaking account of race relationships and friendships in the central Australian town of Alice Springs. In the early 1980s, artist Rod Moss arrived to teach painting in Alice Springs and soon was adopted as a family member by the local Arrernte people. Keeping a journal during the next three decades, he chronicled his experiences as he taught, struggled to paint, raised his children, and immersed himself completely in the Arrernte lifestyle. Filled with evocative photographs and paintings, this rare insight into the reality of life there illustrates the endemic violence, alcoholism, and rampant ill health as well as the enriching and transformative power of Arrernte friendships and culture.


One Thousand Cuts; Art and Life in Central Australia


Published by UQP, 2013 

Thirty years ago, artist Rod Moss made his home in the stark beauty of Australia's Centre. Since then, his place in Alice Springs and the traditional lands of the Arrernte has deepened, as has his enduring intimacy with the families of Whitegate camp on the town's eastern fringe. In this frank and powerful illustrated memoir, Moss gently uncovers the places where his own family and art intersect with the lives of those in the Whitegate mob. The closely connected Hayes, Johnson, Ryder and Neil families consider Moss one of their own and, through them, Moss shows us the majesty of the land, the necessity of story, the intensity of kin, the madness of violence, the tenderness of friendship, and the rhythm of grief. One Thousand Cuts continues where Moss's highly acclaimed first book, The Hard Light of Day, left off - this time in pictures as much as words. Through Moss's moving stories and his stunning paintings and photographs, we share in and celebrate his everyday life with the Whitegate mob, including their continuing fight for a standard of living that is basic to most Australians.


Crossing The Great Divide


Published by Wild Dingo Press, 2019

The memoirs and paintings that Rod Moss has produced during the last 35 years are unique in their dramatisation of the lives of his trusting Aboriginal family and have been critically acclaimed nationally and internationally. In his third memoir we follow the nurturing of the curiosity and openness that has fastened him to the luminous power of Central Australia and its First Peoples.

From the foothills of Victoria's Dandenong Ranges and his city-based art education, we are taken to the Mallee where he first embraces the climate most conducive to his wellbeing. He returns to the city and is invited to participate in Melbourne's dynamic experimental small school movement. A year is spent in the USA studying the teachings of Armenian philosopher George Gurdjieff in a rural community 'Shenandoah' farm setting. Travel widens Moss' perceptions and continues to pique his curiosity. A trip to a Pilbra Indigenous community opens the door on the Aboriginal world that he will spend the rest of his life coming to terms with.

In Crossing the Great Divide, Rod Moss shows the reader through his formative years in 1950s and 1960s Victoria, and through young adulthood in the 1970s. He weaves his experiences together with sensitivity and a painterly eye.


Blue Moon Bay

Self-published graphic novella, 2019

The deceptively calm waters of Blue Moon Bay host a gallery of flamboyantly grotesque characters. Their winding and poignant journeys always teeter on the edge of absurdity while remaining strangely moving, testament to the enormous affection with which they are drawn. There is the sexy but troubled Solange, Pope the footy coach and founder of a new religion, and Noddy Mason, taxi driver extraordinaire who is made of wood. Chief amongst the characters is the Fatman, vital to the town’s prosperity with his gluttonous appetite and mastery of turd diving and final piped farts. In fact the town itself and its inhabitants collectively are the main game. It really is a theatre of voices, with the beautiful and often hilarious drawings always the key notes. And the saving grace of music is a lovely way to end it.The wildness, the freedom, the low down, lavatorial, alcohol-drenched mindlessness of the characters and their extraordinary pursuits, make for a work that is utterly original.


All My Fat Country

Self-published booklet, 2021

Rod Moss’s luminous drawings are born out of decades of intimate relationship, conversation, engagement, and profound friendship with Arrernte peoples and their beloved country. The drawings are crafted, as Moss puts it, with an intent ‘…to immerse the eye in intimate detail.’ Moss delights in the detail. He celebrates it. ‘What bounty,’ he exclaims. But without the craft, the artistry, and the drawing skills, Moss would not have been able to respond so powerfully to old Patrick’ Ampetyane Hayes’s expansive call to depict his ‘fat country.’ After years of practice, observation, immersion, and above all, of walking alongside his many Arrernte guides and mentors, Moss can indeed ‘sing the language of the curve.’ And much more. Moss’s drawings, and the poetic words that accompany them, are a rapturous singing of country, a symphony composed of loving detail, a tender expression of gratitude — the micro made epic. And as a member of the audience, I too am guided. Informed. Enraptured. And deeply grateful.

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Theft and Luxury


Coming soon.

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