‘John Dahlsen’s art provides a valid commentary on our wasteful, throwaway society and his lively speaking presentation challenges people to think about how they can make a difference to our environment.’

Kim McKay, AO, environmental campaigner & author; Co-founder Clean Up Australia & Clean Up the World.

‘John’s words and images drew them into his world and inspired each person to care deeply about this world we share…..
John Dahlsen’s insightful work is an inspiration to all who care about our world, and all who learn to care, as they view his art and hear his words. We were thrilled to have met and learned so much from this distinguished artist.’

Suzanne Starr Art Educator and North Stonington Education Board Member Connecticut USA.

“Dahlsen will be an asset to any visual arts lecture circuit he participates in, especially as an Australian artist bringing his unique story to an international stage.

Dee Tipping FEHVA visual arts festival 2004-2008.

“He is a dynamic and riveting speaker who instinctively knows how to reach his audience.
His presentation of his work was humorous, insightful, and powerful. Those who attended spoke about their positive responses long after he left.

Alice Wexler, Ed.D. Associate Professor SUNY New Paltz New York.

‘John Dahlsen embodies the spirit of all Australians who love our coastline. His contemporary work is the very core of what makes ‘Clean Up’ an important community event in our nation.
His concepts are abstract and imaginative and he has turned the flotsam and jetsam washed up on our beaches into highly collectable art.’

Ian Kiernan, AO, Chairman and Founder Clean Up Australia & Clean Up The World.

‘The power of Dahlsen’s work lies in the artist’s abilities to witness the beauty in the every day and the mundane. However, it is his history as a painter that gives him the ability to see the objects he collects in their purest form, that is the shape and color.’

Brett Adlington, Curator, Exhibitions and Collections. Gold Coast City Art Gallery QLD.

‘Years of abstract/figurative painting… inspired by living organic forms often monochromatic, smoothed transition to his present exhibition of works.…
His flotsam collection acquired at the same time as his driftwood evolved into a further dramatic phase…
‘Contemporary Landscapes’ his mammoth task – afforded him a freedom to demonstrate aesthetic possibilities which radiate vitality and joie de vivre, uncommon to most artists deeply conscious of environmental issues’.

Review of ‘Contemporary Landscapes’ exhibition by the respected critic/artist and trustee of the Queensland Art Gallery, Catharina Hampson.

‘The successful artistic expression of an abstruse concept such as universality is difficult to achieve, but ultimately rewards both artist and viewer.
It is what lies beyond the boundaries of abstraction and figuration that intrigues John Dahlsen and he has developed a unique visual language to articulate this.
Dahlsen has only arrived at this crucial stage in his work after a course of exploration, both in a personal and artistic sense….’

Sandra Murray: Director – Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of Western Australia.

“John has been working on a very successful new body of work that extends from his previous enviro-sculptures into paintings. They are of the places he has collected detritus for his sculptures. The subject matter also happens to be Byron Bay, a place of infinite beauty and great affection. “

Steven Alderton, – Director of the Lismore Regional Art Gallery NSW Australia.

‘Few could have predicted that Australian artist John Dahlsen would have transitioned from representational painting to abstract painting and finally, for the last decade, to found object work — not even the artist himself.
Yet today, the mixed-media/assemblage sculpturist is one of the most recognized and awarded environmental artists in the world.’

Kim Hall, Florida artist – Editor New York Art Calendar Magazine.

‘Dahlsen, is an optimist. To begin with, he’s already made a positive statement by clearing off the unsightly stuff that is lethal to fish and fowl. (Australia’s wildlife conservancies adore Dahlsen’s work.)
Piling up black combs, disposable razors and pieces of rope yielded a Louise Nevelson-like sculpture with attitude.’

John T. Spike – Director of the Florence International Biennial of Contemporary Art.

‘Your work has had a profound effect on me since I discovered it for the first time at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney 3 years ago.
.  The totems stopped me in my tracks, I felt the impact of your art in my mind and in my heart.  Not only were they beautiful, they had a strong message to awaken the consciousness of the “asleep” This filled me with inspiration, It was then that I realized I could make art that would be able to shift consciousness to a deeper place.’

Alison Laird Kapiti Coast NZ

‘The saying goes “ I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like. In my case, I don’t know much about art and I don’t know what I like”. But in John’s case I do. I think it is one of the most original forms of Australian art that I’ve ever seen and it gives me a great deal of pleasure, if it needs any sort of endorsement, to add to it by telling people, it’s art well worth viewing, well worth buying, well worth hanging.

I think we are going to hear a lot more about John Dahlsen, whether it’s as an artist or an assembler or whatever form he takes in his next artistic stage. I’m quite sure we are going to be able to enjoy his work for a long long time. I think he is an artist of considerable note already and whose recognition is going to become greater and greater as the years go by’.

George Negus. Officially opening John Dahlsen’s exhibition “New Assemblages and Prints” in Coffs Harbour Australia.

Dr. John Dahlsen is an established professional and an expert in his given field, being a notable environmental artist, educator and speaker.

John delivers a message that can educate, inspire and motivate audiences around the world.

He regularly gives keynote speeches on the positive effect his environmental art can have on our perceptions.

He delivers these seminars with a talk on environmental art with images of his own work spanning 30 years and elaborates on the transformative possibilities he shows by example in his work.

His target audiences range from participants in seminars and environmental symposium events and at corporate functions, to universities, exhibition openings and embassy events. John also regularly delivers talks at his various exhibitions.

He delivers these seminars for various timeframes, from 30 minutes to one and a half hours, depending on the target audience.

The speaking engagements are delivered with both Power Point and DVD presentations and involve an introduction about himself and some basics about his history as an artist and onto discussion about the importance of art and ecological awareness bringing about positive perceptual shifts. This leads into a PowerPoint presentation, where he projects various powerful art images.

Depending on the length andthe exact nature of the presentation, this can amount to anywhere between 50 to 100 images, followed by a question and answer discussion. During image projections, John focus’s on the visuals of around eight main aspects of this environmental artwork. He encourages audience participation in the form of question and answers in all of his speeches.

John has spoken to groups of people ranging in size from 30 – 3,000.


Dr. John Dahlsen is a renowned contemporary environmental artist and public speaker based in Byron Bay Australia.

John was educated at the Victorian College of the Arts and the Melbourne College of Advanced Education.

He exhibits regularly in Australian capital cities, throughout regional Australia, and internationally in Europe and the US, where he shows regularly in New York.

He won Australia’s oldest art award, the prestigious Wynne Prize, at the Art Gallery of NSW in 2000 and was again a finalist in 2003 and 2004. In 2006 he was also a finalist in the Sulman Award at the Art Gallery of NSW.

He was runner up in “The Signature Of Sydney Prize” in 2006 and won a prestigious award for mixed media/new media at the Florence Biennale of Contemporary Art in 2003.

John has lectured at various universities and secondary schools from 1980 – 2017. He has been an invited speaker at architectural and environmental symposiums in Australia and internationally, including at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC, which coincided with an exhibition of his work there in 1999.

In 2004, John became the first Australian artist, (he joins such renowned artists as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Francesco Clemente and Damien Hirst) to be commissioned by global vodka producer Absolut, to create a major public artwork “Absolut Dahlsen”.

In 2005, he curated as well as participated in an exhibition at the Samuel Dorsky Museum, in New York State in the USA; he also took up an artist in residence position in Jefferson City Missouri, USA in September 2005, where he made a public artwork for their sculpture walk.

In November/December 2007 John’s work was exhibited in New York in an exhibition titled “Ecological Integrity / On The Brink”. John gave a keynote speech and exhibited his work in Connecticut USA in March 2008, where he was an invited guest of the North Stonington Education Foundation, to work with students and to deliver a lecture at Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration Mystic Connecticut USA.

He was a cultural ambassador for Australia, when he exhibited his work at the Athens Olympics of Visual Arts Exhibition in 2004 during the Olympics. John is represented by major public and private collections in Australia, Europe, the USA and Japan.

In September 2008 he exhibited at the Jenolan Caves Trust NSW, in the “Treasures of Seeds” Exhibition. Supporting the Global Crop Diversity Trust. In August/September 2009, he exhibited again with the “Treasures of Seeds” Exhibition at the CSIRO in Canberra.

John is represented by major public and private collections across Australia, he is also in many International collections in Europe, USA, China and Japan. He and his art has been written about in all the major newspapers and many magazines in the form of critiques and as articles and pictorials. Radio, television and the internet, frequently interview him about exhibitions and his work as a contemporary environmental artist.

John was awarded in 2009, the Swell Sculpture Exhibition “Environmental Art Award”, Currumbin, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. He went on to win this prize again in September 2010.

In July 2010, he won the Peoples Choice Award in the ArtsCape Biennial Sculpture Exhibition. Byron Bay, NSW Australia.

In September 2010 John’s work featured at the famed “Hanmo Gallery” in Beijing’s 798 contemporary art district in China.

March 2011 saw John being commissioned by the Commonwealth Bank to create a major sculpture for their new 6 star eco friendly HQ, from objects collected from the annual Clean up Australia campaign in Sydney.

John was appointed ” Cultural Ambassador” for Friends of the United Nations, on World Environment Day June 6th 2011.

He was invited in 2012 by the United Nations to write an essay for the Rio+20 conference. Dahlsen’s essay, titled “The Future we want” appears on the UN website for the Rio+20 conference. And can be seen here: http://www.un.org/en/sustainablefuture/dahlsen.shtml

In 2013 John was offered a PhD Candidature at Charles Darwin University N.T. Australia.

2013 Appointed Ambassador for the Nespresso Upcycle Art campaign.

Exhibited in The Art of Sound Caboolture Regional Art Gallery in 2013.

Queensland Museum in Brisbane: Environmental art projections. QLD 2013 – 2014

Exhibited in Customs House Sydney Clean Up Australia’s 25th Anniversary Exhibition 20 Feb – 3 March 2014

He exhibited his work in the 2014 US exhibition “Gyre Project” at Anchorage Museum Alaska Feb-Sept 2014.

This exhibition toured to the David J. Spencer CDC Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, January–June 2015 and the USC Fisher Museum of Art in Los Angeles, California, Sept–Nov, 2015.

In 2014 he was awarded the Graduate Scholar Award at the Arts and Humanities Conference Rome Italy.

John was awarded a Churchill Fellowship from the Winston Churchill Foundation 2014 for artistic research he undertook in Japan and Holland in 2015.

2015/16 Received an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA). Charles Darwin University.

2015/16 Awarded the Nancy (Nan) Giese Doctoral Scholarship in the Arts. Charles Darwin University.

2017 Georgetown University USA Art For Ocean Conservation Exhibition: Third Annual Sustainable Ocean Summit. Sustainable Oceans Alliance (SOA) Georgetown Chapter On Earth Day, April 22, 2017.

The following is a selection of Dr. John Dahlsen’s public lectures and appearances:

2017 – Keynote Speech University of Canberra Inaugural Student Garduation Ceremony. UC Southbank QLD March
2017 – Presentation at “Good Neighbours” Sharing our arts, education, environment and culture – Australia/Indonesia 31st March 2017 Elements Byron Bay NSW
2016 – Australian Indonesian Arts Alliance Environmental Art Lecture Grand Palace Klungkung Bali Indonesia 29 July
2016 – Staff/Student invitational lecture series Anhui-Normal University Wuhu China 13th – 17th June
2016 – Let’s Go Global Symposium Keynote Speaker University of Widyagama Malang, East Java – Indonesia
Saturday, May 14
2016 – UNIFI Creative Student Symposium Visiting Lecturer University of Canberra/Tafe QLD Southbank
Campus May 28
2016 – IGCE Symposium – Environmental art: Activism, aesthetics and transformation. School of Education
Charles Darwin University Wed 4th May 2016
2015 – The Power of Research Conference Presentation November 9 – 11 2015 Charles Darwin University.
2015 – The Winston Churchill Foundation National Convention Presentation; October Sydney Australia
2015 – “Food For Thought” Lecture series. Charles Darwin University. March 18 2015
2015 – Kyoto Seika University, visiting lecture on the Churchill Fellowship and Environmental Art. January 2015
2014 – International Conference CEAD The third international Contemporary Ethnography Across the Disciplines (CEAD)
– Sensual Landscapes of Ethnography University of Waikato Hamilton Aotearoa. New Zealand. November 2014
2014 – Philosophers Riff: “The Aesthetics of Beauty” Happy Yess Darwin Sept 2014
2014 – The Ninth International Conference on the Arts in Society. Sapienza University Rome, Italy 25-27 June 2014
2014 – ACAH2014 – The Asian Conference on Arts and Humanities 3rd to 6th April 2014 Osaka, Japan
2013 – “Food For Thought” Lecture series. Charles Darwin University. October 2nd 2013
2013 – Perspectives on Progress Conference: (UQLD. Nov 27-29, 2013)
2013 – The Association for Qualitative Research  (Victoria University Melbourne. 3rd to 5th November 2013)
2013 – Diversity Conference: (CDU. June 26 – 28 2013)
2013 – Balance/Unbalance Conference: (UCQ. 30 May – 1st June 2013)
2011 – Waves of Change Lecture ASREAP Conference Sunshine Coast QLD July 21 2011
2010 – Public Lecture Dalian China
2010 – Public Lecture Shanghai China
2011 – Waves of Change Lecture ASREAP Conference Sunshine Coast QLD July 21
2008 – Public Lecture as guest of the North Stonington Education Foundation:
Mystic Connecticut 17 March 2008
2008 – FEVHA 48 Hrs of Visual arts Guest speaker
2006 – Ethos Foundation “Courageous Conversation”
Science and Art Catalyst Presenter Aug 31 Binna Burra QLD
2005 – Samuel Dorsky Museum New York Guest Artist/Curator lecture
2005 – Tweed Regional Art Gallery public programmes lectures
2005 – FEVHA 48 Hrs of Visual arts Guest speaker
2004 – FEVHA 48 Hrs of Visual arts Guest speaker
2003 – Coffs Harbour Regional Art Gallery Invitation Panel.
Discussion on John Dahlsen’s Found Object Art
2001 – Gold Coast City Art Gallery- Official opening lecture- “Energies ”
2001 – Piece Gallery Northern NSW -Official gallery opening lecture
2000 – Manly Art Gallery – Official opening lecture- “Reclaimed Exhibition”
2000 – Architecture 2000 R.A.I.A. Sydney -“Artistically interpreting science”
1999 – Australian Embassy, Washington DC, USA “Art and the Environment”
1990 – 2011 Lectured and appeared at various Australian and International secondary and tertiary institutions as well as giving artist talks in Australian Regional Galleries as an invited artist.

DVD Presentations:

During John’s keynote speeches he often shows a selection of DVD’s

One is a recent interview and survey of his work, tracing the past 10 years or so and runs for approximately 10 minutes.

Another, which documents the production of his well known Absolut commission. This DVD runs for 30 minutes and is sometimes shown in segments.

He has another DVD which is a 6 part presentation of various aspects of his work.
Titled “Renewed” this is also presented if time permits, in small segments.

For further information about fee schedules for lecture appearances please contact the artist directly:

John Dahlsen
PO Box 897, Byron Bay
NSW 2481, Australia

Mob: +61 (0)411 – 705313
Email John

Download PDF

Speech Topics:

Embracing Shifting Perceptions (Keynote)
At the core of John Dahlsen’s message about shifting perceptions is the evidence in his own work how this can occur with minimal effort, that shifting perceptions in response to change in life is inevitable and good…

From Ordinary to Extraordinary  (Keynote)
John Dahlsen is proof that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things if they follow a few simple steps. John is funny, direct and on target. He’s on a mission to inspire and equip people to think differently…

Inspiration Overcoming Adversity (Keynote)
John Dahlsen has faced numerous obstacles during his extraordinary life and in this very personal speech he talks candidly about some of his biggest challenges….

Sailing the Seas of Change (Keynote)
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent, but the one most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin The famous adage says: “change is the only constant”.  John Dahlsen describes his journeys inherent…

My Road to an Authentic Life (Keynote)
John Dahlsen describes himself as a born solitary person and on the other a chameleon, for he also saw himself as a people pleaser. When his seeming inability to please everyone through his creativity caused him to reassess his priorities, his life transformed…

Risk and Self Discovery (Keynote)
John Dahlsen says that on the first day of his discovery of working with environmental issues in his work, it was as if all doors suddenly swung open….

The Age of Change (Keynote)
At the core of John Dahlsen’s message about embracing change is the claim that the continued acceleration of change in life is inevitable. If we cannot stop it, perhaps we should embrace it and consider putting it to our benefit…

Self-Confidence…Finding It & Living It (Keynote)
John Dahlsen’s objective is to motivate people to make changes that will better their lives and above all to believe in themselves, he does this through his simple tale of his own life affirmative decisions in his creativity…

The Power of Commitment (Keynote)
John Dahlsen will help you to find out what is preventing you from responding to life, with awareness and creativity…

The Manifestation of Vision (Keynote)
Success is the most sought-after necessity of individuals and organizations. John’s personal story about his own success in the unlikely field of art is an example for us all.

Building and Sustaining Success (Keynote)
John Dahlsen will propel us to understanding how to get to the top of the world’s most challenging occupations! It’s no wonder that he has such an individual story to tell…
The Power to Survive through Inspiration (Keynote)
In the midst of a stalling career, after a tragic plane accident of one of his friends, he has a life and career changing revelation. This is his uplifting stpory of adjusting to rapid change with the most spectacular results…

Awareness through Art (Keynote)
John Dahlsen is an environmental artist, educator and workshop facilitator. He is an active international contributor to the arts, education and business fields through his motivational talks.

The Power of Awareness (Keynote)
Based on his personal experiences as an environmental artist advocate, John Dahlsen inspires individuals to look beyond their personal sphere to the needs of the world around them. John shares his own unique story with the most amazing visuals…

Seeing Beauty: The Complete Picture (Keynote)
Knowing all too well the power of the public’s perception of beauty, John strives to encourage people of all ages to find what truly makes things beautiful. He illuminates the mystifying elements of turning “ugly” trash into art…

A New Perspective on Change (Keynote)
Yes, you can thrive during uncertainty! That’s the message environmental artist John Dahlsen delivers. His prescription: Help people deal with the things they’re not seeing in their lives…

Oneness in our daily life (Keynote)
The only species that separates and alienates itself from nature is our own. In this keynote, John asks how we can adjust to the changes we face in life affirming ways…

The Environment and art (Keynote)
John Dahlsen is focused on designing environmentally sustainable artworks and transforming people’s consciousness. He envisions a society that is always looking to create from former waste products and seeks to “positively impact life on this planet.” …

Inspiration from Art and for Life (Keynote)
Having a distinguished career as one of the worlds top environmental artists, John Dahlsen is now emerging as a creative force in the presentation of motivational speaking. For over 25 years, he has travelled the world having exhibitions of his extraordinary distinctive artworks and giving lectures to accompany them…