Blogs (Media Centre)


TAFE NSW Lismore


A former surveyor is pushing new career boundaries by swapping his theodolite for brushes to paint portraits of the most famous (and highly paid) sportspeople in Australia.

Lismore local Brett Belot has had a lifelong passion for painting and decided to switch careers after sustaining a career-ending injury. He graduated from the Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts at TAFE NSW Lismore last year and hasn’t looked back.

To date, Mr Belot has painted the portraits of Rafael Nadal, Usman Khawaja, Layne Beachley, Liz Ellis, Andrew Bogut, Matthew Dellavedova and Erin Phillips. Most of his subjects have signed their portraits and a certificate of authenticity. 

During his time at TAFE NSW, Mr Belot began an ongoing art project to explore his sporting heroes called ‘Superstars and Signatures.’

“The project is about bringing together high-profile athletes from diverse cultural, religious and geographic backgrounds.

“They all share a passion for their sport as well as a willingness to support those in the community through charities.”

Mr Belot plans to paint a total of 15 sporting heroes and auction the artworks to raise funds for the charities each sports star is connected to.

“Each of the athletes which I have chosen are involved in many charitable causes and social issues such as animal rights, climate change, refugee rights, childhood cancer, empowerment of young women, just to name a few.

“Their voice has power, their portrait has power and their signature has power."

The project, which is still ongoing, will end with a gala event and auction involving the athletes, their charities and general public in 2021.

Employment outcomes of graduates after studying a course in visual arts are vastly improved with 65.8 per cent of graduates reaching an improved employment status after training. Of those employed, graduates achieve a median salary of $59,100 after training.i

Mr Belot said “TAFE NSW was the obvious choice for me to learn new skills as it is the most well-established training provider in the country. Being mostly self-taught I knew that this was a wonderful opportunity to show initiative and work towards a new career in something that I am passionate about.”

Current students will continue to study the Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts at TAFE NSW this term using web conferencing technology and self-initiated practical work. This type of connected learning supports social distancing, while enabling students to progress their studies.

TAFE NSW has adopted connected learning as a new mode of delivery because it supports social distancing during COVID-19 and allows students to be connected to their teacher. In many cases, this still supports students to demonstrate their competency in their courses.

For more information about TAFE NSW art qualifications, please visit or call 131 601.

Media contact: Sarah Lievore, TAFE NSW Media Officer,