Born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1948 he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1969. Following his first solo exhibition at the Moray Gallery (Dunedin) in 1972, he spent a period overseas in the United Kingdom and Europe before returning to Dunedin in 1974 to begin life as a full-time artist. Sydney’s work now spans over four decades and encompasses oils, watercolours, egg tempera, lithographs, etching, photography and film. There is a somewhat surreal quality, an ineffable tension, to his dramatic works.
In 2004, Sydney was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to painting. He has held numerous solo shows throughout New Zealand and his works are held in public collections including the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Auckland Art Gallery, Chartwell Collection, Christchurch Art Gallery, and various significant international public and private collections.
Sydney is also the author of Timeless Land(1995), The Art of Grahame Sydney - which won three Montana Book Awards, White Silence (2008), Promised Land (2009) and Grahame Sydney’s Central Otago (2011).