There has never been anyone like him in the history of art in Australia or anywhere else. The brief life that once belonged tantalisingly to Brett Whiteley is as bizarre and droll as it is tragic. When he was only twenty-two, his paintings made him a household name in London. The Fleet Street press called him ‘Whiteley the Wonder Boy' because he was as young as he was brilliant, and the Australian newspapers followed suit. Brett Whiteley once famously said, 'I paint in order to see.' In Black and Whiteley, Barry Dickins felt he had to write about Brett in order to see him, to learn to appreciate him not so much as an artist but as a man. His journey takes him back to Brett's childhood through contemporaries and family members - people from all walks of life. Only after listening to ordinary people who knew him, did Dickins start to hear Whiteley speak and come to life. Through searching interviews, we see Brett the diminutive and wriggly schoolboy who drew to escape into the innocent, hopeful world his pictures offered, to the artist's fame and acclaim, to the dark, lonely years Brett spent battling the twin demons of his drug and alcohol addictions.