The Age, July 23, 1999 Artist of the suburbs dies. Australia's arts community was in shock last night at the death of renowned Melbourne artist Howard Arkley. Police confirmed that Arkley had died in his Oakleigh studio of a drug overdose. Arkley's wife, Alison Burton, found her husband's body about 6am yesterday. Although the couple had been together for many years, they had married only last week in Las Vegas. Arkley's biographer and friend, Ashley Crawford, said it was a tragic accident that Arkley succumbed to an overdose. The artist had always despised the mythology surrounding the use of drugs by artists such as Brett Whiteley and William Burroughs. ``Drugs were an escape not a tool to create,'' Crawford said. ``Howard played it clean through Venice and the Los Angeles show and he was scared of coming back to Melbourne because of the potential drug contacts.''Police said there were no suspicious circumstances.