Arts & culture
Gold Coast artists you should know
Kate Veling | May 13, 2021
With the recent opening of the incredible new HOTA Gallery, the spotlight is on the Gold Coast arts scene. Check out these 10 inspiring Gold Coast artists you need to know about. This creative collective are busy growing our cultural landscape with the diversity of their artistic talent.
CRT’s bright, bold eye-catching artworks decorate the walls at many bars, cafes and urban spaces across the Gold Coast. As a painter and muralist she’s inspired by popular music, street culture, pin-up girls, graffiti and pop art. She can soon add designer to the list too.
During lock down last year Courtenay created No Weekends – a pandemic inspired interactive art/fashion fusion. Her next project is a line of hand sewn, one-of-a-kind wearable artwork garments, made from upcycled fabrics that she hand paints and screen prints. “It’s the direction I have wanted to take for a couple of years now and feels like it’s the right time to explore,” she says.
Dion Parker won the Gold Coast’s heart when he won the major prize at Swell Sculpture in 2018. As an artist his creative practice spans many mediums but the common thread underpinning every artwork is a larrikin sense of humour and appreciation for the comedic. Certain pieces are particularly treasured by local musicians – for the last five years he’s created the sculptural trophies presented to winners at the Gold Coast Music Awards. Dion’s a proud member of Mint Art House – a creative studio housing 14 local artists – and is the king of artistic collaboration. After his upcoming solo exhibition Mid Life Vices (opening April 24) look out for his group exhibition Inside Out with a diverse collection of local creatives including CRT, Aaron Chapman and Libby Harward.
Katrina Graves is a proud Wiradjuri woman and painter who has lived on the Gold Coast since she was a toddler. Her love for painting was fostered by her mum, who is also an artist. Beyond a form of creative expression and a joyful celebration of her ancestry, Katrina paints to connect with her culture and share Indigenous stories to educate others through a creative lens. Her beautiful artworks, available on paper and canvas prints, feature Indigenous designs in earthy neutrals and muted pinks and pastels.
Joel Rea, The Precision of Luck
At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking Joel Rea was a photographer, so life-like are the images he creates. But stop, lean in and look closer and you’ll discover the stupendously surreal pictures are in fact oil paintings. With his impeccable execution of brush work detail, Joel’s artworks can take hundreds, sometimes thousands of hours to complete. The Gold Coast native has painted portraits of celebrities like Chris Hemsworth, Mick Fanning and The Veronicas and has exhibited across Europe, Asia, USA and Australia. In 2019 he flew to Los Angeles to deliver one of his artworks to a famous fan – Joe Rogan has it hanging in the studio where he records one of the world’s most downloaded podcasts. Joel is currently preparing a new work to be exhibited in London and Los Angeles with HOFA gallery.
Aaron Chapman began his creative career as a writer of poetry and short fiction but his practice evolved to include the visual arts – photography, fine art, installation and sculpture. An active participant in the creative community, Aaron recently had a solo exhibition at Tweed Regional Gallery and was also one of 20 Gold Coast artists commissioned to make a work for the inaugural exhibition at the new HOTA Gallery. “As a young artist in a young city, I’m so lucky and excited to be involved in this community building a culture as opposed to arriving at an existing one,” he says. Look out for a large-scale public artwork from Aaron in 2021 – an opportunity to further effect the Coast’s cultural landscape.
Natalie Popovski uses art as a way to highlight the sacred in the mundane. For her ongoing project, Absorption, she goes into people’s homes (invited, she assures us) and creates a painting from a seemingly insignificant corner – a bedside table or bathroom cabinet. “As the home is a sacred place where we are most ourselves, these corners give insight into a person’s beliefs, rituals and personality,” says the self-taught artist. Works from this project will be on show in two solo exhibitions coming up (catch one of them at The Art Space in Coolangatta from the 5-20 of June, 2021). As the co-founder of Mint Art House she is a stalwart supporter of the local arts community. Formed on the premise that art isn’t meant to be experienced in white-walled gallery, the collaborative studio is a hub for 14 locals artists who run workshops for the public and bring arts to the wider community.
Not only is Samuel Leighton-Dore a celebrated writer of queer culture, he’s also taken out one of the country’s top LGBTQIA+ awards for best Australian visual artist. This multi-talented and prolific creative also produces work spanning ceramics, LED neon, illustration, animation and painting. Much of his work focuses around perceptions of masculinity and mental health. He’s also a co-founder of Sad Man Studio, an animation and creative studio that fosters an inclusive arts community. “My practice is about telling stories with heart and humour without paying too much mind to medium,” he explains. “It’s about peeling back the façade and revealing our shared humanity”. Samuel is creating an immersive work for the HOTA Gallery’s Solid Gold: Artists From Paradise exhibition that will be experienced via augmented reality through an app on your phone.
Rebecca Ross is not only an accomplished and talented contemporary artist in her own right – she champions the artistic community through her work as curator, academic and Director of The Walls Art Space in Miami and a consultant on the development of the Gold Coast cultural precinct at HOTA. To say she’s “engaged” in the local arts scene is an understatement – Rebecca has has a massive 18 months with two residencies, a screening, three exhibitions including the major commission for Bleach* 2020 and multiple successful grants. She was recently recognised with an International Women’s Day Leadership Award for her contribution to the Gold Coast arts ecology. One of her artworks will be hang in the new HOTA Gallery as part of the city’s collection. It’s a fitting testament to her impact on the Gold Coast’s cultural landscape.
Michael Candy works with a vocabulary of robotics, hardware hacking, intervention and video. His installations and projects often emerge as social experiments or ecological interventions in public space. Candy has exhibited in many international and local projects and exhibitions. With his works based in intuitive engineering, he creates machines and sculptures in movement, which question our society from an ecological and sociological point of view. Pre-Covid, Michael was studying his masters at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. He’s among the number of Australia’s most exciting contemporary creatives who will exhibit their work in the first major exhibition at HOTA – we’re fascinated to see his work in situ.
Hiromi Tango is a Japanese-Australian artist whose work spans sculpture, paintings, drawings, photography, installation and performance. Hiromi is dedicated to generating healing conversations through arts engagement. Her bright, vibrant works are often large-scale, immersive installations which inspire the community to engage with the magic and kindness of art. Drawing on a life-long passion for gardening, she explores how our connection with nature – and spaces like the Botanic Gardens – can generate calm, wellness and happiness amongst the bustle and stress of our contemporary existence. The HOTA Gallery commissioned her to create a piece for the inaugural exhibition of local artists, which will be showing from May 8, 2021.
Many of the artists mentioned in this article will be exhibiting in the inaugural exhibition at the new HOTA Gallery. Solid Gold: Artists From Paradise will be showing from 8 May – July 4, 20201.
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