Arts & culture,
Creative arts & culture

Local artist to shine at Surface Festival

Gold Coast artist Thea Skelsey

Charntel Cleveland | July 4, 2022

The bold signature style of Coolangatta artist Thea Skelsey will grace the walls of Miami at the Gold Coast’s Surface Festival this month.

Now in its second year, the Surface Festival will transform the footpaths, fences and walls of Miami in a two-week celebration of street art, creativity and community engagement from 3–17 July.

“I’ll be working live on a small side wall and people will be able to watch on as I paint a mural and see it all come together,” Thea says.

Thea’s piece, one of 12 new large-scale outdoor murals to adorn Miami’s side streets, will add to the rich urban tapestry of painted creations from last year’s Surface Festival.

Well known for her textile art, Thea is looking forward to working on a different surface, so to speak.

“I mostly paint onto cotton and hang them as flags, or turn them into tote bags. I love textiles and the tactile way they work,” she says.

“I’ve done a few murals before and I’m excited to tie in what I do into the space, bringing some bold, organic seaside shapes to the city scenery.”

Surface Festival visitors will be able to watch the Thea’s mural come to life at 2 Dawn Parade, Miami from 14–17 July 2022.

Intuition and inspiration flows

A graphic design graduate, Thea’s creative process blends form and feeling.

“My art is quite intuitive,” she says.

“I work with abstract shapes and big, bold graphics that I rearrange until they feel good.

“I get obsessed with colours, shapes and elements that I sketch first then transfer to canvas.

“My works just flow from there and it doesn’t always look the same when I move to the canvas, but I like to keep pushing it further until everything flows.”

The Gold Coast’s natural surrounds offer an endless source of inspiration for Thea.

“There’s lots of representations of my coastal life in my art, as well as the comfort of nature,” she says.

“I love to bring the colours and shapes of nature into the home.”

Gold Coast artist Thea Skelsey working on a previous mural
Image: Thea Skelsey working on a previous mural.

Gold Coast a thriving hive of creativity

Originally from Brisbane, Thea moved to the Gold Coast four years ago and hasn’t looked back.

“The opportunities here are amazing,” she says.

“There are massive things going on with so many gallery locations, grants and art shows—it’s so great.

“The creative community here is also super-welcoming and because it’s more intimate, you get to meet everyone quite quickly.

“I find people want to get to know you and see what you’re up to.”

Outside the Surface Festival, you can typically find Thea at Mint Art House—an artist-run studio and gallery space that is home to 16 local artists.

Mint also hosts workshops, exhibitions and artist talks with a rolling calendar of creative events.

“It’s awesome being part of the creative community at Mint. We all work our own hours and do our own shows, but we also come together to work on installations as a team,” Thea explains.

“The space is ever-changing and evolving, and it’s so great to have others around you to keep you energised.”

You can check out Thea’s art via her website, where you can purchase select pieces or commission bespoke works.

For more information on the Surface Festival, see

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