Brewing Local Artists (BLA) is held annual by Gold Coast Based brewmasters, Burleigh Brewing. I was invited to be a part of the November 2019 event, alongside 15 other local emerging arts practitioners. A panel of judges including Rosie Dennis (Judge, Bleach), Lucy Fisher (Judge, GCFF), Natasha Edwards (Judge, Swell) and Bradley Vincent (Judge, HOTA) selected myself the Judges Choice Award recipient for my work, “Long Vehicle”. This prize included a $3000 cash prize and a residency in the Brewery.

An interview with Brieane from Burleigh Brewing and Laura from Art-Work Agency about the residency below!

Congratulations on winning the Brewing Local Artist Judges Choice Award, can you tell us a little about how you will spend the $3000 prize money?

Thank you – firstly thanks to Burleigh Brewing for this amazing opportunity! I’m so humbled to be recognised by leaders in the creative industries on the Gold Coast and awarded a prize that will help me create better and work harder. At the end of April I am going to France for 12 months to study, work and travel, thanks to the USQ Bellmaine French Appreciation Travelling Scholarship and now Burleigh Brewing. During this time I will be immersing myself in professional and industry related experiences to learn and grow as an artist. I will be undertaking an internship at Triangle gallery in Marseilles and completing a number of artist residencies in France and Spain. The prize money from BLA will help me afford these opportunities and stay a little longer in Europe to work and study!
As creatives, whether working in the visual, digital or word-based, in LENS you’re invited to investigate and explore new and even unconventional experiences. 

Where did you place the Burleigh Golden Growler trophy?

My growler trophy sits on a shelf in my living room where everyone can see it, alongside other treasured artworks and objects I’ve collected. I’m really proud of it!

What do you like about the Brewing Local Artist event?

I loved the opportunity to meet other artists working on the Gold Coast, many of whom I hadn’t had the chance to connect with before. Being new(ish) to the Gold Coast I hadn’t met a great number of other artists since being here, so I really loved that aspect of the BLA experience. Seeing their work and the ideas being explored is inspiring and creates great context for how rich the creative community is here on the Coast. It’s always a privilege to share my work with new people and places. It’s always awesome to see local businesses providing a platform for emerging artists and nurturing a creative community. The Brewery was quite an alternative place to show my work, I really enjoyed the install and seeing my work framed differently. All the artists involved in the BLA event were invited to take the Brewery tour as well, which was a very good time and I can recommend doing it if you can!

What's your take on the creative scene on the Gold Coast? Where can we do better?

The creative scene on the GC is a treasure trove, there are so many incredible and diverse artists doing their thing. There are a solid number of businesses and spaces running arts-focused initiatives, which is super inspiring. We're so spread out along the beach here, I wish there was a central place or event for the arts community to convene regularly and connect. There's a lot of potential for growth and I'm stoked to be a part of that.

You mentioned your recent involvement with LENS2019. I understand you had the opportunity to collaborate with Jay Jermyn and Julian Currie for the first time through this project. What was the process like and how did collaborating with a different practitioner inform the outcomes?

I was really fortunate to be paired with Jay and Julian (otherwise known as Veople)! Our creative practices are very compatible and we connected instantly. The project took place over 2 weeks, where we had to produce 12 digital artworks for social media as a partnership, under the theme of 'STAND'. Our collaborative work was a spontaneous exploration of hidden urban environments, found materials and soundscapes assembled and arranged within the context of 'unspaces'. Inspired by the repetitive remnants of people in everyday places, we combined sculpture, film and sound respectively, to document curated interactions between discarded functional objects and streetscapes. Follow @lensgc on Instagram to see our project outcomes! Photographer Aaron Chapman was our team leader and mentor, helping us push our ideas and outcomes. The process was really invigorating and the time restriction forces you to work effectively under pressure. Our collaboration continues post-LENS too – stay tuned!

Jay and Julian are prolific and very talented makers, we had some hilarious conversations and I loved creating with them. I'm really excited to listen to their first recorded album this year!

You've always had a connection with the Coast. How do you feel your move has influenced your work?

My work is responsive to environments, spaces and functional objects within those, so it's no surprise that my work has shifted with my change in location. I thrive off critical discussion, experimentation and learning, all of which have been rediscovered in the context of the GC. After moving from First Coat Studios in Toowoomba, which was my second home and family, I've realised that having a strong art community around me is paramount to creative success, mental health and professional growth. Lucky for me I've found that kind of crew again at Art-Work Agency and my studio at Dust Temple, as well as by participating in projects facilitated by the GC Council such as LENS GC. I've also connected with places like Burleigh Brewing, who are exceptional in their initiative to actively support artists and makers with practical professional development opportunities. 

When did your interest for art and your practice begin? 

My art floats between the spaces of minimalist, conceptual and assemblage art, sometimes touching on or combining principles and process from all of those areas. My focus is on materials, functional objects and urban environments (think construction sites), space and how all of these things are constructed by context. My work is not emotional or self-expressive but driven by a deep interest in materials and how they are used. Basically, I use contemporary techniques including painting (mostly acrylic house paints), assemblage, deconstruction and positioning recycled materials to alter functional found objects. I don’t really use traditional art making processes and I rarely plan works far in advance, preferring to let found objects, chance and instinct drive my outcomes. I also consider how context establishes new dialogues between artworks, space and viewers, which has led me to a passion for public art and exhibiting work in non-traditional spaces.

Initially I started university in a Business degree, which ended up definitely not being for me, so I moved into a Bachelor of Creative Arts. I’ve always had an interest in art and creating things. I’ve been encouraged throughout my life – from drawing as a kid, to helping my dad/grandad make things in the shed and finally in art classes throughout my schooling. In my first year studying art we did a workshop with recycled road signs, experimenting with welding, joinery, carving and assembling materials to create sculptures. From there my interest in functional and recycled industrial materials started. I always wanted to be a painter like the Greats (Michaelangelo etc.) but that kind of work didn’t make a lot of sense conceptually for me and lacked the meaningfulness and the multi-dimensionality that working with industrial materials, space and context did for me.

I play with deconstruction and reconstruction of function, purpose and intention, constantly considering the value of materials in art and then my role as the artist in challenging this perception for my audience. There is a kind of obstreperousness or perversity to using things to do something they’re not meant to, that is endlessly satisfying. My practice also extends to curating exhibitions and projects.

Why do you love what you do and why do you think it is important for others to find something they are passionate about?

I love what I do, art is the way I choose to understand the world and communicate the things that fascinate, challenge and inspire me. I’m really passionate about supporting other artists/makers and the creative industries, as they are the way we document, create meaning and communicate. Being able to pursue my passion makes me very excited to get out of bed in the morning. Art has a way of changing perspective and experience, facilitating and creating that is my passion.

How has your art helped shape your thinking on sustainability?

My practice relies (almost solely) on found functional objects and industrial materials, which are almost always recycled from dumpsters, second hand shops or my contacts. Being conscious of what I’m using to make my artworks is really important to me, as I don’t believe that my practice should have a negative effect on our planet. Used materials present unique possibilities and can be transformed or positioned how I choose – old things can create new dialogues. Even now I’m still reusing materials I found years ago. I don’t believe that sustainability and conscious consumption should be a selling point or a perk, it should be a given. Using recycled materials in my arts practice has helped me learn to think laterally, problem solve and use what I have, which I’ve applied to me life in many ways outside the studio.

What do you enjoy about Burleigh Brewing and do you have a favourite beer or style of beer?

This place has the best vibes, whatever is going on in the Brewery there is always a sweet energy and plenty of beer. When it comes to beer I always get the Burleigh Twisted Palm, it tastes like summer and the beach to me.

Images by Troy Archer Studio, courtesy of Burleigh Brewing Co.
Words from interviews with Burleigh Brewing Co. and Art-Work Agency.