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Chats with Gold Coast artist Dan Mason

The Gold is absolutely brimming with local creatives, some brand new and some having been a part of establishing our local cultural scene.

One such longstanding artist is Dan Mason, a painter who will this week paint a live portrait at his pop-up show The Journeyman.

We sat down for a chat with Dan about his unique ability to create incredible art with knives and what to expect from this weekend’s show.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I went to Miami High School in the late ‘80’s, surfing everyday before and after class. My working/ocean time ritual is pretty much still the same to this day.

What do you love most about living here?
Our clean slice of the Pacific Ocean

Tell us about how you came to be a full-time artist?
While at Uni in the mid 90’s, I worked as an old-school Photographic Retouch Artist (with brushes), designed, built and painted furniture in my garage and always yearned to work for myself honouring the gift of creative consciousness. I took the plunge ‘full-time’ at the start of ’03 after returning home from an overseas trip, where I became scarily ill. It was then that I decided that life’s too short to not do what you love – or at least give it a red-hot go.

What’s unique about your work?
I’d loosely suggest that I’ve spent between 200k-300k hours, with an emphasis on perpetual experimentation and painting in my studio. Remember, they’re only mistakes if you don’t learn from them. My painterly approach has metamorphosised into a delicate attack, with palette knives in hand & thick impasto oil movements.

Tell us about The Journeyman…
Firstly I’m painting a new portrait live in the gallery both days. Hopefully the cleaning bill after I leave isn’t too big! This two-day show is allowing me to connect with collectors who have acquired my artwork from Red Hill Gallery in Brisbane, over the past fifteen years, as well as some new faces. I guess I’m most known for my abstracted sensibilities and there’ll be most of the thick abstract oil paintings that I’ve created from the past twelve months on show AT 2005 PRICES! I’ve been developing my love of portraiture in recent times and will have a few 100x150cm pieces ready to go to good homes too. I’ve also created many very affordable smaller framed works for those who only have small walls to fill. They’re half their normal price for the weekend – that’s two-for-one.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to make their passion for art into a full-time career?
Be good at what you do and work harder than everybody else. Build relationships. Be very humble.

What’s in the works for the rest of 2019 for you?

I’m obsessed with developing my portraiture and painting people who contribute generously to our society. More of this is what I’m aiming for.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Cafe for breaky: Neighbourhood Espresso, Currumbin Waters
Coffee spot: Dune Café at Palm Beach Parklands
Restaurant for dinner: Balboa Italian in Palm Beach
How does your weekend usually look: Hanging with my wife and two young sons at the park/beach. I love working in my backyard landscaping and gardening on Sundays too – it’s my outdoor ‘man-cave’. If I’m lucky, I get to watch one game of AFL on the box each weekend.

10 epic Gold Coast street art murals

Water Walls Project mural by Kiel Tillman (image supplied)
Water Walls Project mural by Kiel Tillman (image supplied)

If you’ve done any travelling overseas — or taken a casual stroll through the back lanes of Melbourne — you might have noticed a culture of street art and murals that simply leave you in awe. Not one to be far behind, the Gold Coast has been creating urban-based pieces of art at an impressive pace for the last several years, further confirming our slow burn and steady rise as a hub of culture in the land down under.

You may pass by these pieces without noticing them, or worse, not even know of their existence. And for the sake of the hard work and talent that has gone into them, we think that would be an utter travesty. And as our art scene is only going in one direction (up), we thought it fitting to give you the lowdown on the city’s most notable and impressive pieces of outside/mural art! (listed from north to south).

Water Walls Project — Hope Island
As part of an installation for the Commonwealth Games, Creative Road commissioned local favourite Kiel Tillman (and others) to create some street art on bare spots across the Coast as a legacy to the games, with exceptional results. This piece is an impressive bird painted on the side of an unassuming little building facing the road — therefore, it’s unlikely you’ll miss it.
Where: Oxenford Southport Road & Pendraat Parade, Hope Island

Abbott Park, Parkwood
The Gold Coast City Council commissioned local artist Fiona Hutchinson-Mackenzie to create a community art mural in Abbott Park. Unfortunately, the drive behind it was mostly to deter vandalism. However, good things can come from bad. The beautiful, brightly coloured piece depicts the Surfers Paradise skyline and a little basketball action to boot.
Where: Abbott Park, Parkwood

HOTA Exterior (image supplied)
HOTA Exterior (image supplied)

Golden Walls — Ichiban Lane + Davison Lane Southport
You may have ventured past these dreamlike alleys in the Southport CBD and wondered how on earth it’s possible to paint something so good. Well, get this, some of the work was completed in one day and completely improvised — yes, you read that correctly. The artists behind the alley art are world-renowned Brisbane artist SOFLES and Lachlan Hansen – an artist of 40/40 Creative on the Coast. If you’re in the area, we say treat your eyeballs to some clever artwork hinged on depicting Asian cultures within the community.
Where: Off Scarborough Street, and Davison Lane, Southport

HOTA, Bundall
Created by Melbourne-based artist Mike Makatron, the pieces were commissioned to brighten up the cultural precinct, and what a great job he did of it! When you go to check out the newly opened Gallery — as if that isn’t enough — be sure to seek out these two outbuildings. They are a feast for the eyes with so many colourful aspects that you can expect to lose some serious time gazing up at them.
Where: HOTA, 135 Bundall Road, Bundall

Mexicali, Nobby Beach
No doubt you’ve spied this pretty piece on your travels to Nobby Beach on a margarita fuelled odyssey of fun. Designed and painted by local legend Luke Day, the colourful creation has quickly become a favourite Instagram opportunity for, well, pretty much everyone with a phone. In enchanting hues of pink and blue, it’s so Gold Coast, it hurts!
Where:1/2223 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach

AWOL External Mural (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
AWOL external mural by Kiel Tillman (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

AWOL Brewery, Burleigh Heads
The innovative crew behind Black Hops are right back at it again with their sister project, AWOL Brewery. With inventive work taking place inside, there was a call to ensure their space looked the goods inside and out. Kiel Tillman was naturally brought in to create some funky and unprecedented illustrative work — be sure to check it out, and don’t forget to grab a beer!
Where: AWOL, 4 Hibiscus Haven, Burleigh Heads

Tugun Fruit Market, Tugun
Does this man ever stop? He’s created countless cool projects over the years, but this one we feel is the jewel in the crown of Kiel Tillman’s talents. The Welcome to the Gold Coast mural painted onto the side of Tugun Super Market is nearly impossible to miss, and for those who have just touched down in the sunshine state: what an entrance!
Where: 499 Gold Coast Highway, Tugun

Feros Care “Grow Bold” Mural, Tugun
The story behind this huge 40m long wall will leave you speechless. The pop-art creation was enlisted by Feros Care and designed and painted by a young boy with autism, Jet, and his hero, renowned Bondi street artist Teazer. Before Jet met Teazer, he hadn’t left the house for more than 18 months. With the help of Teazer, Jet was able to work on something that empowered him to “Grow Bold.”
Where: Corner of Coolangatta Road and Boyd Street (adjacent to the Tugun Community Village Hall), Tugun

L-R: Davey McElvenny (aka Teazer), Jet Tiplady-Aldertona and Tarnya Sim in front of the Feros Care Grow Bold mural (image supplied)

Southern Cross University, Bilinga
Involving over 50 litres of paint and taking over a month to create this incredible ten storey high artwork is quite an artistic achievement. Created by Guido van Helten, a Brisbane-raised artist, the piece depicts an ultra-realistic-looking man and a woman looking back toward the campus. Taking it in makes you wonder how somebody could paint something so realistic, while at the same time not being able to see the bigger picture (literally).
Where: Gold Coast Airport, Terminal Drive, Bilinga

The Pink Hotel, Coolangatta
The bracing sight of The Pink Hotel in Coolangatta is a somewhat (welcome) sensory overload by anyone’s standard. Like many, we were excited when the dilapidated corner building was given an entirely new lease of life nearly three years back. Part of that is the ever-changing mural wall on the north-facing side closet to the beach. The artwork has recently undergone a new design in conjunction with Stone & Wood and artist Jamie Peters (AKA @poongoat) – but keep your eyes peeled because it won’t take too long for it to change again!
Where:  171 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

The Pink Hotel exterior (Photo by @sydneygirl63)
The Pink Hotel exterior (Photo by @sydneygirl63)

Mint Art Studio

It seems there’s an uprising occurring on the Gold Coast. Not in a the-world-is-burning Handmaid’s Tale kind of way. It’s more of a passion-fuelled, heart-led, art and cultural kind of way.

Which is obviously far better. Over the past few years, it kind of snuck up on us, an art exhibition here, a cultural festival there and now, local Coasties are creating new spaces to live out their dreams left, right and centre.

The latest of which is Mint Art Studio, a new space found on West Burleigh Road in Burleigh Heads and bringing all of your colour-filled, Alice in Wonderland-esque dreams to life. If you’ve driven past lately, no doubt you’ll have noticed Prickles, Andrew Cullen and Dion ParkersSwell Sculpture Festival winning giant barbed wire teddy bear standing guard out the front. He’s a real eye catcher. Not a fan of hugs though.

Inside, the space is dotted with works by the talented crew who put the space together and it’s an absolute kaleidoscope of colour with artworks-in-progress tacked to the walls, sculptures and resin art stacked about and a little communal area complete with vintage lounge chairs and plenty of laidback, feel good vibes.

Mint Art Studio is the work of a few incredible locals – Nat Popovski or Nat Pop, an abstract watercolour artist, Cara Sanders an acrylic painter known as Owlet, Danni Borody, of Rustic Fig Design, a painter and resin artist.

There’s also Jillian Bradley, a painter at Jillian Bradley Art, Emily Rose, a multi-disciplinary artist who practices the art of wood burning, Jude of Made in Burleigh, a ceramicist, Dean Brockett, an experimental potter and Vicky (at a.r.t.vs) who works with oil paint, pastels and soft sculpture.

They are a diverse and extremely talented bunch of Gold Coasters whose individual searches for a space to work amongst other artists brought them together.

The group says being able to bounce ideas off one another and watching creations come to life is an incredibly inspiring way to work and having spent time in the space, we can confirm the creative vibes are well and truly swirling within.

At the moment, Mint Art Studio is a working art space made to foster connection between some of the Coast’s most talented artists but the plan is for it to become a gallery with set opening days where people are able to pop in, meet the artists and purchase the pieces on display.

There’ll also be workshops and events with each of the artists in residence and there are a lot of plans for things like art house movie nights and the like.

For now, drop in and say g’day to the gang, you might just be inspired to start creating something yourself.

So you see, an uprising of the arts. Very exciting for our little seaside city and we are 100% here for it.

LOCATION: 55 West Burleigh Rd, Burleigh Heads

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

An art lovers guide to the Gold Coast

Wayne Sorensen Gallery (image supplied)

The Gold Coast’s local art scene has blossomed exponentially in the last few years. Galleries, installations and murals have popped up all over the Coast and local artists are making themselves known both here and on the national scene.

If you’re looking for a unique way to spend a day on the Gold Coast, we’ve got just the answer. Here’s a list of local galleries to help you get your art fix.

Wayne Sorrenson Gallery
World-renowned landscape photographer Wayne Sorrenson opened his very own gallery in Miami in 2020 so we, the lucky Gold Coasters get to peruse his breathtaking art anytime we like. Within the gallery, there’s a huge selection of framed artwork to purchase, as well as a range of gift ideas including acrylic blocks, greeting cards and calendars to name a few. It’s all absolutely magical and a lovely stand-in for the international travel we aren’t allowed to do right now.
Where: 40 Lemana Lane, Miami

Anthea Polson Art
Anthea Polson Art specialises in contemporary emerging Australian art and sculpture, including investment works. A regular exhibition programme showcases the work of emerging and established contemporary artists.
Where: 29 Tedder Avenue, Main Beach

Maverick Hair & Art Space
Maverick is a small gallery hosting community art exhibitions and events throughout the year. Headed up by artist Byron Coathup and partner Hayley, the space (also boasting a hair studio) caters for art and design lovers and offers beautiful gifts for purchase from both near and far. Don’t be afraid to head up the stairs and check out the gallery.
Where: First Floor, 1/17 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

The HIVE (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

The Hive Burleigh Heads
The newest of the bunch, The HIVE was opened very recently by Jo Ellings, a Gold Coast artist who has been creating stunning works for over 30 years and is now sharing that talent with the likes of us. Within the gallery you’ll find an array of stunning works to take home with you or, if you’d like to stay awhile why not grab a ticket to one of their workshops and become an artist yourself. There’s also a regular meetup and music night if you want to meet some like-minded folks.
Where: 5/3 Park Avenue, Burleigh Heads

Level Up studio + gallery
The space is designed to provide access to art experiences for young people and adults within the local community and beyond, through public programs hosting a range of creative activations, such as art workshops, artist talks, school holiday workshops, networking events and an exciting monthly exhibitions program. Emerging artists can apply for space and we can all pop in there to check out the magic. So good.
Where: 72-82 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

The Walls Art Space Miami
The Walls is an interactive space that began in 2012 aiming to serve as a hub of creative practice, critical dialogue and innovative thinking around contemporary art. Their annual program focus is to curate monthly exhibitions in conjunction with their successful local artist in residence program.
Where: 4/18 Mountain View Avenue, Miami

AW Gallery (image supplied)

AW Space
Created by the good people at ArtWork Agency, AW Space is a pretty art gallery slash workshop slash event space showcasing the work of a team of folks whose names you’ve no doubt heard uttered once or twice. They are Claudio Kirac and his equally impressive partners in crime Paul Bow and Laura Strange. All talented within their own rights, the team have combined their forces to create a stunning space filled with beautiful works. Do yourself a favour and get in there.
Where: 2/53-55 Cronulla Avenue, Mermaid Beach

Café dbar
Stop in for a delicious brunch overlooking the ocean and take in the collection of local art and handmade goodies next door while you’re there! The space combines works by local artists with a new store filled with locally made homewares, clothing and creative pieces.
Where: 275 Boundary Street, Coolangatta

19Karen Contemporary Artspace
A stunning space filled with bold new art (and all for purchase!) by emerging, mid-career and established Australian and International artists. Exhibitions curated by Terri Lew rotate regularly, ranging in style and genre from pop culture, surrealism, realism, street art, abstraction and to the still undefined.
Where: 19 Karen Avenue, Mermaid Beach

HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

HOTA
The Gold Coast’s premier cultural precinct, HOTA (Home of The Arts) has been showcasing visual and performing arts since 1986. With an array of exhibitions, cinemas and dining/bar facilities, there’s something for everyone throughout the entire year. In 2021, we’ll see the precinct increase in size with an incredible new six-level Gallery that’s due to open with world-class exhibitions (including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and more) plus a showcase of incredible local artists.
Where: 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise

Dust Temple
A refurbished warehouse (a piece of art itself) in the heart of Currumbin Waters, Dust Temple and its creative space Hinge Gallery hosts local, national and international artists, musicians and poets. There’s also a fantastic café / coffee shop, so stay awhile and soak up the creative scene.
Where: 54 Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Waters

Dust Temple (image supplied)
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