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Go Suga

Gold Coast Artist and Designer.

He’s a talented local artist who migrated to Australia from Japan almost 30 years ago and now, we are lucky enough to call Go Suga a local. 

His art is self-described as a “mystical seamless blending of cultures” and the stunning, colourful pieces being a sense of joy and wonder to those who lay eyes on them.

We sat down for a chat with Go about drawing inspiration from surfing and how doing what you love causes good things to pop up out of nowhere. 

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I came to Gold Coast back in 1990 so that would make me a 28-year Gold Coast local.

What do you love most about living here?
SURF, lifestyle, summer time is longer than winter, some people, the environment (close to the ocean and mountains), big roads, big houses, relatively clean public toilets, lots of parks with free use of BBQ facility, lots of surf shops, the list goes on.

How did you come to know you wanted to be an artist?
I enjoyed drawing since I was little with my brothers but I didn’t think of becoming an artist back then. It was when I had a fall out with my business partner around five years ago and realised I really love to do drawing and painting and that I want to keep doing it until I cannot.

What’s been your journey to get to where you are today?
If I were to put it in one word it would be FUN. I believe if you find what you really love to do and you start doing it you can’t go wrong. I haven’t done anything major yet really, it’s always a work in progress but the most important thing I reckon is that you enjoy your life and I achieved that with art being one of the main ingredients. Since I started doing art, good things seemed to just pop up from nowhere like being represented in a professional art gallery, winning an award, being in the newspaper and magazines and on TV. If I didn’t pursue what I love to do, I don’t think any of that would have happened.

How do you describe your art to people?
Colourful and simple.

Where do you find inspiration for the pieces you create?
Right now I get most of my inspiration from surfing and other artists work I find online and through visiting galleries and museums etc.

What do you think about the Coast’s art and culture scene these days?
I’m not too sure as I’m just one simple dude. I can’t see the whole picture accurately but if I’m being interviewed here and there about my art I guess there’s lots more interest in art on the Coast than there was 10-15 years ago.

What do you have in the pipeline for the upcoming year?
I have my first exhibition in Melbourne at a gallery called the Outre Gallery in March. Other than that I have a few mural jobs, which is not 100% concrete yet, and a few projects I’ve been working on that I cant reveal yet.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Beach: Tugun
Café: Urban Snack Bar Burleigh
Restaurant: Ashmore Steak and Seafood
How does your weekend usually look: If it’s summer and waves are good I’ll be surfing, usually somewhere between Mermaid and Cabarita early in the morning like 5am, and then on the way back home I’ll get a blueberry danish and almond croissants from Panya Bakery at Currumbin. If there are no waves, I’ll wake up at the same time and work on a painting. Once my family wakes, I usually change my sons diaper, have breakfast, walk the dog and go wherever my wife wants to go like shopping, to Byron or a cafe etc. We spend the day somewhere, walk the dog, have dinner, put my son in the bath, watch YouTube on couch, paint and sleep.

Kiel Tillman

Kiel Tillman was recently commissioned to paint three murals and a piece of art for The Arts Centre’s Signs of the Time exhibition.

He’s a long-time Gold Coast local and much-loved designer. We sat down for a chat with Kiel to find out his take on the local arts scene and what he’s got coming up.

Tell me about your background. How did you come to be an artist on the Gold Coast?

I grew up in a small coastal town on the mid north coast of NSW. I was always creative through high school and in year 12 I found out there was this thing called a Graphic Artist and you could get paid for being creative so I was like, “sign me up!”

As soon as school ended, I packed my life into my Barina and moved to the Gold Coast.I studied a Diploma of Graphic Design and jumped straight into working at a big offset printing company, I went to Billabong designing clothes for eight years, worked with a friend at his company called Potato Press.

After seven years with those absolute legends, I felt the need to do more freelance work. Now I am predominantly working on my freelance career with my own clients doing everything from graphic design and illustration to t-shirt design, murals, hosting workshops and whatever else creative I can sink my teeth in to. I think it was back when I worked at Billabong I realised I could produce art and exhibit it and people would actually want to check it out.

About six years ago I started to focus on it more and was getting involved in group exhibitions and having my own solo exhibitions both here and interstate. Now I just basically get involved with any exhibition I get asked to do.

We have seen your work at the Gold Coast Arts Centre’s latest exhibition, Signs of the Times, how did you get involved?

They contacted me to create one of the commissioned pieces so I jumped at the chance. I also got the opportunity to paint three of the walls in the main terrace areas out the front of the Gallery and Arts Centre. It was really great working with the guys there. They’re really trying to bring more of a youthful culture to the Coast. The Signs of the Time exhibition is the perfect example; I mean they had a lineup out the door on opening night. I don’t think that has ever happened before.

What have you been working on lately?

I’ve had a bunch of logo designs on the go lately which is pretty standard. I have a collaboration with TC and Beach Burrito Co. happening which will be a t-shirt and some live painting at the Coolangatta Beach Burrito on the 4th of March.

A piece for a sneaker themed group exhibition coming up at Sanchos Dirty Laundry in Canberra. I’ve got some big stuff going on with Burleigh Brewing Co., which will roll out soon.

The job I’m literally working on right now is a tee design for The Undercurrent representing my home suburb, Currumbin. Represent. Kinda like a non-cheesy souvenir tee for the locals and tourists alike. It’s going to be rad.

How has the Coast’s arts scene changed over the years you’ve been involved?

It has definitely evolved since I started. There are seriously so many great creatives coming out of the Coast. Some people in the industry can be surprised when you say you’re from the Gold Coast, they think that you should be from one of the capital cities or something. The world is connected so much more than even 10 years ago when I started, so you can get your work out there easier.

What’s unique about artists on the Gold Coast?

I think we’re unique because we DONT come from a major city. We have a different perspective due to the lifestyle we live. I think the best thing about the creative scene on the Coast is how supportive everyone is of each other. It’s so awesome to see the community thrive.

What do you think the future holds for art on the Coast?

The opportunities are endless. There is seriously so much potential for the coast to become a heavy hitter in the creative industry. Look out!!

Anything exciting in the works for you?

This year I’m just focusing on getting my freelance business cranking. I love connecting and creating with all kinds of people through my work, so just more of that is the aim. I have had an idea for a solo exhibition for the last couple of years, so I might take some steps to get that off the ground this year also. No promises though. My wife and I not long had our second child, so I’m enjoying spending time with our little family unit at the moment. Trying to get that work life balance right – It’s not easy!

Stay tuned for Kiel’s collaboration with The Undercurrent, a new local t-shirt label, which will be introduced exclusively on Inside Gold Coast in April.

Claudio Kirac

There aren’t enough words in the world to describe the sky high levels of inspiration, creativity and general good vibes Claudio Kirac brings to the Gold Coast (but please, read on and you’ll get the gist).

He’s an artist, photographer and designer who has travelled the world to make magic with some of the biggest brands out there but, lucky for us, he calls our golden shores home. Over the last few years he’s worked closely with HOTA, Bleach* Festival and Festival 2018, to name a few, but his most recent project is a little closer to home.

We sat down for a chat with the absolute legend that is CK about his agency Art-Work’s epic new creative space and why the Gold Coast has become a well-oiled arts and culture machine.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I have been on the GC for most of my life, was not born here, but definitely consider myself a die-hard local.

What do you love most about our beautiful city?
The small country town feel with some of the luxuries of a big city. The GC’s connection to nature is one of our most valuable assets and a definite game changer when it comes to quality of life and enjoying where you live.

Tell us your exciting news…
Our agency, Art-Work (AW) has climbed some big mountains in the past few years, from the strength of our collaborators to our internal creative and business mindset, you could say we are growing. With growth comes challenge and change, and your daydreams eventually manifest into something that is greater than you could possibly imagine. So, we have combined all our experience and knowledge, dipped our big toe in, and are creating a physical home for Art-Work, a multi purpose space for Design and Dreaming, right in the growing creative hub of Cronulla and Karen in Mermaid Beach

What will you have going on in the new space?
Our new creative space, the AW World HQ, will be our daily go-to for all of our creative production. It’s a blank canvas of sorts that we can use to experiment, play and grow ideas for the years to come – business in the front and dancing in the back. On a daily basis it will serve as our design office, with space to do photography and video production, contemporary art and creative consultation, with a vision to host exhibitions, industry gatherings and workshops from time to time – the space will be by appointment only, but you are welcome to drop by with coffee, tacos or wine anytime.

Tell us about your career journey so far, where did you start and how did you end up here?
I have always lived and loved art, from a 15 year history working in the surf industry, to jumping out on our own with Art-Work to work on the projects we love, it has been such an inspiring journey. I started AW with my long-term colleague and friend Paul Bow almost seven years ago now, from humble beginnings to trailblazing new territories; we are the perfect blend of creativity and commerce. My wife Laura Strange has brought such a new light to what we do across digital, design and strategy, that I find myself learning new things every day, which is one thing that we, as humans and designers, should never stop doing.

No doubt there have been many highlights, what are some favourite career moments?
The ultimate highlight is everyday when I pinch myself and am grateful for being able to be creative and get paid for it, also travels to far away lands of sunshine and snow and the memories and friendships we create along the way are experiences you will never forget.

Where do you find inspiration as such a creative guy?
I used to devour a lot of print collateral – still do, but much less – AW has an amazing design library BTW. I have to sometimes force myself to look beyond the pages of Pinterest, as it is veritable minefield of collated, curated craziness! These days a calm mind, a jump in the ocean and good verbal download helps to put things into perspective.

What are your thoughts on the Coast’s growing arts and culture scene?
The arts and culture scene on the GC is now a well oiled machine, compared to where we used to be five, 10 even 15 years ago now, the term ‘Cultural Wasteland’ never even entered my mind, although it’s taken a long and winding road to get to where we are now. With independent galleries through to HOTA and ongoing support from government infrastructure, I feel it is now at the perfect place to go next level and be taken seriously, with a community of talented creative hearts and minds to help tell the story.

What else would you like to see happen?
For artists and designers to stay here and embrace the ride.

What’s the plan for the rest of 2018?
We have had ridden a crazy wave this year, all the way from the beginning with HOTA, Bleach* and Festival 2018 through to working on creative content with our favourite locals at Dwell Store. Now over the hump with launching our new space and embracing the neighbourhood vibes we have some super exciting projects on the horizon across photography, video, brand and mural work to round out the year, but not before Laura and I head to the USA for a month long road trip of culture, food and good times!

Best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Wait for the moment, but do it now.

Favourites on the Coast:
Beach: From Cooly to the Spit, there’s nowhere like it on this planet!
Cafe: I’d have to throw my favourite Mermaid Beach locals in the hat, the best from All-Time, Hula Girl, Le Cafe Gourmand and Door 50 – you can’t go wrong
Restaurant: LUPO, Itoshin, Harry’s and Justin Lane for the cross section of good local cuisine
How does your weekend usually look? Up for the early or sleep in, depending on what’s on the cards, walk to get coffee and start from there. We sometimes work on Sunday because it doesn’t always feel like work. I like to cook, catch up with family and friends, reset and plan for the week ahead. A good schedule makes for a productive week, so the weekend is the time to reflect and refocus.

Renee Enoka

The Gold Coast is home to an increasing number of incredible artists and excitingly, galleries, workshops and exhibitions are popping up all over the place. Which we are extremely happy about.

One such artist is Renee Enoka, a self-described structural artist who creates pieces celebrating the female form and others with quirky, colourful shapes.

We sat down with the talented local gal about creating with intention and learning from your mistakes.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I moved to the Gold Coast from New Zealand in 2000 so I’ve been a local here for 19 years. I’m practically an Aussie now.

What do you love most about living here?
The laid back lifestyle! I love being close to the beach. I feel at peace when I’m close to the water.

Have you always been a creative person?
Since I was born. It’s part of my DNA. I won my first drawing competition when I was four.

How did your art career come about?
I’ve always been interested in art. I was a top student in high school however it wasn’t until I completed a degree in fashion that I knew being an artist is what I’d do full time.

How do you describe your work?
My art is a compilation of two elements – structural and organic. Having the balance of structural technical drawings of the female form, contrasting with quirky organic shapes and colours. Each piece is crafted with a unique intention – to inspire authenticity and mindfulness. Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have, it’s a practice. A conscious choice to show up each day and choose to let our true selves be seen. Authenticity encompasses wellbeing, consciousness and mindfulness. Allowing you to not just be present, but to also enjoy it!

Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration is drawn from many facets of design: architecture, furniture, fashion, interiors, print and photography. At the moment I’m inspired by the psychology of design and how different elements make us feel.

You use a lot of raw, earthy colours in your pieces, why are you drawn to this palette?
To be mindful is the ability to be present in a wondrous state and without any judgement. A part of being mindful is connecting with our surrounding and our mother Earth. Raw earthy tones assist in this approach, as it helps us to feel grounded.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to turn their passion into a career?
100% follow your heart. It will never do you wrong. You may make mistakes along the way but that is all part of the fun. Mistakes are what ground you. Don’t dwell on them. Learn from them and move on quickly!

Tell us your favourites on the Gold Coast…
Beach: It’s not my local but Currumbin always has a piece of my heart.
Cafe: The Shack Superfood Cafe
Restaurant: Poke Poke
How does your weekend usually look?
If I’m not working, homemade banana pancakes with my man followed by some beach action or a trip down to Cabarita.


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