She’s a former Gold Coast gal who has come full circle, recently securing representation at Mermaid Beach art gallery 19 Karen and if you’ve ever laid eyes on the stunning work of Jayde Chandler, you’ll understand why.
We sat down for a chat with Jayde about what it’s like to fulfil a lifelong dream from the unforgiving Queensland Outback and her advice for anyone looking to take their work to the next level.
Do you get to visit the Gold Coast often?
We have always been lucky enough to get down to the Gold Coast a couple of times a year to visit family which is lovely. It is such a familiar destination to me after completing five years of boarding school at St Hilda’s School, Southport.
What do you love most about coming here?
It’s always the beaches for me! Coming from outback Queensland means that visiting the glorious Gold Coast beaches are an absolute must do. Now that I have four children of my own, I love sharing favourite spots for some much needed vitamin sea! That and the dining scene, so many great places to eat I can’t name them all!
You recently gained representation at 19 Karen on the Gold Coast, how did that feel?
I am so excited to have gained representation by 19 Karen Gallery. It is an incredible honour to be under the curation of highly respected art collector and curator, Terri Lew. The Gallery is Queensland’s largest Contemporary Art Gallery and is so highly regarded with an amazing selection of Australian and International artists both emerging and established. I am thrilled to be welcomed into the family and eager to see what opportunities lay ahead.
Talk to us about your art, how do you describe it?
I am a self taught contemporary artist, mostly identifying as an abstract expressionist of sorts. I use a mixture of acrylics, impasto and oil sticks to create, multilayered, highly textural translations of the landscapes I have lived in and loved. From a tree lined gully at the back of the property to the hinterlands of Byron Bay, I use symbolic references, to tell a story with vibrant and joyous colours. My work focuses on the perfection of imperfections and I embrace every lump and bump through the use of a combination of palette knives and brushes and at times even my fingers. I aim to spark joy and bring raw personality into my collectors homes, drawing much inspiration from the beauty of nature and a childhood based in the outback.
What was your journey to becoming an artist?
I began painting almost two years ago to fulfil a life-long desire to create and share beauty. I had previously studied interior design but was looking for more freedom and painting had always been something I had wanted to try. It was also a form of escapism and release to help manage the stress of the ongoing drought in Western Queensland. I accepted the challenge from my husband to auction the first piece I ever painted to raise money for drought relief and when it received such a wonderful response I gained the courage to pursue my dreams.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to turn professional with their art?
Just press enter! The hardest part of beginning anything new is actually starting. People tend to put things off or make excuses when everything isn’t perfect or they are afraid that what they produce might not be good enough. You have to start somewhere. Be courageous and just begin, even if it is terrible. You will learn so much about yourself and your practice on the way to where you want to be. It is terribly frightening baring your soul to the world to be judged but what do you have to lose? There is always so much more to be gained by having a go. Create, create, create. If it’s your passion, work your arse off and give it everything you’ve got. You will never regret giving it your best shot.
How is the rest of 2020 looking for you?
I had a big start to 2020 with my first solo exhibition at Wild Canary Art in Brisbane and have just contributed to Inverell Art Gallery’s Annual Contemporary Art Exhibition. Up next is Merricks General Wine Store’s Annual Traders Fair in Victoria, opening Friday 29th May – 26th July. My priority for the rest of the year is completing all of my commissions and getting fresh new works to galleries and stockists across the country.
Will we be seeing more of you on the Coast from now on?
Hopefully I will be able to visit the Gold Coast more often to hand deliver works to 19 Karen. What a fabulous excuse to visit!
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
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
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 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
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.
Owner of 19Karen Contemporary Art in Mermaid Beach, Terri Lew is somewhat of a local cultural icon unto herself.
Since 2008 she has built and nourished the Coast’s art scene and introduced us to countless incredible artists, both emerging and established, and their works.
Ahead of the May Exhibition openings this week, we spoke to Terri about her passion for contemporary art and why we should invest in only those pieces that makes us happy.
What can Gold Coasters expect from the May exhibitions at 19Karen?
Four very different shows by four different artists with a common thread and similar concern for our environment and the world we live in.
Japanese born, local artist, Go Suga, is using his skills as a graphic designer to illustrate and create paintings in bright happy colors. The title of his show is ‘Time Traveler’. Go is concerned about the environment and wants to know what caused the destruction of planet earth. He travels back in time to examine the cause and hope to prevent it from happening again. Each painting is a scene that leads to another and each has a story line.
Sacha Beverley is also a local artist whose abstract work tells a personal story. A story that explores her inner desires, hopes and dreams. The color palette used in this new body of work is subtle yet strong in shapes, layers of paint and symbolic imagery with hidden words absent from viewing.
Japanese artist (living and working in Japan) Ryuzo Kojima, whose message is also strongly associated with nature, uses recyclable materials to create his beautiful iconic figures. Ryuzo believes that nature keeps us alive and the most important matter in human living is conscious understanding of our precious lives, love for all!
Norwegian artist, Peter-John de Villiers, tells a similar story in his black and white paintings on canvas. PJ humanising pets because of their irresistible personalities and unconditional love. PJ believe that animals are here to teach us something about ourselves. He is willing to suspend reality for a moment just to imagine life through the eyes of his pets.
There are a few local artists on show, what do you personally love about the Coast’s artistic scene?
I love the fact that both artists really appreciate the city they live in. You can see it in their work. Their work is happy and uncomplicated despite the story they are trying to tell us. It has something to do with our lifestyle on the Gold Coast. Our beautiful weather makes us happy and we have no reason to be unhappy. We live in the best part of the country (even the world) we just need to appreciate it more. These two artists remind us of that.
How do you decide who to showcase?
I usually use my taste in art and artists when I curate a show. I cannot show art that I personally don’t like. For me it’s not about just selling the art although that is an important part of a commercial gallery and it is what drives the artists to continue their practice.
How have you seen the local art scene grow since you opened 19Karen?
When I opened the gallery two new galleries emerged and one old gallery closed. Since then many young entrepreneurs took the plunge and opened their own creative businesses. I really believe that I started this movement on the Gold Coast, starting with the warehouse style art space and showcasing emerging art other galleries wouldn’t take a chance on.
What did you hope to create when you opened the gallery in 2008?
A movement in contemporary cutting edge art, art that triggers an emotional reaction when you see it for the first time. Art which doesn’t need any explanation and art that no other gallery in Australia would dare to show.
How did your journey into art and gallery life come about?
I sold my successful publishing business after 20 years of demanding work and wasn’t quite ready to retire. I was an art collector and was married to an artist for 20 years. This was something I wanted to do before I retired and when the opportunity presented itself, I took it.
What do you hope is the future of art and culture on the Gold Coast?
More education, understanding, appreciation and love for the arts. I’d like to see the Gold Coast community invest in art, not just for the sake of investment but because it enhances their life and makes them happy. For me collecting art and being surrounded by art, at home and in the gallery, makes me very happy. It’s like the air I breathe.
Anything else we should know about 19Karen?
The work in our gallery is totally different to any art you will see in any commercial gallery in Australia. With over 100 artists (and more to come), we have the biggest variety of art of any successful commercial gallery in Australia. We have urban art, street art, low brow, figurative, abstract, portraits, surrealism, graphics, whimsical, quirky, expressionism, pop surrealism, pop art and everything in between. There is also ceramic and porcelain art, a few sculptures and unique jewelry from Spain.
Your favourite piece of life advice?
Do what you love and love what you and it won’t be considered as work. Take risks in life and make it work!
You’re not a Gold Coast local if you haven’t… lived here at least four seasons.
Restaurant…Etsu, The Glenelg Pub, Social Dining in Broadbeach
Coffee shop…Bookface at Pacific Fair. They make the best coffee!!!!
LOCATION: 19 Karen Ave, Mermaid Beach.
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:
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.