World-renowned Gold Coast artist.
World-renowned Gold Coast artist.
He’s a world-renowned Gold Coast artist whose oil on canvas stand somewhere between genres of hyperrealism, photorealism and virtuosic Renaissance realism. Put simply, it’s captivating and we won’t blame you if you get a little lost in Joel Rea’s incredible pieces.
We sat down for a chat with Joel about how he plans to incorporate the current social climate into his work and what inspires him to create such unique art.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
My family moved from England to the Gold Coast when I was 2 years old, 1985. I’ve lived on the Goldie ever since.
What do you love most about living here?
The natural diversity and the perfect range of weather temperature. I love a blue sky and shining sun, not too hot, not too cold.
Talk us through how you came to be an artist?
I was aiming hard at an art career from senior high school, from there I went straight into Griffith University on the Gold Coast studying fine art and finished my degree at The Queensland College of Art in Southbank, Brisbane. A guest speaker at the campus recruited me when I reached out shortly after graduating, I worked at their artist-run gallery until I gained enough momentum to be solely painting.
How would you describe your work?
Most of my imagery comes across as surreal and a juxtaposition of elements. It is vivid, photorealistic and highly detailed.
What inspires you to create such pieces?
I’m fascinated by a lot of varying subjects, so becoming an artist who can investigate many fields and creatively interpret ideas and questions worked out quite well from me. I’m never bored, and in all my art I repeat in some way the same personal agenda that awareness of existence is paramount. In childhood, you easily surrender to the wonder of nature, so part of my artwork is always to remember those early bonds. In those relationships of pure creative freedom a real truth resonates, often extinguished by the burdens of adulthood if one can fight to keep those portals open you can draw from them and use them like I have to create and communicate.
Are there any current social issues you plan to depict in upcoming pieces?
The weird thing about the global pandemic was a year before COVID happened I started painting scenes from outer space looking down on our planet, I had this eerie feeling for a while that something global was going to happen and in my mind, I kept dreaming of our planet silently sitting and waiting with a sense of foreboding. I thought that perhaps another global financial crisis was coming and we’d all be shook again. Now I suppose my future themes will again incorporate a sense of ‘hanging on’, that all worthwhile pursuits come with discomfort.
What is your plan for the rest of 2020?
Just painting more and spend time with my wife and four young kids, they are 8, 6, 3 and 10 months old.
Any advice for upcoming artists who dream of becoming professional?
All I really know is what has worked for me, speaking your truth, push your limits to reach your maximum abilities and being humble enough to approach everyone and anyone for advice, insight and guidance. Don’t get stuck on any particular hurdle just work hard and hustle.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Cafe for breakfast: Stable Coffee at Cornerstone Stores in Currumbin
Coffee spot: Dust Temple in Currumbin
Restaurant for dinner: Zipang Japanese in Currumbin
How does your day usually look: Normal work hours in my home studio in Tallebudgera, playing with my kids in the afternoons, skateboarding, kids sport – nippers and touch footy and my mid week fitness check-in at Boonchu Muay Thai Gym in Burleigh.
You can catch Joel at an Artist Talk at Mint Art House on Thursday October 22nd. Grab your tickets here.
If there was one thing we Gold Coasters lacked, it was a walk-in cheese room found inside a store that also sells wine and olives and next door to four more beautifully curated retail spaces that literally sell all of your (our) favourite things plus the prettiest of eateries. Okay so we lacked a few things but NOT ANYMORE friends.
Cornerstone Stores opened in Currumbin over the weekend and good luck not emptying your wallet there on a regular basis. The bold brick building has taken up residence on the corner of the Gold Coast Highway and Farrell Drive and it is the actual perfect visual representation of all our dreams come true.
It’s tough to know where to start but the beginning usually works so allow us to walk you through the space.
Quince Fromagerie – Food
First up on the left is the new love of our lives, Quince Fromagerie which, as mentioned is home to the walk in cheese room (and coldest place on the Coast right now) plus an absolute next-level selection of wines, locally produced gin, olives, crackers, meats, sauces, you name it. BRB, moving in.
Prae Store – Retail
Next door is Prae Store and it is actually a gift from the Gods. Inside you’ll find the most aesthetically pleasing activewear from the likes of PE Nation and First Base, all the best organic skincare brands, crystals, natural perfumes, cookbooks, jewellery, candles and various other things that will make your life better and also prettier.
Zanzi Hairdressing – Beauty
Moving along we’ve got Zanzi Hairdressing, which is what we’d like our house to look like please. PLUS everything used inside is eco-friendly, there are no magazines (iPads instead – hi 2018), products are organic and the space is beaming out all the super chill vibes.
Borrowed Nursery – Retail
To the right is our beloved Borrowed Nursery and a room filled with greenery. Huge ceramic pots are scattered around the dewy space, a selection of smaller plants run through the middle and shelves stacked with flowing ferns, ceramic homewares, candles and woven lampshades complete the most beautiful of pictures.
Kind Curations – Retail
Continuing on we’ve got Kind Curations, a collection of unique brands the likes of which the Coast has never seen before. And wow are they something. Floaty fashion, ceramics, glassware, candles, stunning women’s magazines, beach umbrellas and eyewear make up the perfectly put together store and if you’re after the perfect gift for your lady loves, look no further.
Little Loves Studio – Retail
Last but certainly not least in the retail department is Little Loves Studio which is definitely what we would call a children and babywear goodies store if we had any business sense whatsoever. Little Loves (so good) is filled with tiny clothing cooler than anything you or I could ever wear, as well as beautiful books and toys to keep forever. We don’t even have babies and want to buy everything.
Stable Coffee Kitchen – Food
Last but not least, on the ground floor, is Stable Coffee Kitchen and you may as well move to Currumbin so this place can be your new local because it is gooooooood.
It’s made up of concrete benches offset by rustic red brick walls, blonde timber seating, an artistic masterpiece by local legend Claudio Kirac and a blush coloured marble table in the centre which was quite obviously put there for Insta-snap opportunities. Everything from the pink and navy takeaway cups to the Stable branded ceramics are pure perfection and the best part is, as a café, they serve food too. Shocking.
Open for breakfast and lunch, the emphasis is on real, good-for-you foods with plenty of love thrown in for good measure. We sampled the Folded Buckwheat Crepe with lemon ricotta, fermented rose honey, seasonal fruit and pistachio and the Sourdough of Valley Tomatoes and Avocado. They obviously looked and tasted as delightful as they sound. You can also pop in for a takeaway salad, of which there are five choices, made fresh daily. Good luck eating anywhere else ever again.
So who dreamed up this magical space? A local family who have lived in the Currumbin area for three generations that’s who. Renee Honey and her husband Ben run Stable, Renee’s mum Kath is the angel behind the fromagerie and brother Luke and his partner Bec created Prae Store.
The delightful family who are extremely passionate about the place we all call home, dreamed up Cornerstones after visiting cities and exploring cool laneways and boutiques and wishing there was something more cultural, intimate and with real substance closer to the Coast.
And after reading that story you can tell we’re very happy they did.
As will you be the minute you set foot inside the bustling little hub that has transformed Currumbin in only a matter of days.
Oh and forgot to mention there’s a big old grassy area where the kiddies (or adults if it’s that kind of day) can run around and have a play.
We’re in love and you will be too.
LOCATION: 570 Gold Coast Hwy, Currumbin
HOURS: Stores open 9am to 4pm daily and Stable Coffee Kitchen opens from 7am to 4pm daily
Words and photos by Kirra Smith.
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
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.