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.