The urban street artist changing the Signs of the Time.
The urban street artist changing the Signs of the Time.
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.
Ah, Surfers Paradise. The jewel in the crown that is our fair city. The place visitors first picture in their minds and have done for the last several decades. While it is the most tourist-dense part of our Coast, what is it local’s love about it? Here we fill you in on the six best reasons locals love Surfers Paradise.
Belt out karaoke at Tune Up
The definition of karaoke, Tune Up is THE place to test out your vocal cords after you’ve had a few cocktails at bar instution The Avenue or a few schooners of ale from House of Brews. It’s an intimate environment that feels much like a house party where you can choose to mingle with everyone in the main bar or take up residence in your own little private room and sing your heart out. Count us in!
Where: Level 1, 23 Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise (above Gold Coast Real Estate)
Have a Guinness at the D’Arcy Arms
Wet your whistle with a pint of Guinness at D’Arcy Arms where the historic first Guinness keg was brewed in Queensland (and arguably Australia), tapped onsite in 1988. This locals’ Irish pub fave offers a welcome change of pace if you want to take things slow, keep warm by the fireplace or if last night happened to get the better of you. There’s always great home-style food to be had, live music and a few friendly faces with some good craic.
Where: 2923 Gold Coast Highway, Surfers Paradise
Have a luxe afternoon at Surfers Pavilion
Aptly positioned with ceaseless waterfront views and boasting a substantial mooring site of 400sq metres, means if locals would like to arrive GC-style by boat or jet ski — so be it! Setting and glam aside though, the new arrival is perfect for enjoying our fantastic year-round weather with an outside frosé bar, and for those with a discerning palette, a dedicated oyster and Champagne station keeps the crowd more than occupied.
Where: 30-34 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Hit 9 pins at Strike Bowling
Prepare to lose a few hours when you step into this space which is a literal smorgasbord of entertaining activities and feast for the senses. The highlight is the 10-lane glow in the dark bowling alley where competitive urges can be settled with groups big and small. But, it doesn’t stop there either. If you fancy further fun, then a 15-person karaoke room, cocktail bar, two escape rooms, and pool tables should do it.
Where: Circle on Cavill, Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
Sip cocktails on The Island Rooftop Bar
Rooftop bars are one of the greatest things that ever happened to the Gold Coast. Period. Now, take this sentiment and couple it with this — the Gold Coast’s largest open-air rooftop bar — and voila, you have one of the best places to drink delectable cocktails, watch live music, and live your best life at the stream of ever-changing events (drag queen brunch anyone?). You are promised great times and vibes when you head to The Island.
Where: 3128 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
Grab breaky at Cuppa on 41
If you find yourself in Surfers Paradise before the afternoon, then you need to head to Cuppa on 41 to energise yourself for the day — as well as for all the other inclusions on this list! The café is an excellent concept that allows local underprivileged youth to become experienced in hospitality, and coincidentally isn’t so hard on your pocket either! Our pick is the Bauernomelett, a German-style omelette straight out of heaven. You’ll leave with a satisfied belly and knowing you have contributed to a change in a Gold Coasters future.
Where: 41 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Indulge at Alfrescos Italian Restaurant
Creating picture-perfect pasta and pizza for the last 25 years, you might say what Alfrescos doesn’t know about Italian food and ambience isn’t worth knowing — and you’d be right! This charming family-owned and run restaurant has stood the test of time with locals and continually returning for great Italian classics and drinks to match. If you haven’t been in a little while, be sure to change that, the venue underwent a slight facelift late last year and is looking as enchanting as ever.
Where: 3/3018 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
Boogie on down at Retro’s
When it comes to having a boogie along to cheeky tunes of yesteryear, you no longer have to hide in your bathroom in your towel to do so. All the locals know that Retro’s is the ultimate answer to having a fun night out and dancing the night away to the music you grew up with. With themed nights and drinks specials coming at you from all angles, you are destined to have a good time no matter what day of the week it is at this hotbed of a disco.
Where: 3 — 15 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Take in the view at Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club
After a swish refurbishment, this 100-year-old surf club is the faultless place to go for an ice-cold beer for a spot of people watching, seamless views across the Pacific Ocean and to chat to a local. The family-friendly atmosphere is full of locals after their early morning beach walk tucking into a big brekky (but they’re also open for lunch and dinner too!) — a great option straight off the sand and when you feel the need to escape the crowds with some uber-friendly Queensland hospitality.
where: Corner of Hanlan Street & The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
A new week means a new excuse to treat yo’self and there’s no better way to do that than with some sweet local brands. From threads to swimwear and accessories, we’ve rounded up a collection of Gold Coast goodies that we know will knock your socks off.
Olas Supply Co.
Established in 2016, Olas Supply Co is the product of two people with a shared loved for travel and adventure, wanted to branch away from their regular Monday to Friday jobs and try something different. Inspired by the founders adventures and grown from the soul of traditional villages along the coast of Central and South America, Olas Supply Co. offer a unique style Gold Coasters love.
Violet Gray is the love child of Australian Designer, Alexandra Olsen. Her pieces are simple, delicate and created from high grade metals (soon to be 100% recycled and fair trade) and genuine gemstones. The concept for each piece is deeply rooted in spirituality, connection, romanticism and symbolism, making them sacred and powerful to wear. Alex and Violet Gray started their journey at The Village Markets five years ago and since then has grown to be loved worldwide.
What started as a daydream in 2009 quickly turned into an independent Australian lifestyle brand that has since been featured in the pages of Instyle and OK! Magazines. The Gold Coast based bohemian fashion label specialises in exotic handmade leather bags, wallets and clothing inspired by local designer Brie Shinn’s love of travel and exploration. The colourful and unique pieces resemble every creative women’s wanderlust, bringing a sense of mystery and adventure into the lives of wearers.
Created by Ellie Hopley, Shuturp is a quirky fashion label that has quickly become much-loved the world over. With hand drawn art adorning t-shirts, caps and clothes for the kiddies, the brand is easily recognised and very colourful. Many of the pieces also have uplifting slash hilarious slogans on them too. Everything is part of a limited drop so get in quick.
The Lobster Shanty
Now something for the fashion-savvy men amongst us, introducing The Lobster Shanty. Jarro Dartnell is the brains behind the Australian beach-oriented fashion label and clothing store. Inspired by his Granddad Jims’ love of the sea, Jarro created his own boutique range of signature tee shirts and snapbacks while the store offers a wide array of seasonal essentials for the like-minded adventurers with brands such as Brixton, Obey and Santa Cruz.
Grace Loves Lace
For women of style, substance and originality, Grace Loves Lace specialise in unique, free-spirited and timelessly sophisticated luxe wedding dresses handmade from only the finest French and European lace and silks. When it’s time to slide on that ring and pop the champagne, you can’t be in any ordinary dress, you NEED Grace Loves Lace! Only the best on your big day, Sweetheart!
Tourism on the Gold Coast has reached a whole new level with the recent launch of The Undercurrent, a fashion label dedicated to showcasing the city through the eyes of locals. The brand made its debut with a collection representing five suburbs (Burleigh, Mermaid, Surfers, Currumbin and Coolangatta), each of which is printed with a local artists’ work depicting iconic landmarks and incorporating the things they love about their area.
The Gold Coast is known as the bikini capital of Australia and for good reason with labels like Myra Swim producing the goods. Bianca Elouise launched Myra Swim in 2014 and since then she hasn’t looked back. Inspired by the sun, surf and the sea, Bianca wanted to create a swimwear line for curvier women and as such, has developed an international following including the likes of the one and only Kim Kardashian.
The Weft is a recent addition to the Gold Coast design scene and it’s a goodie. Created by Caitlin Verall, The Weft is all about subtle, beautifully crafted pieces that transcend the seasons in natural colour palettes and fabrics. The latest range Outliers offers everything from the classic Smith ‘90s Dress to the statement Ithica Wrap Dress. It’s a beautiful range of timeless, laid-back silhouettes, with matching separates emerging for the first time.
Born out of a life long love affair with the ocean, boutique Australian swimwear label peony fuses bohemian nostalgia with refined femininity to create swimwear made for chasing the sun. First making an appearance at The Village Markets and now an internationally-renowned brand, peony epitomises summer’s simple joys – diving into the ocean, the smell of coconut oil, the feeling of sand under bare feet and the first bloom of peony flowers, which signal the beginning of summer.
Words by Louisa Ingelheim
There are many things we Gold Coasters are fond of. A new beachside eggs benny brunch spot. Bottomless long lunches. Farmers Markets. Finding the last park at Burleigh Hill on a Sunday. Heading out on the town in a brand new ‘fit #thanksitsnew.
We’re pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to local boutiques frilled to the brim with incredible Aussie designers and labels #luckyus. Plus, we get the added warm and fuzzy feels of supporting local small biz #winwin. So, we’ve rounded up 9 of our fave GC boutiques for your spending pleasure. We’re not sure what’s harder, narrowing this list down to just 9, or walking out of any of the below empty handed.
Halo & Grace
Creating a boutique that both appeals to and attracts women of all ages is quite the undertaking, but Halo & Grace have done just that. Nailing that sweet spot of timeless, luxe slow fashion from fancy trackside frocks through to your fave new farmers market ‘fit – their brand new, and downright stunning Mermaid digs are chock full of goodies for you and your abode.
Where: 43 Alfred Street, Mermaid Beach
What could bring a better night’s sleep than your fave pjs? Perhaps knowing they were consciously created right here on the GC (oh, and the fact that they’re cute AF sure doesn’t hurt). Making their debut in 2012 with luxe bridal loungewear, and Homebodii has been keeping us chic, cute and cosy ever since, with their range quickly expanding to sleepwear, intimates and effortless basics. Weekend sleep ins never looked so good.
Where: Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Shop 2708, Hooker Blvd, Broadbeach
About a Girl
About a Girl boutique is all about YOU! They always have the cutest threads for every occasion AND if there’s anything you can’t find or a product or label you’re dying to get your hands on, let them know and they will try their best to track it down for you. Extra good.
Where: 2/2211-2215 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach
The Freedom State
The Freedom State is a women’s clothing store that is inspired by bohemian creativity (because boho is life y’all) with a gypsy attitude of freedom. The team has carefully curated labels to offer a stunning selection of women’s fashion inspiring you to show off your very best self.
Where: Shop 12/50 James St, Burleigh Heads
Bird on a Wire
Bird on a Wire is set amongst the exceptional coffee shops on the Lower Gold Coast Highway in Burleigh. The chic boho boutique offers a diverse range of beautiful but affordable fashion and homewares and is the perfect stop after a swim and a coffee.
Where: 5/1840 Lower Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads
A must visit store in the Burleigh area, Emte Boutique was founded by a Gold Coast girl who felt that there was a gap to be filled for fashion jewellery and accessories that are cutting edge, stylish, on trend and affordable. We concur. And also spend a lot of dollars here.
Where: 3 James St, Burleigh Heads
As the name suggests, White Bohemian is all about boho style. Clothing, accessories, bohemian inspired homewares and the very best gifts for the free spirited gypsy wanderer. Love all the things.
Where: 1160 Gold Coast Hwy, Palm Beach
While we’re still sad Alfred’s Diner is no more, the lads are still providing our local men with an ever growing range of curated fashion and accessories. Plus they do serve great coffee and Milkman’s cookies, so we mostly forgive them #beingbacktheburrito. Even the fussiest of men will love their limited-release tees.
Where: 2225 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
Sean Scott Boutique
A fave little boutique in James Street, the space showcases Sean Scott’s breathtaking photography as well as clothing and accessories for the fashion forward folks. You can also find one of the biggest displays of (local legends) Valley Eyewear sunnies here on the Coast.
Where: 21c James St, Burleigh Heads