He’s the exceptional local artist whose work you’ve seen on everything from giant murals to beer cans and national clothing brands and everything in between and it seems like he’s only just getting started.
Kiel Tillman is an illustrator, designer, painter and legendary local lad whose clients include international brands like Oakley and General Pants and closer to home, Black Hops Brewing and The Undercurrent.
We sat down for a chat with Kiel about the recent launch of Tillman Creative Co. and working with the WuTang Clan.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Almost 20 years. Wow, now I feel old. I moved to the Coast to study graphic design straight after school. I grew up in a small coastal town in mid north NSW, called Old Bar. Amazing place but there was not that many options in the way of a creative career.
What do you love most about our beachside city?
I think it’s the balance of lifestyle. I don’t have to commute for three hours a day to an office in the city. I can drive 15 minutes to an office in Burleigh and that still blows my mind. I love that I can work with clients all over the world and still take my kids to the beach after school.
Tell us how you became a full time creative?
It didn’t happen overnight. I spent about 17 years working as a designer in a bunch of different industries. I worked at a printer, designed clothes at Billabong and was Creative Director at Potato Press and was always doing art shows and illustration on the side. With all of that experience under my belt, when my side hustle started to take off, I had the confidence to make the leap and start my own business.
Talk to us about TILLMAN CREATIVE CO., what does it encompass?
TILLMAN CREATIVE CO, is a contemporary brand and design studio based on the Gold Coast, Australia. We specialise in creating custom design brand identities, illustrations, merchandise and murals for clients wanting an originally authentic representation of their company. We work with local and international companies to create visual solutions that fight the noise. .
You work with so many epic brands and companies, what have been some of your career highlights?
Some of our previous clients include Oakley, Corona, General Pants and Wu-Tang Clan – working with WuTang Clan was pretty wild also getting the privilege of creating the Gold Coast mural at Tugun was definitely a proud moment. But to be honest the projects where I see the value that our services bring to our client and their business, that’s always the most rewarding highlight!
You’ve just undergone a complete rebrand, why the change?
When I first started working for myself I was basically working as a freelancer. Now that I have started building my own client base, working on larger projects and contracting other talented creatives to work alongside me, it was time to step it up and brand my own company like I would brand a clients company. It’s awesome to finally have it out there so we can showcase our work and tell the people who we are.
Thoughts on the Coast’s rapidly expanding arts and culture scene…
We have such a flourishing and inclusive creative scene here now. It’s so awesome to see everyone doing so well. It’s evidence that art, design and creative thinking is so important to build community and help a city to thrive.
What’s in the works for the rest of 2019?
I just presented and attended The Design Conference in Brisbane last week so I am super inspired and ready to push TCC and create great things for the rest of 2019! I’ll be releasing more case studies onto the website. We have just produced some TCC merch and aim to create more towards the end of the year. A couple more speaking gigs on the cards. But mostly continuing to work with our awesome clients and creating exciting work for new clients and projects! I’m pumped… Let’s do it.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Cafe for breakfast: Burleigh Co-Op, it’s nice and close to the office.
Coffee spot: I can’t go past Portside at Currumbin.
Restaurant for dinner: Zipang in Currumbin.
What do you usually get up to on the weekend: Hang with the wife and kids, go to the beach/creek at Currumbin, walks at Tugun and usually sprinkle some work in there too, haha.
Go big or go home is a thing people say and it’s certainly true of the lads at Black Hops who have, in the last few days, opened their second brewery and it is indeed big and also likely your new home.
Black Hops II can be found up north in Biggera Waters, not too far from Harbour Town Shopping Centre, so there’s two excellent reasons to drop in.
It’s a warehouse-style space that, interestingly, used to be a place where giant boats were built. Now though, it’s a sweet, extremely good-looking brewery and the boys really have outdone themselves.
As you’d expect, it’s a big, open space decked out in the boys signature dark hues. High wooden tables line the sidewall underneath another big thing – a stunning mural by another local lad slash legend, Kiel Tillman. It reads ‘Beer made by 3 mates on the Gold Coast’ and it’s a topographical map of the Gold Coast and you probably won’t stop staring at it the entire time you’re there.
On the opposite wall is the reason you came, the bar. Pendant lights hang from above the marble bar, greenery cascades from above the taps and you’ll find 13 beers and one cider on offer.
Around the corner, there’s merch for sale including take-home Growlers and Squealers (our favourite word) and, the hallway leading to the bathroom is a delight, lined with sweet, cartoon-style artwork.
The whole space just screams good vibes.
In case you’re wondering why Dan, Eddie and Govs undertook the mammoth task of opening a second brewery, the answer is simple; supply and demand. Since brewing began in 2015, Black Hops have been stocked in over 400 venues and retail outlets in (mostly) Queensland alone and the rest of Australia want in.
To help fund the new brewery, Black Hops undertook a record breaking equity crowdfunding campaign, raising $400,000 in just six days. Which obviously goes to show that the people want the beer.
The team are Australia’s first brewery to run a successful equity crowdfunding campaign and we are super proud of them (and y’all) and also stoked because we get an epic new brewery to frequent.
To celebrate the official opening, a few limited release beers will be pouring, including Danger Zone (an Imperial Red Ale), Thunder Cloud (a hazy Triple IPA) and Kiwi Lager (an Imperial Lager) so get ‘em while they’re frothy.
Oh and ps. try the Pink Mist, it’s what they call a Saison and (excuse the clumsy explanation) but it’s brewed in a similar way to how champagne is made and it’s got raspberries and it’s very delicious (and not overly beery if that’s your thing).
On Friday and Saturday nights there will be food trucks so you may make the most of a Saturday night on the beers.
Bye now, buying all the Squealers.
LOCATION: 14 / 665 Pine Ridge Road, Biggera Waters
HOURS: 12pm until 6pm Wednesday and Thursday and 12pm until 9pm Friday and Saturday
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
Burleigh Heads has absolutely come alive in the last couple of years with epic eateries and beachside bars popping up all over the place.
The locals are loving it, everybody else is talking about it and we are 100% on board the Burleigh’s the best train.
If there was one thing missing in a suburb filled with good vibes and even better people though, it was an eatery centred around a sense of community and here we are discussing the team of locals who have now taken up that space.
Burleigh Co-op opened their doors today (Monday March 4th) and the sweet little venue already has a huge following, which doesn’t surprise anyone in the least.
The newbie is the work of a gang of folks whose names you no doubt know, including the Hotel Miami crew, the legends at Granddad Jacks, the guys at Lost Boys Barbers, food extraordinaires Fingers and Bones Catering and Elki Blue Jewellery.
They’ve taken over the spot where much-loved Burleigh Social once lived after quickly seeing the hole it’s absence left for the hungry locals.
The bones of the building remain the same but the fitout is all sparkly and new with a whitewashed slash industrial vibe perfectly at home amongst the potted greenery, tangled trellises and a little bench style situation covered in vines.
Inside, glossy white tiles line the back wall, which is where you’ll see the chefs working their magic and you may sit inside to watch them do just that or outside in the prettiest of courtyards.
It’s relaxing, easy on the eye and, well, perfectly Burleigh.
The menu is also one of the best around with plenty of breakfast slash lunch dishes you’ve never laid eyes (or tastebuds) on before.
The Zucchini Waffles are a taste sensation with a sunny side egg (best name for a food-related thing), mixed shoots, chilli sour cream and Parmesan snow (also epic). It’s a big old dish that’ll satisfy you for a very long while.
The Brick Lane Bombay is spice-fried potatoes, flashed spinach, fried egg, coriander, spring onion and lime. You want to eat it just after reading that don’t you. One of the best brunch dishes in the world. Big call, no lie.
There’s also an array of bowls filled with fresh, nourishing goodness and while we’ll certainly be sampling all of them, first up we’d recommend the Green Papaya Salad because fresh hot smoked tofu, rice noodles, loads of herbs, peanuts, crispy shallots and Chili and lime dressing. All of the flavours.
Oh let’s also discuss the Falafel Fritters with pickled red cabbage and caraway seeds, turmeric cauliflower hummus, barley tabouli and a seeded cracker. Yep.
Every dish deserves a mention but we can’t give away all their secrets.
The coffee is by local faves Social Espresso so you know a sweet, smooth brew is on the cards and all the produce on offer is local because showcasing our stunning city is what Burleigh Co-op is all about.
From the owners to the eats, everything about the place is part of the community, co-operative vibe Burleigh knows and loves.
So, after all that, obviously the only thing left to do is get down to Hibiscus Haven and get involved in the goodness.
Words and photos by Kirra Smith.
LOCATION: 2 Hibiscus Haven, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: 6am until 3pm daily