An immersive new art space for Burleigh Heads.
An immersive new art space for Burleigh Heads.
It seems there’s an uprising occurring on the Gold Coast. Not in a the-world-is-burning Handmaid’s Tale kind of way. It’s more of a passion-fuelled, heart-led, art and cultural kind of way.
Which is obviously far better. Over the past few years, it kind of snuck up on us, an art exhibition here, a cultural festival there and now, local Coasties are creating new spaces to live out their dreams left, right and centre.
The latest of which is Mint Art Studio, a new space found on West Burleigh Road in Burleigh Heads and bringing all of your colour-filled, Alice in Wonderland-esque dreams to life. If you’ve driven past lately, no doubt you’ll have noticed Prickles, Andrew Cullen and Dion Parkers’ Swell Sculpture Festival winning giant barbed wire teddy bear standing guard out the front. He’s a real eye catcher. Not a fan of hugs though.
Inside, the space is dotted with works by the talented crew who put the space together and it’s an absolute kaleidoscope of colour with artworks-in-progress tacked to the walls, sculptures and resin art stacked about and a little communal area complete with vintage lounge chairs and plenty of laidback, feel good vibes.
Mint Art Studio is the work of a few incredible locals – Nat Popovski or Nat Pop, an abstract watercolour artist, Cara Sanders an acrylic painter known as Owlet, Danni Borody, of Rustic Fig Design, a painter and resin artist.
There’s also Jillian Bradley, a painter at Jillian Bradley Art, Emily Rose, a multi-disciplinary artist who practices the art of wood burning, Jude of Made in Burleigh, a ceramicist, Dean Brockett, an experimental potter and Vicky (at a.r.t.vs) who works with oil paint, pastels and soft sculpture.
They are a diverse and extremely talented bunch of Gold Coasters whose individual searches for a space to work amongst other artists brought them together.
The group says being able to bounce ideas off one another and watching creations come to life is an incredibly inspiring way to work and having spent time in the space, we can confirm the creative vibes are well and truly swirling within.
At the moment, Mint Art Studio is a working art space made to foster connection between some of the Coast’s most talented artists but the plan is for it to become a gallery with set opening days where people are able to pop in, meet the artists and purchase the pieces on display.
There’ll also be workshops and events with each of the artists in residence and there are a lot of plans for things like art house movie nights and the like.
For now, drop in and say g’day to the gang, you might just be inspired to start creating something yourself.
So you see, an uprising of the arts. Very exciting for our little seaside city and we are 100% here for it.
LOCATION: 55 West Burleigh Rd, Burleigh Heads
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
The Gold Coast’s local art scene has blossomed exponentially in the last few years. Galleries, installations and murals have popped up all over the Coast and local artists are making themselves known both here and on the national scene.
If you’re looking for a unique way to spend a day on the Gold Coast, we’ve got just the answer. Here’s a list of local galleries to help you get your art fix.
Wayne Sorrenson Gallery
World-renowned landscape photographer Wayne Sorrenson opened his very own gallery in Miami in 2020 so we, the lucky Gold Coasters get to peruse his breathtaking art anytime we like. Within the gallery, there’s a huge selection of framed artwork to purchase, as well as a range of gift ideas including acrylic blocks, greeting cards and calendars to name a few. It’s all absolutely magical and a lovely stand-in for the international travel we aren’t allowed to do right now.
Where: 40 Lemana Lane, Miami
Anthea Polson Art
Anthea Polson Art specialises in contemporary emerging Australian art and sculpture, including investment works. A regular exhibition programme showcases the work of emerging and established contemporary artists.
Where: 29 Tedder Avenue, Main Beach
Maverick Hair & Art Space
Maverick is a small gallery hosting community art exhibitions and events throughout the year. Headed up by artist Byron Coathup and partner Hayley, the space (also boasting a hair studio) caters for art and design lovers and offers beautiful gifts for purchase from both near and far. Don’t be afraid to head up the stairs and check out the gallery.
Where: First Floor, 1/17 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
The Hive Burleigh Heads
The newest of the bunch, The HIVE was opened very recently by Jo Ellings, a Gold Coast artist who has been creating stunning works for over 30 years and is now sharing that talent with the likes of us. Within the gallery you’ll find an array of stunning works to take home with you or, if you’d like to stay awhile why not grab a ticket to one of their workshops and become an artist yourself. There’s also a regular meetup and music night if you want to meet some like-minded folks.
Where: 5/3 Park Avenue, Burleigh Heads
Level Up studio + gallery
The space is designed to provide access to art experiences for young people and adults within the local community and beyond, through public programs hosting a range of creative activations, such as art workshops, artist talks, school holiday workshops, networking events and an exciting monthly exhibitions program. Emerging artists can apply for space and we can all pop in there to check out the magic. So good.
Where: 72-82 Marine Parade, Coolangatta
The Walls Art Space Miami
The Walls is an interactive space that began in 2012 aiming to serve as a hub of creative practice, critical dialogue and innovative thinking around contemporary art. Their annual program focus is to curate monthly exhibitions in conjunction with their successful local artist in residence program.
Where: 4/18 Mountain View Avenue, Miami
Created by the good people at ArtWork Agency, AW Space is a pretty art gallery slash workshop slash event space showcasing the work of a team of folks whose names you’ve no doubt heard uttered once or twice. They are Claudio Kirac and his equally impressive partners in crime Paul Bow and Laura Strange. All talented within their own rights, the team have combined their forces to create a stunning space filled with beautiful works. Do yourself a favour and get in there.
Where: 2/53-55 Cronulla Avenue, Mermaid Beach
Stop in for a delicious brunch overlooking the ocean and take in the collection of local art and handmade goodies next door while you’re there! The space combines works by local artists with a new store filled with locally made homewares, clothing and creative pieces.
Where: 275 Boundary Street, Coolangatta
19Karen Contemporary Artspace
A stunning space filled with bold new art (and all for purchase!) by emerging, mid-career and established Australian and International artists. Exhibitions curated by Terri Lew rotate regularly, ranging in style and genre from pop culture, surrealism, realism, street art, abstraction and to the still undefined.
Where: 19 Karen Avenue, Mermaid Beach
The Gold Coast’s premier cultural precinct, HOTA (Home of The Arts) has been showcasing visual and performing arts since 1986. With an array of exhibitions, cinemas and dining/bar facilities, there’s something for everyone throughout the entire year. In 2021, we saw the precinct increase in size with an incredible new six-level Gallery that attracts with world-class exhibitions (including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and more) plus a showcase of incredible local artists.
Where: 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise
A refurbished warehouse (a piece of art itself) in the heart of Currumbin Waters, Dust Temple and its creative space Hinge Gallery hosts local, national and international artists, musicians and poets. There’s also a fantastic café / coffee shop, so stay awhile and soak up the creative scene.
Where: 54 Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Waters
There aren’t enough words in the world to describe the sky high levels of inspiration, creativity and general good vibes Claudio Kirac brings to the Gold Coast (but please, read on and you’ll get the gist).
He’s an artist, photographer and designer who has travelled the world to make magic with some of the biggest brands out there but, lucky for us, he calls our golden shores home. Over the last few years he’s worked closely with HOTA, Bleach* Festival and Festival 2018, to name a few, but his most recent project is a little closer to home.
We sat down for a chat with the absolute legend that is CK about his agency Art-Work’s epic new creative space and why the Gold Coast has become a well-oiled arts and culture machine.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I have been on the GC for most of my life, was not born here, but definitely consider myself a die-hard local.
What do you love most about our beautiful city?
The small country town feel with some of the luxuries of a big city. The GC’s connection to nature is one of our most valuable assets and a definite game changer when it comes to quality of life and enjoying where you live.
Tell us your exciting news…
Our agency, Art-Work (AW) has climbed some big mountains in the past few years, from the strength of our collaborators to our internal creative and business mindset, you could say we are growing. With growth comes challenge and change, and your daydreams eventually manifest into something that is greater than you could possibly imagine. So, we have combined all our experience and knowledge, dipped our big toe in, and are creating a physical home for Art-Work, a multi purpose space for Design and Dreaming, right in the growing creative hub of Cronulla and Karen in Mermaid Beach
What will you have going on in the new space?
Our new creative space, the AW World HQ, will be our daily go-to for all of our creative production. It’s a blank canvas of sorts that we can use to experiment, play and grow ideas for the years to come – business in the front and dancing in the back. On a daily basis it will serve as our design office, with space to do photography and video production, contemporary art and creative consultation, with a vision to host exhibitions, industry gatherings and workshops from time to time – the space will be by appointment only, but you are welcome to drop by with coffee, tacos or wine anytime.
Tell us about your career journey so far, where did you start and how did you end up here?
I have always lived and loved art, from a 15 year history working in the surf industry, to jumping out on our own with Art-Work to work on the projects we love, it has been such an inspiring journey. I started AW with my long-term colleague and friend Paul Bow almost seven years ago now, from humble beginnings to trailblazing new territories; we are the perfect blend of creativity and commerce. My wife Laura Strange has brought such a new light to what we do across digital, design and strategy, that I find myself learning new things every day, which is one thing that we, as humans and designers, should never stop doing.
No doubt there have been many highlights, what are some favourite career moments?
The ultimate highlight is everyday when I pinch myself and am grateful for being able to be creative and get paid for it, also travels to far away lands of sunshine and snow and the memories and friendships we create along the way are experiences you will never forget.
Where do you find inspiration as such a creative guy?
I used to devour a lot of print collateral – still do, but much less – AW has an amazing design library BTW. I have to sometimes force myself to look beyond the pages of Pinterest, as it is veritable minefield of collated, curated craziness! These days a calm mind, a jump in the ocean and good verbal download helps to put things into perspective.
What are your thoughts on the Coast’s growing arts and culture scene?
The arts and culture scene on the GC is now a well oiled machine, compared to where we used to be five, 10 even 15 years ago now, the term ‘Cultural Wasteland’ never even entered my mind, although it’s taken a long and winding road to get to where we are now. With independent galleries through to HOTA and ongoing support from government infrastructure, I feel it is now at the perfect place to go next level and be taken seriously, with a community of talented creative hearts and minds to help tell the story.
What else would you like to see happen?
For artists and designers to stay here and embrace the ride.
What’s the plan for the rest of 2018?
We have had ridden a crazy wave this year, all the way from the beginning with HOTA, Bleach* and Festival 2018 through to working on creative content with our favourite locals at Dwell Store. Now over the hump with launching our new space and embracing the neighbourhood vibes we have some super exciting projects on the horizon across photography, video, brand and mural work to round out the year, but not before Laura and I head to the USA for a month long road trip of culture, food and good times!
Best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Wait for the moment, but do it now.
Favourites on the Coast:
Beach: From Cooly to the Spit, there’s nowhere like it on this planet!
Cafe: I’d have to throw my favourite Mermaid Beach locals in the hat, the best from All-Time, Hula Girl, Le Cafe Gourmand and Door 50 – you can’t go wrong
Restaurant: LUPO, Itoshin, Harry’s and Justin Lane for the cross section of good local cuisine
How does your weekend usually look? Up for the early or sleep in, depending on what’s on the cards, walk to get coffee and start from there. We sometimes work on Sunday because it doesn’t always feel like work. I like to cook, catch up with family and friends, reset and plan for the week ahead. A good schedule makes for a productive week, so the weekend is the time to reflect and refocus.
The standard of artistic talent on the Gold Coast right now is absolutely giving us life. We’ve got epic exhibitions on constant rotation, theatrical productions, all of the cabaret, live music, the works. It’s quite the time to be a lover of all things cultural in our sweet city.
Which brings us to the subject of this tale, a brand new art slash workshop slash event space showcasing the work of a team of folks whose names you’ve no doubt heard uttered once or twice.
The crew at Art-Work Agency, lead by artistic genius (and one of our faves) Claudio Kirac and his equally impressive partners in crime Paul Bow and Laura Strange, recently opened a new creative space and it’s an absolute delight.
AW Space opened on Friday night (March 22nd) with their debut exhibition Outside, made up of photographic and sculptural works by the Art-Works team, exploring themes of travel, friendship and connected places.
Which are, of course, some of our favourite things.
The works examine how our surrounding environments (both natural and built) and past experiences form our notions of home and community, and why we are drawn to particular places.
It’s an absolutely beautiful collection of works showing in an equally beautiful new space that the (lucky and also very hard working) Art-Work Agency team now get to call their office.
In case you’re somehow unaware, Art-Work Agency is a multidisciplinary creative agency specialising in photography and videography, design, art and consultation. Their industry experience spans over 20 years, and has been seen across the Gold Coast in the form of branding for local businesses, imagery for large-scale events like *Bleach Festival, fashion campaigns and generally just creating good work for good people.
It’s the perfect ethos for a business filled with folks who are passionate about, and have made it their mission to enhance, the Gold Coast community and in particular our art and cultural scenes.
AW Space will open for a curated selection of events and workshops throughout the year so keep your eyes peeled because this is one space you’re going to want to spend some time in.
We might like to move our office in there also. Pray for us.
LOCATION: 2/53-55 Cronulla Ave, Mermaid Beach
Words by Kirra Smith