The Gold Coast is home to an increasing number of incredible artists and excitingly, galleries, workshops and exhibitions are popping up all over the place. Which we are extremely happy about.
One such artist is Renee Enoka, a self-described structural artist who creates pieces celebrating the female form and others with quirky, colourful shapes.
We sat down with the talented local gal about creating with intention and learning from your mistakes.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I moved to the Gold Coast from New Zealand in 2000 so I’ve been a local here for 19 years. I’m practically an Aussie now.
What do you love most about living here?
The laid back lifestyle! I love being close to the beach. I feel at peace when I’m close to the water.
Have you always been a creative person?
Since I was born. It’s part of my DNA. I won my first drawing competition when I was four.
How did your art career come about?
I’ve always been interested in art. I was a top student in high school however it wasn’t until I completed a degree in fashion that I knew being an artist is what I’d do full time.
How do you describe your work?
My art is a compilation of two elements – structural and organic. Having the balance of structural technical drawings of the female form, contrasting with quirky organic shapes and colours. Each piece is crafted with a unique intention – to inspire authenticity and mindfulness. Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have, it’s a practice. A conscious choice to show up each day and choose to let our true selves be seen. Authenticity encompasses wellbeing, consciousness and mindfulness. Allowing you to not just be present, but to also enjoy it!
Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration is drawn from many facets of design: architecture, furniture, fashion, interiors, print and photography. At the moment I’m inspired by the psychology of design and how different elements make us feel.
You use a lot of raw, earthy colours in your pieces, why are you drawn to this palette?
To be mindful is the ability to be present in a wondrous state and without any judgement. A part of being mindful is connecting with our surrounding and our mother Earth. Raw earthy tones assist in this approach, as it helps us to feel grounded.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to turn their passion into a career?
100% follow your heart. It will never do you wrong. You may make mistakes along the way but that is all part of the fun. Mistakes are what ground you. Don’t dwell on them. Learn from them and move on quickly!
Tell us your favourites on the Gold Coast…
Beach: It’s not my local but Currumbin always has a piece of my heart.
Cafe: The Shack Superfood Cafe
Restaurant: Poke Poke
How does your weekend usually look?
If I’m not working, homemade banana pancakes with my man followed by some beach action or a trip down to Cabarita.
Radiating good vibes and a tropical, Caribbean theme perfectly suited to its balmy just-off-the-beach location, Poké Poké is bringing brightly coloured bowls of goodness to Mermaid Beach.
Poke bowls have taken the world by storm of late but in case you haven’t heard, the healthy bowls originated in Hawaii and are made up of crunchy salad, tender chunks of fish or meat, mouth watering sauces, nuts, seeds, noodles…any number of things and Poké Poké is leading the charge.
From the street, the first thing you notice is a custom carved front wall boldly enticing you to join the party. Inside the space pops with colour – an emerald green bench seat lines one wall while a neon pink sign beams in the corner declaring “okey dokey time for poké” and bunches of green bananas hang in a wide, sun-lit window.
It’s reminiscent of a tropical island takeaway joint with plenty of space to perch inside and watch the magic unfold or outside on the grass if you’d prefer.
Owner Morgan Walsh, one half of Mermaid Beach favourites Bonita Bonita and BonBon fell in love with the bowls on a recent trip and, as a lover of all things colourful, knew there’d be a market for them here.
At Poké Poké bowl options are abundant. Fresh Off The Boat is made up of the freshest salmon with edamame, zoodles, seaweed and radish on brown rice with wasabi mayo. If you’re in the mood for something warm, the Caribbean inspired roti bowls are for you. Go with the Chicken Curry bowl made up of taro and potato on coconut rice with roti.
Smoothie bowls are a thing too – try the Avocado and Kale with spinach, almond milk and banana.
Of course there are fresh and cold press juices, wine and beer and a soon-to-be-launched cocktail menu. You need never leave.
Don your most colourful Hawaiian get up and your favourite pluggas and get down there, there’s way too much fun to be had.
LOCATION: Cnr Alfred Street and Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
HOURS: 8am to 8pm daily
Words and photos by Kirra Smith