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Surface Festival takes over the streets of Miami

Get amongst sweet street art, murals, workshops and more!

Marketta wall by PHILB (image supplied)
Marketta wall by PHILB (image supplied)

We know we bang on about it a bit, but how awesome is it that the Gold Coast is now experiencing a booming arts scene? Everywhere you look, we seem to have impressive murals, new artsy spaces, galleries, and associated events.

One such little neighbourhood people have noticed simmering away is Miami. And it just so happens this unassuming suburb has just scored itself something to capture the imagination of all Gold Coasters! We present to you —the inaugural Miami Street Art Festival, Surface.

The SURFACE Festival is about heralding the artists and community that have supported Marketta and allowed the whole of Miami to become the creative melting pot that it is. What the suburb has blossomed into is a place where an array of small businesses, creatives, dining nooks, distilleries & breweries, co-working spaces, paint shops and more amalgamate together. The festival stretches across the suburb from Hillcrest Parade to Lemana Lane; where audiences are encouraged to walk, ride, push prams and explore the creative side of Miami.

Kelly Drake at Surface Festival (image supplied)
Kelly Drake at Surface Festival (image supplied)

Organisers behind the festival are non-other than much-loved food and music venue Miami Marketta. This year they wanted to celebrate their 10th anniversary (wow, that went fast) in a special way. Back in 2011, local artists and creatives took over the Marketta laneway, bringing the blank walls alive to create the vibrant space we now all know and love. So, what better way to celebrate a birthday than with a fresh lick of paint?

11 major surfaces will be painted around Miami, including walls within Miami Marketta, Fenech Guitars new showroom and the Burleigh Gold Coast Motels iconic highway wall. Artists designated paint times and locations will be published on the festival website, so audiences are most welcome to come go watch and/or interrupt them!

30+ artists including, Christine Slabb, Kiel Tillman, Dion Parker, and Steve Nowland, will have their work featured along a 2km Fence Line Exhibition from Hillcrest Parade all the way down to Lemana Lane.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, other events include the artist breakfasts, secret music event Sofar Sounds, and Sip + Paint workshops.

Marketta Wall by Steve Nowland (image supplied)
Marketta Wall by Steve Nowland (image supplied)

For those already in the know, you may have already seen or heard about some exciting gigs coming to Marketta which were part of Surface. Unfortunately, COVID restrictions have forced organisers to postpone the three major music events. However, don’t be dismayed! The festival will still push ahead to deliver free and eye-catching art activations to the streets of Miami.

It’s a vibrant all-ages program where audiences can see artists at work and get to know the visual gems of Miami. So go on – walk, ride, roll & stroll through the streets of Miami this winter!

SURFACE is presented by Miami Marketta and supported by the City of Gold Coast, Young Henrys, Dave’s Discount Paints and LONDON Estate Agents.   

Free event
When: Sunday 4th – Sunday 11th July 2021
Where: Across Miami.

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Kiel Tillman at work (image supplied)
Kiel Tillman at work (image supplied)

Miami Marketta

Wednesday is usually not the day associated with cool events, but it is now!

Tucked away on a Miami side street is Miami Marketta.

Known as the Gold Coast’s weekend spot for tasty street food, fun cocktails, boutique shopping and a live band, the Miami Marketta is all around awesome, but a seemingly little known fact is that Miami Marketta is not just for the weekenders! You can experience Marketta’s awesomeness 4 nights a week!

I’m a big fan of the Miami Marketta and have done some serious eating there more than a handful of times over past weekends, but I had my maiden voyage to a Wednesday Marketta last week. Imma tell you about it…

Firstly, parking was a breeze! A sign for good things to come. As I made my way to the entrance it started to drizzle. As a former weekend Marketta-er I was a bit bummed because Ithought that would mean standing in the rain to wait for my food. – NOT ON A WEDNESDAY!

Wednesday is tapas night at Miami Marketta and they host a smaller selection of vendors, which means that they all fit under the twinkly lit steel canopy.

On weekends long rows of communal tables occupy the space under the shelter of the canopy pushing the vendors outside. During the week the tables are turned to stand alone making for a more intimate setting amongst friends, and creating covered space for the vendors to set up. (Keep that in mind for rainy days)

Now, just because Wednesdays do not boast the same number of vendors as the weekends do, it does not mean there is any shortage of flavour or options. One of my favourite things about Miami Marketta whether it be a weekday or weekend is that it’s ethnically ambiguous. In a few short steps, you can go from smelling the frying corn chips at the Mexican stand, to the mouth-watering meat being grilled for the Mediterranean salads and kebabs. The smell of a wood fired oven filled with Italian pizzas mixes with the sweet scents of Belgian waffles and it’s a glorious overload making it nearly impossible to choose just one thing. –But on Wednesday you don’t have to, nor should you! All dishes start at $6 so the tasting and sharing is easy and inexpensive!

In front of flamingo wallpaper is a liquor bar specialising in hand crafted cocktails and beside that was the coffee and sweets bar. The coffee bar wasn’t that popular in the late evening, but the cocktail bar was pumping. Drinks served in glass jars were adorned with funky fun straws and tasted like sweet sweet love. If you were in the mood to keep your drinks simple, they had a nice selection of beer and wine.

And just because the coffee bar wasn’t popping at night, doesn’t mean you should skip out on it. Marketta Cafe is open Tuesday – Saturday starting at 6am to fill all your early morning coffee needs!

The Marketta celebrates the arts and always has something nice going on to feed your soul and not just your mouth.

Wednesdays there is a DJ spinning relaxed beats and this particular Wednesday there was a local designer putting on a fashion show. The mix of two was such a treat. Not your usual Wednesday night dinner entertainment 🙂

Boutique shops sold mostly homewares and clothes. art. -All very cool pieces I might add!

The grill smoke trapped by the rain swirled against the ceiling, models strutted in casually elegant clothes, the DJ spun smooth tempos, the food was tasty and cheap, and the patrons were delightfully hip and laid back.

Successful Wednesday night.

Miami Marketta is open

Wed 5p-10p

Fri 5p-11p

Sat 4p-11p

Kiel Tillman

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.

Dion Parker

He’s been a Gold Coaster for the past 25 years but 2018 is the one he’ll never forget because just last week artist Dion Parker was crowned co-winner of the Neumann Family SWELL Sculpture Award.

His sculpture, created with fellow artist Andrew Cullen, Prickles the Unhugable Bear, stands 3.5 metres tall on the sands of Currumbin Beach as part of the 2018 sweSWELL Sculpture Festival.

We sat down for a chat with Dion about the message behind the giant teddy bear and how the piece of art went from conception to creation.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
About 25 years.

What do you love about living here?
I love the lifestyle. I’ve spent most of my time on the southern Gold Coast, I love the beaches and the hinterland. I now live in Tallebudgera Valley, it’s really peaceful and quiet and I love that you don’t have to drive too far inland and to feel like you’re in another world.

Tell us about your sculpture in this years’ SWELL Sculpture Festival…
Prickles the Unhugable Bear was created by myself and another local artist, Andrew Cullen. We came up with the concept over a few beers and decided the idea of a giant barbed wire teddy bear was a good one. The statement we’re trying to make with the piece is that teddy bears are generally quite huggable, you think of love and affection when you think of a teddy bear. Kids are given teddy’s and they might give them a name and go on adventures or tell the teddy their secrets and to do all that sort of stuff, they use their imagination and creativity. These days it seems like kids are just handed things like tablets, phones and video games to play with and I believe they don’t encourage that creativity and imagination. When teddy bears get worn out, someone might stitch the eye back on but these days when something breaks, it gets thrown out and you get a new one. It’s not really a good thing to be encouraging children to create a throw away society.

Why do you think Prickles’ message is an important one?
Both Andrew and I have children and we both grew up without the Internet. I remember when Sega Master Systems and the original Nintendos came out, Mum always told me not to spend too much time on them and to go outside and play. I think that’s even more important these days.

What does it take to build a sculpture like yours?
It’s quite a process and months and months of work. Once we had the idea, I sat down and did a sketch, then we made a maquette that was 25cm tall and a very close representation of the Prickles you see on the beach. Both of us have entered SWELL about 15 times between us and we’ve learnt a lot as artists about what can help to have a successful festival. It was at least two months of sculpting, we made the body in six pieces then transported each one to the beach separately, wired it all together and had a crane lower the head on.

How did it feel to win the Neumann Family SWELL Sculpture Award?
Both Andrew and I believed we had a piece that, if we could make what we thought we could, we were in with a chance but when we saw the quality of the other sculptures, we realised it wouldn’t be an easy thing to win. It was a massive surprise and relief when they read our names out, we were so happy.

What are your thoughts on the Coasts’ growing art and culture scene?
I started taking art seriously in 2011 and since then the scene has grown amazingly. I think the Coast has a really strong underground arts scene and it’s a really good time to be an artist on the Gold Coast at the moment. There’s a lot of new creative spaces appearing and a lot of support for artists. I have a studio behind Dust Temple in Currumbin and there’s a really good community there. Festivals like SWELL bring thousands of people in because it’s such a beautiful location and I think lots of people who might not go to an art gallery go for a look and that brings money and awareness into the local community too.

What’s on for the rest of 2018 for you?
Andrew and I plan to enter some more festivals interstate with Prickles. I’ve just got a job with HOTA, installing exhibitions, so I’m really excited about working in a creative industry and doing something I’m really passionate about.

What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
The harder you work, the luckier you get and I really feel like that has been the case with us at SWELL this year.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Beach: Definitely The Alley
Café: Dust Temple
Restaurant: Zipang in Currumbin
How does your weekend usually look: I spend time hanging out with my son, lots of time at the studio the last few months so I’m excited to have some leisure time for the next few weekends

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