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Warren Young

Real talk with the Coast's Chief Lifeguard.

Warren Young is the epitome of the Gold Coast. For over 40 years he’s been patrolling our local beaches and was recently honoured with the Gold Coast Tourism Life Member Award.

We sat down to chat with the local legend on his undying love of the Coast and why passion will take you places you never thought possible.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I visited the first couple of times in 1958 but came down to live in 1973. I was a Brisbane boy, working in Telecomm with a good job but I loved the surf and was Captain of the surf club and I didn’t want to stay in the city. At the time a job came up for a beach patrol person and I got it.

What do you love most about the Coast?
I think it’s got a really special feel about it and I love the people here. All the beaches have something special about them from The Spit down to Coolangatta and I like that we’ve got the beautiful hinterland too. There’s not many places in the world where you can have both. There are so many opportunities here, I’ve been here so long that I’ve grown with the place and I’ve really enjoyed watching every stage. People bash the Gold Coast but this strip of ocean is just so special and we forget how lucky we are.

You were recently named as a Gold Coast Tourism Honorary Life Member, what does it mean to you to have patrolled our beaches for so long?
I’m really so lucky to have done this for so long. I started when I was 23 and moved up through the ranks. I thought being a lifeguard was such a worthwhile thing and still do of course. I got the lifeguard towers put up with the support of the council so that was pretty special. It’s lovely the way it’s turned out, we’ve come a long way. Mum really instilled a lot of confidence in us and told us we could do anything so that really helped us boys. It’s been a lovely life, I can’t imagine not being here.

What’s your favourite part about the job?
For me, it’s working with such great people and it’s really all about helping. There’s a lot of self-satisfaction in it for me but the people I work with are so supportive of each other, there’s such a good community. It can be a real challenge working with the ocean because it’s always changing, there’s always a mystery involved and I love that. I love listening to the stories of people I meet on the beach. People from all over the world come here and I just love hearing about their lives and how different they are to what we experience here.

What have been some highlights throughout your career?
Getting the Public Service Medal in 1999 was pretty special. I’m also part of the baton crew for the Commonwealth Games so I’m excited about that. There have been so many amazing things that have happened, it really has been a wonderful time. I’ve been really blessed. My Dad passed away when I was nine but he would have been proud I think. When you start off doing something you’re passionate about, it’s amazing where it leads you. Of course, in life there’s always hills and valleys but I’ve loved every minute of it and I’ve been so lucky to bring my family up on the beach.

What’s been the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
I think it’s to treat people well, respect them, you never know what people have been through.

Being a Gold Coast local, we have to ask your favourites on the Coast…
Beach: Miami, I love it. I’ve got a soft spot for Burleigh but Miami is my home beach.
Café: I really like Piccolo, just near my house, really nice coffee.
Restaurant: Allure down at Currumbin.
Weekends: I usually do some training in the mornings and then spend some time with my Grandson, rolling around on the floor being silly.

Laura Strange

She’s the girl you instantly want to adopt as your best friend, not to mention a talented designer, artist, jewellery maker and one half of local creative biz Art-work Agency.

Recently, Laura was commissioned to create a design for The Undercurrent’s Nobby Beach tee shirt, a place close to her heart. We sat down for a chat with her on capturing the cool and collected vibe of the beachside suburb we all know and love.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local? 
I’ve been an official “full-time” Gold Coaster for almost three years now. I was living down here part-time previously while working in Brisbane, but was able to make the transition down here in 2015 and haven’t looked back! I’ve always had an affiliation with the coast and beach. I spent my early childhood on the northern beaches in Cairns before my family moved to Brisbane. Growing up, my grandparents lived in Broadbeach, so that saw me visiting the coast with family most weekends. I have fond memories of summer days spent walking down to Kurrawa Beach via the Broachbeach Mall with a melting ice cream in hand!

What do you love most about our beautiful city?
It’s hard to pick one thing, but I would say our sense of community is really unique and wonderful. People around the coast are generally super friendly – taking a morning walk means you’re greeted by at least a handful of people every day. We’ve got lots of the “big city” perks – food, coffee, arts and cultural activities, but we’ve kept our “small town” charm. It’s something I hope remains in the city as we grow and mature.

You recently designed a t-shirt for The Undercurrent representing Nobby Beach, what did you include and why? 
Nobby Beach is an area really special to me as it’s where my husband was living when we first met! As he’s been on the Gold Coast since he was a kid, he has a lot of fond memories of Nobby Beach and the Magic Mountain era. It was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the history of the area and also to learn about how it influenced my husband growing up.

I wanted to capture this sense of nostalgia, but also capture the cool and collected reputation the precinct holds today. The chairlift was included as a tribute to the Magic Mountain days, and also because it’s such a quirky thing to have beachside – the chairlift is usually associated with the snow, not the sand! I also chose to incorporate two key street-signs from the area, Chairlift Ave (obviously!) and Lavarack Rd. For me, these two streets form the “heart” of Nobby’s – home to cafes, restaurants and access to the beach.

What are your thoughts on the Coast’s growing arts scene? 
Everything about arts and culture on the Gold Coast is exciting. There’s so much going on that it’s starting to get hard to keep up – which is great. Gone are the “cultural wasteland” days – we’re amidst a new era of cultural change and innovation on the coast. Our cultural programming is distinctly Gold Coast and I hope that continues as we grow. We are really good at embracing our landscape and environment through cultural activities, and I think this is something we do differently to other destinations – perhaps because until now we haven’t had the facilities to house performances, so programmers have had to be experimental with venues and locations. Opera or sculptures on the beach? Dance workshops in the park? Theatre in the penthouses of high-rises? We do it all. We do it really, really well.

Where do you think we’ll be in five years? 
The development of the Cultural Precinct will change the arts and culture landscape on the coast for the better, and will bring more opportunities for emerging and established creatives – which will entice them to stay here rather than relocate to other cities. We’ll see more young people choosing to call the coast home. My friends in Brisbane and further afield will finally agree that the coast has culture.  The amount of coffee shops within walking distance from my house will have doubled to 24 (there’s currently 12…how nuts is that!).

What’s been your personal artistic journey? 
I wouldn’t have branded myself as a “creative” growing up, so sometimes I’m still surprised that I chose a career in art and design! I was told by my year 12 careers councillor that I’d never be a graphic designer because I couldn’t draw super well…what a farce that was! I soon discovered that design wasn’t about illustrating and making things “pretty”, but rather about solving problems, which suited me really well.

You’re both an artist and a designer, what’s your favourite thing to create? 
I’m happiest when I’m creating something that looks beautiful and solves a business need. I’m a pretty practical person and I like to create for an outcome or purpose. While a lot of artists savor the process…I’m more of a destination girl! I love seeing the outcome of a project and looking at the impact it has on the business.

What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received? 
What you think you attract – I always try to be positive and see the glass half full, not empty. Think positively and you’ll attract positivity.

Being a Gold Coast local, we have to ask your favourite on the Coast…
Beach: Love the Miami Beach front/Marine Parade.
Cafe: Can I pick two? All Time Coffee (almond latte and a doughnut) and Skull and Bones (bulletproof to go, please!)
Restaurant: This is tricky…it’s a toss up between Justin Lane, The Lamb Shop and Itoshin!
How does your weekend usually look? Morning walk to All Time to get moving, followed by a cruisy lunch with family or friends. Evenings usually involve attending a cultural event (theatre, film or exhibition) and some Netflix with my husband and kitties for good measure.

Phil Ramskill

Phil Ramskill is a local designer and illustrator primarily known for his work with Gold Coast larrikins The Mad Hueys. Recently, local clothing brand The Undercurrent recruited Phil aka Philustrations to design a cap representing our sunny city.

We sat down for a chat with Phil about his cruisy style and the local good vibes that influenced his design.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’ve been on the Gold Coast for 14 years, moving here at the age of 14 from New Zealand. I was born in England and moved to New Zealand when I was five.

How does our city influence your art?
I’m influenced by the vibes and feelings I absorb subconsciously. As my style develops, the feel good sunshine beach vibes of the Gold Coast make their way into my art more and more.

You recently designed a cap for local brand The Undercurrent, why did you include the elements you did?
I got tasked with creating a design representing the entire Gold Coast. I decided to develop a graphic to display the general feeling and vibe of the Coast and included a smooth go with the flow style font that just says “GOLD COAST”. The ‘C’ in the word COAST is a dolphin which I included for a couple of reasons, the obvious one being we see dolphins along our shores all year round. The second is because dolphins are often displayed as symbols of paradise and I wanted this design to feel very much like a depiction of paradise. We are a Coastal town famous for our beaches, and I’m sure most of us have hobbies that include our beaches, so this was a must for this design. I did it in a way to give off the feel good holiday/paradise vibe.

I’ve included a cool smiling sun beaming out over the whole design too. Our town is known well for our usually fantastic weather, and we flourish on a sunny day. They bring everyone out to the beach and setting the town alive.

People’s artistic creations are always so unique to them and their experiences, how would you describe your style?
I’m a fairly ‘fun’, driven person, always just doing what I think will be enjoyable and looking for the next fun thing to do. I like to have fun with my work, not take it too seriously and I just let that flow into my art. I have worked almost exclusively as a men’s apparel designer through my career so I have developed a very bold, easy to view kind of style with a masculine edge to appeal to guys.

Has your style evolved over time and have there been any particular times in your life that have influenced the art you create?
Definitely, my style began as almost a straight up artist. I had no composition or design integrity. I just used to want to draw pictures and slap them on t-shirts. I have been able to see the sales results to each design I have created and then used that information to develop my style into what you see today. I am by no means perfect and still learn new things everyday! The journey of an artist never ends. I think as time goes by different periods in our life do influence our art. I feel like as I progress as an artist, I am chasing new challenges which pushes me to develop and change my art.

You’ve done quite a lot of work with The Mad Hueys, how did that come about?
I managed to get my foot in the door fairly early with The Mad Hueys, doing freelance designs for a couple of years before they were ready to take on a full-time tee designer. I had a friend on the inside who had seen the work I had previously done for other men’s apparel brands, so he got me onboard! Nearly three years ago now I became a full-time Huey and have been loving designing for them ever since.

Is there a piece of art you’ve created that you particularly love?
Yes, there is one in particular. When I first began at The Mad Hueys, they did a collaboration with a surfboard company called Catch Surf. They told me to do the most colourful craziest design I could come up with. I got a couple of weeks to just work on this, so I loaded up on surf graphic inspiration and then developed an electric neon Skeleton captain doing a shoey with a octopus in his pocket and steering a ship haha.

What’s the journey you’ve taken to get to where you are now?
I started my journey doing a two year diploma of graphic design at Ashmore Tafe when I was 21. I had an absolute blast and realised I had made the best decision ever and I would be a graphic designer forever. It took me a while to get a job but my illustration skills is what launched me into my first job. I was taken on by a company that developed Tapout Australia and Dickies Australia, so straight off the bat I had some cool companies on my resume. I then joined the team at Jetpilot where I learnt tons and feel like I developed a lot as a designer. I was only there for a year but it was a turning point. I went straight from Jetpilot to The Mad Hueys, which is where I am now. I just enjoy what I do, so I do it day and night! 

What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
My Mum has always guided me with the best life advice “Just do what makes you happy”. She never pressured me to get a high paying job or pursuing things that I wasn’t interested in. She only ever encouraged me to do what makes me happy and thats exactly what I do! And in doing so, I’ve been able to create a career based on what I love doing. Which I think is the key foundation of being successful.

Being a Gold Coast local, we have to ask your favourites…
Beach: Burleigh, its my home beach!
Café: Social Espresso. They provide me with my much-needed coffee every morning.
Restaurant: Ze Pickle goes down a treat every-time.
How does your weekend usually look? My weekends can vary from busy doing work to being outdoors and enjoying nature in and out of the ocean or at some event getting wild. One thing that is consistent is that I’ll always be enjoying a cafe breakfast and a nice restaurant meal at some point on the weekend!

Lucas Schranz

He’s brought the Gold Coast two of it’s favourite American-style eateries, Easy Street and Luckies Diners and now, along with wife Erin, he’s about to launch a third venue.

We chat with Lucas about tacocat, the traditional Mexican restaurant opening in a Burleigh alleyway later this month.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’ve been here five years, I’m Tasmanian, my parents are Austrian but they moved to Tasmania about 30 years ago. My wife Erin is pretty much a Gold Coaster. She’s been here about 25 years or so and her family is here.

What do you love most about living here?
The weather, so much better than Tasmania. I’ve been here a few years and owning the restaurants, just knowing so many cool people, it’s such an easygoing place. There’s no rat race like Melbourne or Sydney, it’s just a bit more casual and chilled out.

You’re about to open tacocat in Burleigh, can you tell me a bit about it?
Where it’s going is like a garage and even though I say I don’t like being in Melbourne and Sydney, I do like the laneway vibes of Melbourne and the alleyway it’s going into is awesome. I wanted it before I knew what to do there. The space came up and I realized there was no great Mexican food in Burleigh. It’s my favourite part of the Gold Coast so I thought I could probably make tacos. I’m possible going to try and open one of every restaurant flavour-wise. Maybe I’ll do Italian or Japanese next, I don’t know.

What’s going to be unique about it?
I want to do traditional Mexican food, Mexico City type food. Not Californian or Tex Mex style, just pretty traditional but in a modern way.

What’s your background with food?
I’ve been a Chef my whole working life, about 15 years. I travelled and worked overseas, bummed around and snow boarded. I’ve been a delivery driver for a catering company all the way up to working in the best restaurants in Australia. So I’ve done pretty much everything.

You started with Nola at Blackboard Coffee, how did Easy Street Diner come about?
We were doing Nola, which was Southern food, and we opened Easy Street because we didn’t want to only do food from New Orleans. We thought maybe it was a little bit too specific. We decided to do American food and then all of a sudden the hamburgers were just delicious and started being the main part of Easy Street. Bit of a fluke really.

What’s your favourite thing about being in the restaurant biz?
When I was young I used to say I would never have a restaurant. Why would I ever want a restaurant? I would tell my mother she was crazy for thinking I should buy one. Like I said, once I’d worked around a bit and didn’t get along with a few owners, I thought I could do some things a bit better. Owning your own business is awesome, you can do whatever you want, my favourite part is not having to fill out timesheets. I love hanging out with the people I work with, trying to make everyone happy and giving the Gold Coast stuff I think it needs and that they’d like.

You also opened Luckies Diner at The Collective, why did you want to be part of that concept?
I thought Jeremy (owner) was going to do an amazing thing with that place, which he did. I thought it was a great way for heaps of different customers to eat our food, which they are, and just the whole thing about hanging out on the Gold Coast and making it better. The Collective is bloody amazing.

Have you got anything else exciting in the works?
I think I’ll just work on tacocat for a bit and hang out with our new baby. I always think about the next thing before the first thing is done but like I said maybe an Italian restaurant, you never know.

Favourite piece of life advice…
Enjoy the moment.

Being a local, we have to ask for your favourites…
Beach…Can’t really go past Burleigh because there’s people watching, restaurants, you can have a beer, it’s probably one of the greatest beaches in the world I reckon
Café…Blackboard Coffee is delicious
Restaurant…There’s so many on the Coast at the moment. I love Jimmy Wah’s
Weekend hang…Just going out for lunch, hanging out on Burleigh Hill at the moment. Sounds the same as everyone, do something crazy, take the jet ski out or jump off something high.

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