Swell Fine Tunes Cultural Collaboration With Gold Coast Music Awards

A UNIQUE collaboration between two of the Gold Coast’s most significant cultural events took on new depth this year, with an award-winning SWELL Sculpture Festival artist commissioned to create a bespoke sculptural trophy for the 2016 Gold Coast Music Awards (GCMA).

For the second year running, SWELL has joined forces with the Gold Coast Music Awards, which were revived in 2015 to recognise and celebrate the region’s proud live music scene. Artist Ivan Lovatt, who won last year’s SWELL People’s Choice Award, created a stunning piece of collectible art that was presented to the GCMA People’s Choice Award at Burleigh Brewing Co. on Thursday, June 16.

Lovatt’s one-off creation brings a fresh artistic dimension to GCMA, which last year commissioned SWELL artist Dion Parker to design a mould that was used to cast seven trophies for 2016 category winners. SWELL director and curator Natasha Edwards said the partnership with GCMA reinforced the importance of creativity in all its forms to drive cultural growth of the region. 

“It has been a great experience of marrying artistic disciplines and another opportunity to showcase the diversity of talent of our sculptors, with Dion last year and now Ivan creating trophies which will become pieces for the GCMA award winners to treasure forever,” Ms Edwards said.

“Ivan is a long-time exhibitor with SWELL who has won the SWELL People’s Choice Award five times since 2004, so it is particularly significant that he has channelled some of that emotion into an inspired one-off work for the winner of GCMA’s equivalent award decided by popular vote.”

Lovatt has collected a raft of awards for his works exhibited at the beachside sculpture festival, including SWELL People’s Choice in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2014 and 2015, alongside other honours, including SWELL Kids’ Choice and Smalls Gallery People’s Choice. 

The Worongary-based professional sculptor is known for creating awe-inspiring imaginative works from layered and twisted chicken wire, a medium that lends itself to the sensitivity and delicacy of his expression, resulting in realistic or abstract forms that invite audience interaction. For GCMA, Lovatt said he took a, “fun, light-hearted approach” to creating a work reflecting the celebratory role of live music in many people’s lives.


“I started off with a few more complex ideas but drew it back to something more simple and universal – the musical symbol of a treble clef. I have used chicken wire to sculpt the treble clef and then added a little fairy wren singing away on top in blue as a nod to the winner’s blue ribbon,”

- Lovatt said.


“The final trophy was actually mark three – I don’t think people realise that sometimes, as an artist, you do go through a bit of an evolution to make a finished object.

“This opportunity was immensely rewarding, as I do enjoy having all forms of art and creativity including music in my life, and I am also looking forward to attending the event,” he said. GCMA organiser Samantha Morris said generous support from organisations such as SWELL was a crucial component of the event’s runaway success last year, with sell-out attendance and thousands of votes cast for the People’s Choice Awards. 

“We have been overwhelmed with the support for our industry’s hard-working musicians and look forward to an even more exciting event this year as the GCMA continues to promote the region as a live music destination,” Ms Morris said.

“Creative people working together is how magic happens on the Gold Coast, and the collaboration with SWELL has been another way to highlight the cultural diversity of our region.

 

“The trophies became one of the big talking points last year, and were certainly most coveted by our winners, who also earned a raft of live performance opportunities through their involvement with the event,” she said.

For more information or to cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award, please visit www.gcmusicawards.com.au

SWELL takes place on Currumbin Beach from 9-18 September, with up to 55 dynamic sculptures created by more than 50 selected artists set to transform the golden sands of the iconic foreshore into an interactive display of public art. Now in its 14th year, the free, family-friendly event has been instrumental in engaging the community in a vibrant cultural dialogue as artists from across the country and the world display thought-provoking works that highlight a range of social, environmental and contemporary issues.  

Photography Ruth Della