/ / Artist Bios 2021

Although John Vanderkolk, Mark George and Jeremy Sheehan have known each other for a large part of their lives, Swell represents the first time they have collaborated on a work of this nature. Between them, as individual artists they have won awards at the Florence Biennale, produced feature films and exhibited large scale sculptures nationally and internationally.

John Vanderkolk was introduced to art at an early age.  His parents were both conservators/restorers in various art galleries around Sydney.

The major influences for John’s work include the many after school hours spent in the back rooms of galleries. He had more of an interest in “object” rather than “image” as a means of expression. Then after training as an industrial designer/patternmaker in the plastics industry, or perhaps more accurately a reaction against his trade, the more comfortable John became with various materials, the more frustrated he became at the lack of any creative input into their use. Another great influence was David Rae, one of Australia’s most accomplished figurative sculptors.  Rae made clear the value of constant practice, study and persistence and the importance of comprehensive knowledge of the medium and all processes involved in making art.

In the early 80’s John spent time travelling through Africa and the Middle East and came to realise that “object” making was a natural and important component in the lives of nearly all cultures in all age groups (the exception being those at war).

His year is divided between a number of exhibitions, corporate and private commissions and occasional sculpture workshops.

John’s work ranges from traditional representational figurative pieces to the abstracted and whimsical.

Mark George has a Bachelor of Design, Visual Communications, majoring in film and video production. He began his career in Sydney’s advertising sphere as a creative designer, and producer developing projects for commercial brands, nonprofit organisations and museums delivering engaging content across a vast range of media and platforms.
His current slate includes project titles for film, TV series, VR, AR and mixed reality.
In 2016 Mark was selected for the ‘Regional Producer Elevator Program’, part of the Ones to Watch Initiative, supported by Screen Producers Australia, Screen NSW and Screenworks Inc.
He produced the successful Australian feature film  ‘THIRST’, and since then has been collaborating with two award winning writers creating a slate of projects that includes two episodic series and two original feature films. He brings his passion for story telling and gift for weaving engaging narratives into the realm of sculpture and mixed media

Collaboration with a diverse mix of people is a key driving force for Jeremy Sheehan’s work, and this often includes artists and creators spanning different countries and disciplines. His practice is becoming increasingly focused on site-specific works created with a mix of natural and artificial materials. Sheehan holds a BFA and a Masters in Cross Disciplinary Art & Design. His work has been collected domestically and internationally and previous work includes Sculpture by the Sea Bondi three times and Vivid Light Sydney 2019.


2021 SWELL ARTWORK – Navigator, Jeremy Sheehan, John Vanderkolk & Mark George

Since ancient times many cultures have studied movements and patterns of birds to predict the future. They tell common stories of great floods, and tales of ships from over the horizon alongside their own travels across the ocean to new possibilities.

Here a flock of endangered little terns can be used both as a wind vane by surfers, and perhaps also to point towards possible futures.
Their journey to and from our beaches each year, navigating the challenges of our changing world, carries messages and parallels for all of us.


Instagram: @john.vanderkolk @jeremy.bigarts

Website: www.jeremysheehan.net www.vanderkolk.com.au

Come and see for yourself at SWELL Sculpture Festival, Pacific Parade, Currumbin 10-19 September.