2023 ARTIST BIOS | John Vanderkolk, Mark George & Jeremy Sheehan

/ / Artist Bios 2023

About John Vanderkolk

Although John Vanderkolk, Mark George and Jeremy Sheehan have known each other for a large part of their lives and shared inspiration for many years, this is the second time they have collaborated on a work for SWELL. 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 Sydney. 
Major influences for John’s work include 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, 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. 
His year is divided between a number of exhibitions, corporate and private commissions and sculpture workshops. 
John’s work ranges from traditional representational figurative pieces to the abstracted and whimsical. 

About Mark George

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 storytelling and gift for weaving engaging narratives into the realm of sculpture and mixed media.

About Jeremy Sheehan

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, Vivid Light Sydney 2019, SWELL 2022, and Ocean Sentinels at The National Maritime Museum. 

2023 SWELL ARTWORK – Canary A.I. 

As we stand with the convergence of multiple uncharted territories ahead, we look towards technology to guide us and reshape the tenuous pathway we have created. 

In the past, we have relied on the natural world to help gauge what is just around the corner or unfolding before us. ‘Canary A.I.’ playfully examines human folly, and questions whether we should invest in growing our own understanding and raising our level of intelligence to tackle big decisions that determine our future, or defer, placing our faith in an artificial intelligence.

Come and see for yourself at SWELL Sculpture Festival, Pacific Parade, Currumbin 8th – 17th September