Arvin Abbassian QLD – Coral Rehab
What’s your favourite aspect of being an artist?
I love the power of expression & total freedom art enables. I think art can envelop a sense of empathy and help us better understand people, places, periods of history, and issues with which we may otherwise be unfamiliar with.
Do you have a favourite material you like to work with?
It really depends but I love the idea of working with concrete. Something about its durability and permanence. But also it needs to be used responsibly, given permanence is an inherently sustainable quality.
Would you rather share an Uber with Barbara Hepworth or Cornelia Parker or Antony Gormley?
Thats a tough one but probably Cornelia Parker. I admire her for working with everyday objects and turning them into atmospheric scenarios.
If you could meet any artist (from the past or present) who would it be?
Probably Takashi Murakami or KAWS. Having studied briefly at the Tokyo University of the Arts, where he Murakami studied for a number of years, I had the chance to learn a little about him and his influence. I admire both of these artists for blurring the lines between art with fashion, commerce and pop-culture.
What are you most excited for about SWELL?
The opportunity to present a work on art on the shores of the city I grew up in is pretty neat! Its actually really exciting to see the Gold Coast become one of the melting pots for creatives and emerging artists. And of course the sculpture itself. Excited to be working on delivering this piece with a robotic intervention.
When did you first realise you loved creating art?
My most memorable experience of art was probably watching my mum paint a Persian Mural in our home in Adelaide. I would have been quite young, and my mum would have been in her mid 20s studying a degree in mathematics. I remember she would have her university text books on one side and a giant canvas on the other. Years later I found myself in the same position, filling my study breaks with painting, sketching and testing ideas. I think the study of architecture really rewired my thinking and somewhat allowed me to view art 3 dimensionally.
What job did you do before becoming an artist/ or what do you do on top of being an artist?
Growing up I was always intrigued by engineering and structures but also loved having a creative outlet on hand. Last year I ended up graduating with a Master degree in Architecture. It was the best of both worlds and I am very grateful for all of my mentors throughout my academic and professional career.
Beach goer or city slicker or outback lover?
Beach goer for sure.
Red, blue or yellow?
Maybe red with a dash of yellow.
What do you want the public to see through your current artwork?
Hopefully a point of pause & reflection for the environment and our sea-life. The piece is aimed to surface the ongoing issues we face underwater and the ongoing coral bleaching our reefs are experiencing at an alarming rate. It is a global crisis which is caused by increased ocean temperatures driven by carbon pollution. For locals, this is something close to home and requires both education and collective action.
What drew you to applying for SWELL?
It was always a goal of mine to participate in an art competition and with some encouragement from my university professors, I decided to submit a proposal I had tested earlier in my academic career.
Shelby Nelson is confident but still growing as a university student. Studying Public Relations and Business she has found a strong passion for all things events, especially when it comes to the arts industry. Growing up on the Gold Coast she lives and breathes the beachside lifestyle and aims to help showcase people with amazing talents, giving the community not only a chance to appreciate them but have an amazing experience whilst doing so.
Follow her on Instagram @shelbynelson1