7×13 | 2021 | Series 1 | Mike Van Dam

/ / Latest News, Meet the Artists 2021 7x13 Series

Mike Van Dam QLD


What was the inspiration behind the piece that is a part of the SWELL Sculpture Festival 2021?

‘The Guardian’ was inspired by a combination of events over many years, specifically COVID-19 and the passing of my Father 17 years ago. I feel we have people looking over us in many ways, either both present or people who have passed.

Do you follow a process or plan for each new piece or do you ‘wing it’?

There is definitely a ‘wing it’ component to my pieces. I generally plan it, but depending on the piece, it can move in different directions.

Would you describe your artistic journey as a slow burn or a wild ride?

A combination of both, depending on the year.

Can you tell us a little bit more about how you became the artist that you are today?

I’m a Sheetmetal worker by trade and after attending the SWELL Festival over 10 years ago as a spectator, I thought that I would see what I could come up with. I have since been in SWELL numerous times and have pieces in Galleries, private collections and on display in both Australia and overseas.

Describe your ideal environment where your creative juices flow?

In my shed, at home, with the radio on.

Is there an artist or body of work that you would consider your muse?


If you had to choose 3 words to describe your artistic style, what would they be?

Different, different, different.

Beyond SWELL 2021, is there a forthcoming project you are most excited about?

I have a large commissioned piece to do here on the Gold Coast that I am very excited about.

What does exhibiting in SWELL 2021 mean to you?

Being able to showcase my work and catching up with both old artist friends and new ones.

Is there anything you do to continue developing as an artist? Would you describe yourself as self-taught or formally educated in your practice?


If you were to go on a holiday, would you venture to the ocean or the mountains?

A mountainous island.

Gourmet restaurant or home-cooked meal?

Home cooked.

How would you describe your taste in music?


The Author

Courtney Stephens is an emerging creative event producer based in Tweed Heads. After a successful career as a Practice Manager, her passion for the creative arts industry has led her to study a Bachelor of Business in Convention and Event Management. She hopes to balance her love for the arts, culture and nature with her strengths in communication and management to create community based events.

Follow her on Instagram @courtneystephens