Nadine School QLD
What was the inspiration behind the piece that is a part of the SWELL Sculpture Festival 2021?
The beauty of corals and nature’s amazing ability to adapt and be resilient in the face of environmental challenges.
Do you follow a process or plan for each new piece or do you ‘wing it’?
A bit of both. I like to experiment and try new things but I generally have an image in my mind of what I’m aiming for and what kind of experience I’d like the viewer to have.
Would you describe your artistic journey as a slow burn or a wild ride?
Sporadic in parts however things have definitely ramped up in the last 12 months or so with some real highs and lows. COVID has been challenging but also a blessing in disguise as it’s enabled me to direct more energy into my practice and given me more confidence in myself as an artist.
Can you tell us a little bit more about how you became the artist that you are today?
Three events stand out for me. As a 10 year old I had a stall at the school fete selling friendship bands I’d made. My first adventure as an art entrepreneur. I think I raised about $5.00. Second would be spending eight months living on Lady Elliot Island in the Great Barrier Reef, where I became fascinated by cnidarians (corals and jellyfish). Thirdly would be getting involved with Reverse Garbage Queensland as an artist and workshop facilitator. Around that time I sold my first artwork and began experimenting more with waste materials for creative re-use.
Describe your ideal environment where your creative juices flow?
Having a bunch of fun materials to work with and being free to make a mess helps me to get things flowing. My studio is in a garage but I’m often moving around outdoors in the garden as well.
Is there an artist or body of work that you would consider your muse?
Mother nature is my biggest muse. She knows what she’s doing. But I also love the work of teamLab, Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam’s crochet playgrounds, Alexander Calder’s kinetic sculptures, Dale Chihuly and The Tinkering Studio for their STEAM education programs.
If you had to choose 3 words to describe your artistic style, what would they be?
Colourful, illuminating, immersive.
Beyond SWELL 2021, is there a forthcoming project you are most excited about?
Some things are in the works but not that I can reveal at this stage.
What does exhibiting in SWELL 2021 mean to you?
Exhibiting in SWELL has been on my bucket list for a few years now. I’ve applied in the past but this is the first time I’ve been successful so it means a lot to be accepted along with a fantastic lineup of talented artists.
Is there anything you do to continue developing as an artist? Would you describe yourself as self-taught or formally educated in your practice?
Over time I’ve been able to develop and hone my own techniques in heat moulding with plastic but I’m always looking for other ways I can experiment and push the boundaries of what’s possible. I would say the artist side of me is self-taught but being an arts educator I do have formal qualifications in visual arts education. I’m always on the look out for ways I can develop my skills and knowledge of environmental education and sustainability. Last year for example I undertook a Permaculture Design certificate and have been coordinating a school community garden.
If you were to go on a holiday, would you venture to the ocean or the mountains?
The ocean! I’d love to go back to the Great Barrier Reef and see what things are like since I was last there.
Gourmet restaurant or home-cooked meal?
Depends on who’s cooking! I’m mostly a brunch person with a soft spot for pancakes.
How would you describe your taste in music?
Mixed? I love grunge, especially Alice in Chains but also 80s workout beats.
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.