Richard Scott QLD
What was the inspiration behind the piece that is a part of the SWELL Sculpture Festival 2021?
Inspiration came from an old sepia photograph of the original shop taken in 1927. It was the cover-image of a fascinating collection of photos called “Our Historic Currumbin” put together by Lynne at the Currumbin Copy Centre up the road. I was particularly taken with the role of the shop in the community, and the fact that it acted as a greengrocers, newsagents, post office, tobacconist, library, haberdashery, and fishing tackle merchant all under the one roof. And so, with two Currumbin kids of my own, I got to thinking of somehow rebuilding the shop as one big cubby house.
Do you follow a process or plan for each new piece or do you ‘wing it’?
It was very much a process, yes. I sourced photos of the shop from the Local Studies Library in Southport and gave them to my building partner, Ollie, to draw up plans. He chose to retain the original shopfront but to scale down the entrance to “child-height” and to leave the back half exposed to accommodate those taller than a ten-year-old. Then it was just a question of following the plans to recreate the shop as faithfully as we could. This included everything from hand painting all signage to crafting the counter-top, cash register and grocery items inside.
Would you describe your artistic journey as a slow burn or a wild ride?
The building of this sculpture was a “wild ride” to say the least. I know nothing about building, myself. And while Ollie is a gun house builder and renovations specialist, he didn’t have a great deal of availability leading up to SWELL. To complicate matters, he’s a particularly private person who decided to “go bush” a few months before the competition. At one stage, it was looking like the only sculpture on display in September would be the miniature shop I made out of balsa wood and corrugated-cardboard for the SWELL Smalls exhibition at Dust Temple.
Can you tell us a little bit more about how you became the artist that you are today?
Couldn’t say either myself or Ollie would be comfortable calling ourselves “artists” but we’re both creative in our own ways and both draw a bit. For me, my own drawing really benefited from a combination of the first lockdown last year (2020), some old books I got out of the library, and a few online courses from local artist Rebecca Cunningham. Shout out to Rebecca and her Life Drawing Sessions at Dust Temple every month (@life_drawing_sessions). After lockdown, I just kept drawing, or as much as somebody can with little ones at home.
Describe your ideal environment where your creative juices flow?
Ollie prefers to build with the radio blaring. For me, I need complete silence, zero distractions, and an open window to work. But with noisy kids, and ever noisier M1 redevelopments, that’s easier said than done. One day, I hope to get Ollie to build me a shed out the back to retreat to. But it’s been hard enough getting him to build this bloody sculpture.
Is there an artist or body of work that you would consider your muse?
Sculpture-wise, Ollie is my muse. The man’s a visionary – he built our back deck based on nothing but Pinterest boards and some pretty vague instructions from my wife, Josephine, and me; it’s a thing of beauty.
If you had to choose 3 words to describe your artistic style, what would they be?
Amateur, wonky and childish.
Beyond SWELL 2021, is there a forthcoming project you are most excited about?
Ollie has a thousand houses to build. And, I’ve got a series of hand-drawn illustrations (of iconic spots along the Gold Coast Highway) coming up at the Damn Good Store in Burleigh. Shout out to Jarrad – get down to his shop for a bunch of locally-made gifts, and art prints, and other cool shit (@thedamngoodstore).
What does exhibiting in SWELL 2021 mean to you?
For me, I’m just really excited to see the shop come to life and being able to give the kids something to play with. Taking my two down to SWELL has always been a challenge in the past. We tend to spend our time trying to stop our ratbags from destroying the sculptures. So, this year, I’m looking forward to seeing them go nuts on a sculpture that’s been built specifically for that purpose. Ours should be virtually indestructible. Do your worst, kids.
Is there anything you do to continue developing as an artist? Would you describe yourself as self-taught or formally educated in your artistic practice?
Self-taught. (See question 4). But I still have a lot to learn…
If you were to go on a holiday, would you venture to the ocean or the mountains?
Personally, I need both. Living on the coast, I try to get in the sea most mornings. Oftentimes it’s the only thing that really sorts me out. And we try to take the kids up the mountain (Springbook/Tambourine) as often as we can for a bush-bash. Ollie is hiding somewhere out the back of Currumbin Valley, so I guess he has a preference for the mountains. Or just avoiding people.
Gourmet restaurant or home cooked meal?
Since I do most of the cooking in my house, a “home-cooked meal” wouldn’t be much of a treat. Moreover, I’m not the biggest fan of leaving the house these days. So, instead, I’d probably opt for a gourmet takeaway from local Palm Beach favourites: Chef House Thai Contemporary Cuisine, Bilboa Italian, or Burgster. Bloody tasty. If you know, you know…
How would you describe your taste in music?
I’d describe my musical tastes as “disjointed”. However, during the planning stages for SWELL, I listened to a bunch of ocean sounds and Aussie rainforest noises to get me in the mood. I really do have a thing for Kookaburras and whip-birds. We’re also hoping to track down archival ABC Gold Coast radio footage to pipe into the shop. And, also, really want to get the local Currumbin choir down to have a sing-a-long around an old piano, on the beach, one night. Fingers crossed.
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.