7×13 | 2021 | Series 2 | Gabe Parker

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

Gabe Parker QLD


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

I just want to share my ideas with you all. Within sculpture, I attempt to reconnect myself and the viewer with nature’s forms and aesthetic ratios. But sometimes I’ll need to explain to you what’s going on. You’ll get it eventually, keep looking.

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

Winging it gets me up in the morning. Each piece starts with a mess of sketches which develop into loose shapes on the bench. The parts will fit together as they allow and an indoor personal piece of sculpture is born. If it is to be made “big scale”, then another process starts with it’s own set of considerations involving constructability while maintaining vision. So I have a plan but always have to wing it at some point, the more the better.

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

Slow and wild burning ride really, but that’s welding for you, which I do a lot of. It can actually be meditative as a process, except for the fumes part. I think my artistic journey could be likened to riding blindfolded on a perturbed horse. Anything could happen.

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

I have a trade background as a steel worker where I was always getting in trouble for making sculpture from the scrap and eating all the time. Twenty years later I’m still a student of sculpture,
eating at will. I found it easy to come up with ideas because I was never working creatively for a living. The creative frustrations of my past give me positive action and the strength to capture that potent energy now. It least I think that’s what’s happening.

Describe your ideal environment where your creative juices flow?

My open air workspace at home in Brighton Queensland with instrumental music playing in the background (tortoise, Sunn O).

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

Davis Smith, Anthony Caro, Richard Serra, Beverly Pepper, Edwardo Chillida, James Rogers, Franz Cline, Barbara Hepworth. etc. Or anyone like them.

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

Biotic, abstract, brutalist.

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

SWELL 2022 and everything in between. This includes building a new studio to keep all my gear out of the weather.

What does exhibiting in SWELL 2021 mean to you?

It means everything because SWELL is my first big one. As an unknown artist you can be overlooked. I have no sponsors apart from my wife. I’m not affiliated with an architectural firm or a fabricator and I don’t pay anyone to make my art nor do I get paid. I do everything myself. To get a chance to be in SWELL is a real milestone for any artist considering the established names in the line up. Thanks.

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?

I’m self taught. The hardest part is sustaining yourself financially but as I make more art I keep developing as an artist as I make more art I keep developing as an artist as I make more art…..it’s like that.

Where did you grow up?

I never grew up in Brisbane.

Have you got a favourite Art Gallery in Australia?

No. But I haven’t been to one I didn’t like.

Tea or coffee?



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