7×13 | 2021 | Series 7 | Yanni Van Zijl

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

Yanni Van Zijl QLD


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

I had an idea to showcase 30 artists from the Noosa Open Studio art trail by inviting them to paint onto the canvas of deck chairs, simultaneously creating an installation through this colourful collaboration.  We had the wooden frames made by the volunteers at Cooroora Woodworkers from a locally sourced tree, then had the Sewing Project hem the canvas. It was a terrific local collaboration from a diverse creative community in Noosa.

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

This installation is far different to what I usually do, here it was to show case other artists talent rather than my own, and it grew from the COVID lock down and needing to display work in a safe open and spaced out setting. Normally I collaborate with Pam Walpole under Art forARTsake creating large scale installations using recycled milk bottles. This was a new challenge in co-ordinating many creatives and finding a novel way to display their work.

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

Ideas come often and fast, it is the plotting, planning and manufacture that is the slow burn! The greatest joy is in the imagining, I see it all completed in my head, I have already imagined how it will look, then the painful journey of bringing all the pieces together, and then finish on a high note, seeing the concept realised, that’s what keeps artists hooked I guess.

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

Previous fashion designer, photographer, sculpture, now multi media artists, I dream of making large scale installations with a message, and sometimes it is purely for the fun of creating. Ever evolving and searching for the one medium that best expresses the next issue I wish to share and engage the public with. I am particularly passionate about creating awareness and conversations about environmental issues, this is often the objective to my arts practice.

Describe your ideal environment where your creative juices flow?

Deserted beach walks, bush clambers, letting the mind empty, wonder and ponder, gift myself time to let the ideas ‘drop’ in. Stare into a fire or a night sky, stilling my head is key, its the hunting for the next idea that gets in the way!

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

Janet Echelman, Anthony Gormley, Barbara Hepworth, Fiona Hall, Andy Goldsworthy I love their vision, skill, sensitivity, scale and courage.

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

Eclectic, broad, environmental.

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

YES! Working in a new collaboration with 2 other artists on a performance piece! I cannot wait to perform this and then explore how far we can take the idea.

What does exhibiting in SWELL 2021 mean to you?

It is hugely exciting, I am a firm believer in bringing the Arts outdoors to the wider general public. What I love about SWELL is that it has a very broad appeal, people that perhaps don’t frequent an art gallery visit SWELL. I also love site specific Art and this beautiful coast line is a fantastic environment to display large works.

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?

Both, one is always inspired, by all that we see, read, hear, our surroundings all make their mark. I have studied pattern making, photography and art, explored different mediums and am now looking at ways to become more sustainable in my art practice. In the past I have used recycled materials, but now I think video is a great medium as it is story telling and can be shared widely with little footprint. That said I still dream of making large scale permanent art works!!

What food would you consider your guilty pleasure?

I am a sucker for orange lindt chocolate, and passionfruit sorbet…but then again love a lamb rack and duck fat potatoes, sorry vegans!!

What skill or talent have you always wished you could master?

I always wanted to paint, and don’t for fear that I won’t be any good, whilst I madly dive in other art forms fearlessly!

If you possessed a superpower, what would it be?

My super power? To absolve people of fearing that they aren’t……….enough! fill in your blank!

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