7×8 | 2020 | Series 4 | Guy Cooper

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Guy Cooper QLD – Guardians of the Gold Coast


What’s your favourite aspect of being an artist?

I love the freedom of being able to create with my hands. Ideate something in my head and then translate it to a physical manifestation through sculpture. Being able to embed a feeling and emotion through the physical form is very fulfilling for me.

Do you have a favourite material you like to work with?

I love steel, it’s strong, hard and lasts a very long time when treated properly, yet malleable and able to be shaped into all sorts of strange and unusual shapes that other materials won’t hold.

Would you rather share an Uber with Barbara Hepworth or Cornelia Parker or Antony Gormley?

Cornelia Parker, I love her Cold Dark Matter piece.

If you could meet any artist (from the past or present) who would it be?

Sound sculptor Harry Bertoia, he helped pioneer sound sculpture and utilised both musical and meditative sound integrated into his sculpture works.

What are you most excited for about SWELL?

Being down on the beach with art surrounding us is magical. I love the open space, the sound and smell of the ocean and transforming it into a giant open-air gallery. Seeing people of all ages enjoying art for free and the faces of kids and adult light up as they explore and are inspired by all the works.

When did you first realise you loved creating art?

My world is a blend of science and art, I love them both. Music was my first art love and I was introduced to this by my mother. It has given me a great career and connection with so many amazing artists and friends. Finding sculpture a few years ago has given me another outlet for my art. Both music and sculpture allow me to work and create things with my hands.

Do you like playing music while you work? If so what’s your favourite genre of music to listen to while you work?

Yes and yes, music is my life haha. Almost everything, I have a lot of clients in different genres, I work professionally as a music producer and musician. I play in a few bands and love everything from punk to pop, rock to folk, metal to classical.

Are you a night owl or early bird?

I would say I’m a day hawk haha. I am organised, and you have to be to run an arts business. I work well during the day and some nights. These days I try not to work all night and schedule my arts practice during sustainable and repeatable hours so I can spend time with my partner and friends. Life is all about balance, calm thinking, preparation and meditation can allow you to be creative when you need to be.

Do you find making art a therapeutic or chaotic process?

Completely therapeutic for me, I love working with my hands and expressing myself emotionally through sculpture and music. I find I process a lot of things when my hands are busy.

What’s the WOW factor of your piece?

The size and the epic steel wings on this years piece should move some eyes, it will all be shining chrome silver and should reflect the sun on the beach well. I’m always happy when people come up to my sculptures and say “What the F&*K!” haha.

What do you want the public to see through your current artwork?

My 2020 piece for Swell is a tribute to the medical staff on the Gold Coast that have helped save my life a few times. They are the unsung heroes and especially with everything that is currently going on, they deserve some more recognition as the Guardians of the Gold Coast. I hope that people can see my love, passion and praise for Gold Coast health workers through my piece.

What does SWELL mean to you?

Swell is an opportunity, a catalyst for me to create something special for my home city of the Gold Coast. The open air space with no restriction on size is very appealing for me, being able to create and exhibit something that sits in that Currumbin beach strip is a special opportunity.

Shelby Nelson is confident but still growing as a university student. Studying Public Relations and Business she has found a strong passion for all things events, especially when it comes to the arts industry. Growing up on the Gold Coast she lives and breathes the beachside lifestyle and aims to help showcase people with amazing talents, giving the community not only a chance to appreciate them but have an amazing experience whilst doing so.

Follow her on Instagram @shelbynelson1