7×8 | 2020 | Series 5 | John Forno

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John Forno QLD – Totem/ What’s that Skip? There’s a fire on the horizon!


What’s your favourite aspect of being an artist?

What I remember of my childhood is limited in its narrative playback to a few ready-made toys, BMX riding, skateboarding and Atari. As a child while this limiting form of play helped nurture the rules of life, the ever important element of creator was missing. My art practice has become the play I was missing as a child, and the consequence is I become a creator of worlds, helping to deal with and process past and present events.

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

Childhood toys of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. They become trigger device’s like an archaeological dig, drawing the past towards my present. I have a love/hate relationship with paint.

I do love the smell of spray-paint first thing in the morning. 😉

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

Wouldn’t Uber with anyone in this current social climate but at a distance of 1.5 metres Cornelia Parker.

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

Mike Kelley. (international)
Ricky Swallow (National)

What are you most excited for about SWELL?

The joy on children’s face’s staring at an over-sized Skippy rescuing a koala and parrot.
I am excited for the challenge this sculpture offers, as it is a little out of my comfort zone. Meeting other exhibiting artists and seeing the diverse range of sculptures exploring different stories and themes.

Is there a creative process or method you go through to think of your next piece or do ideas strike you when you don’t expect it?

Inspiration usually strikes during the creative process of a current work + obsessive thinking + more obsessive thinking + nostalgic recall + experimentation= Final work.
P.S Not always in that order.

For this sculpture the idea arose as a result of moving and static imagery of our fragile fauna on my Instagram page during the 2019/2020 bushfire season.

Are you most productive on a beautiful sunny day or rainy gloomy day?

Between the hours of 5pm and 5am.

Beach goer or city slicker or outback lover?

They all offer an opportunity of reflection, discovery and meditation fuelling my inner child and my art practice as an adult.

Is there something you aim to achieve during your career as an artist?

Enter Swell Sculpture Festival!
Research still interests me so do my Phd, exhibit internationally and continue to push my practice and myself in directions I’m not comfortable.

Red, blue or yellow?

Red and Joker Green.

How do you think SWELL Sculpture brings art and the local community together?

Swell brings together artists from all walks of life offering diversity in the stories they share through sculpture and installation with the community. These sculptures and installations help form opinions, challenge ideals and create a dialogue on Social, cultural and political ideals pertaining to the community and the world as a whole.

How many SWELL Sculpture Festivals have you been too?


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