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Brad Hill is a talented Queensland artist. His work Caged is a reflection on emotions of mental illness. Behind closed doors nobody knows what you’re experiencing or how you’re feeling. We all put on a fake persona where we are caged behind our emotions. Let’s strip the cage.
Writer Haley Smith spoke with Brad about what inspires his art practice, his personal struggle with mental health and how these emotions transform into beautiful art works that speak to all of us.

Can you tell me one thing about your artwork that will make people stop and stare?

The public will hopefully stop and stare at the sculpture to reflect on their own mental health and those close to them. Don’t allow yourself to become caged in this illness.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

After being in construction for over thirty odd years I have witnessed many workers suffering from depression and suicide, including myself. I want this piece to be a voice by my art.  The person that inspires me is my soulmate Natasha Evans. She is my biggest critic and the most positive person in my life.

What motivates you to create your art?

Suicide and mental health awareness.

Do you experience self-doubt or fear when it comes to creating art and how do you overcome it?

On many occasions throughout the time of creating this project the self-doubt has overwhelming.  There have been plenty of tears, curse words and anger over the process.  I have tried to manage it by just stopping and walking away to take five. But the fear of people not liking my art and staying positive about my installation is something I am dealing as it become closer to the festival.

How long has it taken you to complete your SWELL Sculpture this year?

I’ve been working on this piece for almost a full year because of so many changes. But I have decided to go back to my original design. But I would estimate this has taken about 300 hours for the 3 giraffes in the piece.

Can you tell me what impression you want your art piece to have on the public?

I want to highlight depression and anxiety as a very serious illness, and we need to get rid off the ugly stigma that is associated with people’s perception of such an illness. Empathy is a good start.

At what point in the day do you find you are the most creative and productive?

I personally feel the most creative in the evening and most productive in the afternoon due to illness mornings are a bit hard at the moment.

Are there any installations from other artists that you are excited to see this year?

I am a fan of Ivan Lovatt installations.

Would you rather create art with your opposite hand or have a really annoying high-pitched noise play every time you try to do work?

I would use my opposite hand to make art. I am right-handed and lost my right index finger in a work accident, so I use my left hand quite a bit.

If you could only use one material to make art for the rest of your life, what would you use?

It would have to be stainless steel. I love it.

Haley Smith is an emerging writer and creative from the Gold Coast. She has had an active blog for over ten years where she shares her short stories, poetry and travelling adventures. She has founded a Podcast; Atomic Sunflowers. Here she shares stories about creative living beyond fear, mental health and balancing the creative mind.

Follow her on Instagram @haleylaurensmith or her blog www.haleylaurensmith.com