7×12 | 2022 | SERIES 2 | DAMIEN LUCAS

/ / Meet the Artists 2022


What was the inspiration behind your piece for SWELL Sculpture Festival 2022?

The maquette was part of a series which used setting plaster that would have otherwise gone to waste and was modeled roughly in the final moments of its setting. I then carved and refined the plaster to purify the inherit abstract form created in that short session. From the maquettes from this series I chose the maquette for “Buena Fortuna” to scale up as I enjoyed it’s sense of simplicity and balance, and that it could be stood up on its finest edge. In its larger form it began to suggest something nautical and so I was glad to know she’d be by the sea for SWELL! 

What does exhibiting in the 20th year of SWELL Sculpture Festival mean to you?

I’m honoured to be part of Swell for this landmark occasion. It’s my first time exhibiting with Swell, so it’s a double privilege to have Buena Fortuna as part of the event this year. 

Do you have a party trick or impressive icebreaker talent?

I can’t say I do. Being introverted, I tend to be quiet and listen at a party. A few years back, I may have brought a guitar along for potential jamming however. 

Does music impact your art? What kind of music do you create to?

I wouldn’t say music impacts my art. I love music, but what I listen to is more a matter of the mood of the day. I lean towards the heavy and funky end of the spectrum, but also enjoy blues, traditional indigenous music, jazz, electronica etc. Favourite bands include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More, Suicidal Tendencies etc. 

What is your favourite snack when working on big projects?


What is the most important lesson you’ve ever learnt from a mentor?

To discern and distill the essence of what the sculpture needs to be. 

Is there a running theme with what you create?

Not necessarily. I oscillate between more classically figurative work and the pure abstract, but I’m more interested in where these two meet. Heads and wings are things that keep popping up for me. Something as simple as a head has infinite possibility for variation and expression. But if I had to choose, I’d explore the abstract which to me represents the unknown, and is therefore a deeper, more personal journey. 

If you could immediately learn any skill, which would you choose?

Playing the drums. 

Does pop culture and modern media impact your work?

Mostly as guidance in what to avoid! Although I’m at times curious to try new media, I’m essentially a traditionalist and find that is the most authentic and satisfying path for me. 

Do you have a favourite quote or mantra that you live by?

There are many inspirational quotes (that I can’t now recall), but for better or worse my living mantra might be “mañana, mañana”. 

Which work of art that you have experienced has been the most influential to your practice?

That’s a tricky one. So many from Michelangelo, Moore, Mestrovic, Marini and others, but I think my personal experience with my mentor Tom Bass, and spending so much time around his work was fundamental for me. I still work with the values that I learned and observed from my student days with him, whilst developing my own idiom. 

Now that travel is becoming an option again, where is your next adventure destination?

Probably Perú. I’d like to get to Vietnam one day though to explore the marble there. 

The Author

Joss Smith is an emerging graphic designer based in Tweed Heads, loving everything visual and immersive. Her passion for the creative arts has led her to study a Bachelor of Visual Communication and Graphics. She hopes to balance her love for the arts, culture and nature with her strengths in communication and management to create wicked designs with wicked people. 

Follow her on Instagram @joss.joss.joss