7×12 | 2022 | SERIES 5 | ANTONE BRUINSMA

/ / Meet the Artists 2022


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

My sculpture for Swell 22 was started several years ago. The initial inspiration came from an artist who I greatly admire and respect, somebody who sang from the heart. My aim was to make the black granite sing with the same strength that this person did. While working on the sculpture the energy of the theme became more relevant on a universal level, even though the scale of the work relates more on a human scale. Respect in all its facets is a worthy element within us to foster and appreciate in others and our environment. This sculpture and I have shared a long journey, and it has made my heart grow for which I am very thankful.

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

I am really pleased to be part of this year’s Swell. Over the years there have been some wonderful exhibitions with a rich variety of artistic expressions from so many talented artists on show. And these exhibitions have created an important cultural history for the Gold Coast. And twenty years on, this legacy continues, and that’s no mean feat! Swell has continued to evolve and the artists are encouraged to explore the creative depths beyond their comfort zone. This combination has provided the viewing public with an exciting event to witness every year, for artists to be want to participate in and the organisers proud to present. One generation on, this milestone is worth celebrating and being part of in the best way possible. And my hat off to those who have taken Swell to this stage….Respect!

Would you rather go into the past and meet your favourite artists or go into the future to see the future of art?

Interesting question…..in the process of creating my sculptures I sometimes sense the presence of artists of the past. They occasionally offer advice or I ask for it and at times we have conversations. The themes of my sculptures are experiential and mostly intuitive, with each piece shedding light on my journey. Artists from the past have sometimes trodden the same steps and we share some of the same experiences. There’s a comfort in knowing that, a reassurance because being a sculptor can be a very lonely occupation. Stone sculpture is the slowest developing art-form there is. New technology has made working stone a bit faster and easier which has also made it possible to push possibilities and concepts further. That’s both exciting AND tiring as it means more work, work, work! (a case of no rest for the wicked?!) At the moment I appreciate being in the present while learning about the wisdom and approaches the ancient ones had with working stone while welcoming the future with a curiosity and open mind. I am often asked what my favourite sculpture is and my answer is always my next piece (or the ones I am currently working on).

Are there any budding artists that you’re excited to see evolve?

Hmmmm….. creation is precious (ask any parent), and I find it wonderful to see all people making art whatever their age. Civilisations evolve through art.

If you were a biscuit, which biscuit would you be?

Hahaha I’d probably be the cup of coffee you have with the biscuit!

Did you have any favourite artists when you were growing up?

(Do we ever stop growing up?) When I was a kid growing up in The Netherlands, there was an abstract black monolith in the schoolyard, my parents used to take us to The Museum of the Tropics with many striking sculptures from Africa and Papua New Guinea, and when we moved to the countryside there were ancient megalithic sites scattered everywhere. I guess all these elements put together were a big influence even though they were all nameless. The painters I connected with were Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt and Karel Appel. And sculptors like Gabo and Zadkine (and even Picasso) have had an influence from their public art works when I was a kid. Once I really immersed myself into sculpture at art college and started to read more about artists, I quite liked Jacob Epstein, especially after reading his autobiography.

Has your art practice changed over time?

In some respects my art practice has changed although in essence the approach and process have remained the same. New technologies has allowed me to push the material (and concepts) more. Essentially though, there still needs to be a respect for the material, the tools, the theme and oneself. 

If we ran into you at the pub, what drink should we offer to buy you?

Before 5pm….a low alcohol beer (on a hot day)

After 5…..a decent quality beer, a glass of fine red, single malt whisky…neat, a cognac…..

After selling a sculpture…….champagne!

What is the trickiest part of being an artist?

doing all the non-artist stuff 😉

What is the strangest thing or thought that has inspired a piece of artwork, you have created or experienced?

“Strange” is probably a subjective term and understanding of something that’s normal for one person and not understood by somebody else. It is also something I welcome, enjoy and appreciate, whether I get visions of artworks when I meditate, spend time in Nature, in the presence of a particular stone, or when working on another piece. 

Do you prefer to create for others or for yourself?

When I create with the heart it doesn’t really matter who I create it for. If the artwork has that respect it will feel right for me and then hopefully connect with others too. Mind you, it’s always a privilege to create certain commissions for other people, but those pieces still need to come from the right place.

What activity do you think they were they doing down by the school yard in Paul Simons famous song, “Me and Julio down by the school yard”?

They were making artworks! 😉

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