/ / Meet the Artists 2022


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

This past year presented me more than a few challenges and life choices, Im sure I’m not alone in this. I seemed to find myself staring at the night sky as I pondered the answers, I’m sure I’m not alone in this either. 

But why?

What is it that makes humans contemplate the constellations? As a species, we are unique in looking to the heavens for answers.

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

Swell festival is a homecoming.

In 2020, SWELL pulled me out of my backyard and gave me a spotlight to express myself through sculpture. It opened a door to a vibrant community of art-makers and art-lovers I was unaware existed. SWELL is a yearly gathering where people get to express themselves through whatever media inspires them. I met a librarian that makes art with a shotgun at last year’s SWELL festival. Phenomenal.

Where else in Australia are you going to find such a confluence of eclectic creativity?

Do you think coriander tastes like soap?

Haha.. no.

The answer involves aldehydes and enzymes. Basically, if coriander tastes like soap – blame your parents and their genes. (I listen to a lot of science podcasts while I work)

What might people be surprised to learn about you?

I collect jobs like kids collect Pokemon.

I’ve previously been a pub doorman, professional florist, strip-club MC, tree-lopper, taxidermist, taxi driver, museum curator and a midnight shift DJ on a Christian radio station.

Do you have any artist pet peeves? What are they?

Confidence, or lack of it.

I hear “I like to make art but it isn’t good” That’s bullshit.

The problem isn’t your art it’s your definition of ‘good’. Suck it up. Keep going. Put your head down and give it another crack. Art at its essence is about creating a feeling. Love, or loathing is irrelevant.

Even if someone hates your work, well done – you’ve created a feeling in someone. You’ve forced someone to have a thought and emotional response they wouldn’t have had if not for you.

Being an artist is getting better at influencing what their response will be.

You went to grab your favourite mug, but have found a Genie living inside of it – what are your three wishes?

Peace on earth, a cure for cancer, and a monkey butler in a red velvet vest. 

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

Parthenopi. She’s a local sculptor that works with strong vibrant colour using discarded plastics.

Im a huge believer utilising disgarded materials and giving objects a second life. Parthenopi does it exceptionally well, last year’s Swell festival was her debut. I’m excited to see what she lands on Currumbin beach this year.

What is the strangest food combo that you love?

Smashed avocados with cocoa and monkfruit sweetener.(Fellow keto fans are silently nodding in approval as they read this.)

If you have one, what is your spirit animal?

Snorlax. (He is a chubby blue Pokemon that loves naps above all else.)

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

Have a crack.
Don’t die regretting the shit you never did.

What is your favourite snack when working on big projects?

Because I mainly use chainsaws and heavy power tools I’m covered in protective equipment. I’ve discovered that a n95 dust mask can hold a surprising amount of beef jerky and roasted almonds that you can nibble at your leisure without using your dirty sawdusty hands.

I’m a genius.

Mmmm.. secret snacks.

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

Music feeds creativity. I especially like cover songs with banjos in them. I have to make a mental note not to sing along because my facemask will fog up. If you give me a bluegrass playlist, a chainsaw and a deadline, I’ll get it done. On Spotify I have a public playlist called Monkeybum.

All killer, no filler.

Have a crack.

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