Culture. As a young country, we’re pretty new to it. Australia hasn’t undergone any significant eras, no Renaissance or Revolution. No Great Pyramid, Sistine Chapel or leaning towers line the Gold Coast Highway. But to tourists from other cultures, the Gold Coast is far more appealing than their Madison and Lombard Avenues. When was the last time we had our portraits taken beneath the golden arch of Surfers Paradise? When was the last time we gazed over our city from the Observation Deck of Q1? It’s the joy of being a tourist, of experiencing something new. We must be desensitised to the beauty of our own town.
Perhaps locale and architecture, the backdrop to our lives and artistic practices, play as important a role in culture as the artists do. The Gold Coast art scene is burgeoning and Veople’s Jay Jermyn and I wanted to contribute with a locally based project. We chose Southport as our subject, the Gold Coast CBD. We walked the streets looking for that one building that represented Southport through traditional architectural design. A building or space that people could recognise. What we found in Southport was a blank canvas. White walls around every corner. A narrative down every alley. This project, Blank and Blue, is about finding new ways to look at our city. To photograph in a minimalistic style, sites that bear the potential markings of future street art. To find the otherwise mundane, to relocate and recapture it in a different light.
Not Tonight, a bar on Southport-Nerang Rd has a large and colourful Shida piece plastered across it. In the next alley, a Banksy style stencil on a white wall that’s been painted over in grey. It’s a rarely frequented alley and the only art it had has been covered, and in doing so has made the wall look more decrepit. Jay and I aren’t condoning graffiti or vandalism. We’re condoning looking at these blank spaces with fresh perspectives. And with our photography and Jay’s overlay of abstract art and graphics, the Blank and Blue project presents a society where the integration of art and business is possible. The Southport CBD, a place where art could be woven into its narrative. You may recognise these walls. They may not be iconic, but they could be. They’re white and lost against the blue. They belong to the Coast. They’re ours. They’re blank. And it’s time to look at them like tourists do.
See Jay and Aaron’s work at the opening of the new Maverick Hair & Art Space in Coolangatta mid-October.