If a city’s character can be defined by the art it produces, then the Gold Coast is an exciting and eclectic place indeed. But separate to the galleries and festivals is a different kind of message; one you might see painted over a business, a brick fence, a tram line. Street art is an increasingly valid and desired form of artistic expression, and in Southport alone there are now several completed pieces by elusive Gold Coast artist John Kaye, which beautifully capture the vibe of the urban space he called home. John agreed to chat with us about how they came about.
“These paintings around Southport were all done over the space of a year,” he explains.
“The first was in collaboration with 4040creative and G-Link to activate some wall space along the tram line with artwork. The intention was to encourage more tourists to visit the northern end of the Gold Coast… As more and more people started to notice the positive change in the area, the other paintings gradually came about.”
John spent some of the most influential years in childhood skateboarding around the streets of Southport with his friends, which is where he discovered street art and graffiti, he tells us.
“I was already drawing cartoons and scribbling on all my books at school from a young age, I just never had any real understanding about art until I came across graffiti.
“It was rare to see anything substantial back then [but] I was fascinated with it and from that point I started to notice more and go out of my way to learn as much as I could until eventually I began studying art history and painting every day.”
John is hopeful that his work may have the chance to influence others in the same way.
“It’s a great feeling for me to be able to come back and add parts of myself to the city as it is rapidly growing and hopefully I can have a positive impact on a few people, especially the younger ones on the streets that might not be subjected to art anywhere else.”
John’s other work can be viewed at johnkayeart.com. Street art images taken by Marj Osborne.