Meet the Splendour 2019 artist in residence: Lee McConnell

Last year the first incarnation of the Splendour in the Grass ‘Artist in Residence’ program was launched, partnering with visual artist and designer Brooklyn Whelan to create the 2018 artwork. This year’s Splendour Artist in Residence is ARIA nominated visual artist Lee McConnell, whose vivid and distinctly Australian works have graced music videos, stage installations and animations for Dune Rats, as well as single and album artwork for Jack River. He chatted to us ahead of the July event.

Tell us a bit about how the 2019 Splendour in the Grass Artist in residence gig came about for you.

Well over the past few years I have worked on the festival to some extent. Firstly, with Mambo as a sponsor in 2016 and 2017 where I art directed some installations on site. Then since working as a full time freelance artist I have done bits and pieces like the announce videos for Splendour the past few years, so Jess Ducrou the promoter has become familiar with me and my work and asked if I want to pitch an artwork for this year’s Artist in Residence program. Of course, I was keen and in which I did. I’m sure how many other artists were involved but I was lucky enough to get the pick and then we went from there.

Why is the Splendour residence right up your alley?

Well I guess it’s ‘right up my alley’ because I’m a fan of music and art. I do a lot of work in the music industry now, so it feels like a nice thing to be a part of. The residency in itself is great exposure for an artist and Splendour do a great job in looking after you and giving you a great platform to work and many different avenues to be creative. It’s been really great to be a apart of and from everything I’ve done so far I’ve enjoyed and it’s really pushed me as a creative to go to the next level.

Can you give us any hints about the content you’ll be creating in your festival installations?

The content is all very much related to the poster artwork I’ve created and the dream like universe created. Colour palette much the same and it’s more about looking past that poster artwork and deep into your imagination where that world can extend beyond the surface and really become anything you want it to be. I’ve painted a big mural on the tunnel as you enter the fezzy too which is more of an illustrative interpretation of the digital photo collage style I used for the poster.

Who are you most looking forward to checking out at Splendour?

Pretty keen to see Tame’s set after watching their Coachella set, they are always great to see. I have a few friends playing this year too and in particular Ruby being her first Splendour I’m keen to catch her and the boys play because it will be a big one for them and will be one not to miss!

What else is happening this year?

I have solo exhibition in conjunction with my Artist Residency at the Lone Goat Gallery in Byron. The opening night is Friday July 12 and Splendour are hosting it. It should be a really fun night and a good chance for people to see the art I’ve been working on lately. The show runs for four weeks over Splendour too until 6 August so if your can’t make the opening and are around Byron over Splendour be sure to stop by the Lone Goat Gallery to check it out.

Splendour in the Grass runs from 19-21 July North Byron Parklands.

IMAGE (c) Jeremy Hancock


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