Suzi Lucas takes flight at westerlySWELL

Gold Coast artist Suzi Lucas will migrate her Moonbird west to Mudgeeraba for the inaugural manifestation of westerlySWELL.

westerlySWELL is the brand new satellite event of the 2020 SWELL Sculpture Festival, taking place in the idyllic surrounds of Mudgeeraba’s Village Green from 1 to 20 September.

Locals and visitors alike are invited to visit the quaint and delightful hub, to be awed by the works of artists from the Gold Coast, greater Queensland and South Australia. One of those artists is Reedy Creek resident Suzi Lucas, who has called the Gold Coast home – via NZ – for 38 years.

It’s clear that paint runs through Suzi’s veins, with her entire career taking place in and around the arts. Her current business Artoutside makes bespoke pieces on commission, but she’s also worked in graphic design packaging design, textile design, ceramics and sculpture. She’s even dabbled in the film and television industry as a sound recordist and camera assistant.

This will be Suzi’s fourth showing at SWELL. But the four works are all very different from one another, she tells us.

“Some address concepts to do with childhood memories, family and sentimentality using repurposed materials. The others address environmental issues and my thoughts around endangered species I am particularly interested in migratory shore birds.”

That interest in migratory birds led her to develop her current piece for westerlySWELL, Moonbird B95.

“It is a bird sculpture inspired by a real life bird that flew more than 540,00 km’s during his lifetime,” explains Suzi.

“He would fly his migratory route from Argentina to Alaska and back every year for at least 17 years. There is a lot of documented information about him online, as scientists and birders who spotted him on the shoreline throughout his many journeys have recorded him. He is a Rufa Red Knot and they are becoming critically endangered around the world due to Global Warming and loss of shoreline habitat due to reclamation and development.”

This passion has led Suzi to work on a series of similar birds with massive migratory paths. However it’s not just the skies that inspire her.

“I draw my creative inspiration from pretty much everything and everyone around me. I always have my eyes wide open and I’m constantly watching and absorbing what’s going on around me. Ideas come to me all of the time but sometimes they are hard to catch. It’s like trying to catch butterflies with a net and not crush them,” Suzi says.

“I find being in the garden allows me time to think about my art and my ideas come to me freely when I am under a lovely winter blue Gold Coast sky.”

Nature and the outdoors really do inspire me.

Such nature-inspired works are a perfect fit for a cultural event like SWELL, which completely embraces the concept of bringing people, art and place together. And for Suzi, who lives very close to Mudgeeraba and like the rest of us, has gone through the rigours of 2020 and social distancing, that idea grows even more poignant.

“I’m really looking forward to helping to bring SWELL to Mudgeeraba this year as it is close to where I live and it will help to spread the word and perhaps encourage more people to pop down to Currumbin.

“I think it will liven up people’s days and take them away from their worries for a minute or two. After all it’s been a pretty tough year for everyone.”

westerlySWELL will make waves on the Mudgeeraba Village Green from 9am to 5pm, 1 to 20 September. Visit the website for more.

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