The nicest guy and the hardest stone

Luke Zwolsman is a young Gold Coast based stone sculptor with a high profile in Australian art. He is a father, husband, self-proclaimed recluse and an all-around good guy. He is also doing what many artists only dream of; he is on top of his game and travelling the world with his art, and this is just the beginning.

Luke was born in The Netherlands but grew up in sunny Queensland. After finishing school, he fell into a mundane and unsatisfying job. Feeling as though the world had more in store for him, Luke returned to his birth country to seek new adventures. Once there, he needed to work and a friend of the family knew a well known stone sculptor and master stonemason. This mentor worked predominantly in granite – the hardest of the stones – and Luke fell in love and found his match made in stone heaven. Under expert guidance Luke learned both the skills to work with this very hard stone and also how to develop the creative part of himself that he had not yet explored. After 5 years in the Netherlands, the cold, wet weather took its toll and Luke decided to come back to sunny Queensland. The Netherland’s loss became our gain.

Fast forward about 15 years and Luke has established his place as an acclaimed Australian stone sculptor. In 2015, he travelled the world extensively participating in stone symposium and art projects in Turkey, Germany, The Netherlands, France, Italy and Cyprus as well as various sculpture exhibitions and events all over Australia. He is still on the path he started all those years ago, practicing his art, ever evolving as an artist and a stonemason and finetuning his skills and vision. He is also still very much in love with that hardest of stones.

“I was immediately taken by the visual energy of granite. It is much, much harder than marble and sandstone and different tools and skills are required for granite. If one can work granite, one can work in any stone.” Luke describes his love affair with granite.

“The most challenging part is how to technically work the stone. Once one knows how to do that then there is far fewer limitations on what can be done artistically. I have worked in marble and sandstone many times and although they are nice materials and comparatively easy to work, I much prefer the hardness and visual strength of granite. It has much more depth, many more contrasting textures and finishes are attainable than with other stones.”

After a whirlwind of a year in 2015, this year Luke is focusing his mind and art on the two largest sculpture symposiums in Australia; Adelaide Hills International Sculpture Symposium and the 2016 Griffith International Centenary Sculpture symposium. He will once again participate and manage the Adelaide Hills International Sculpture Festival, this year for the third and last time. The Sculpture Symposium in Griffith is the flagship event of the towns Centenary celebrations and Luke was appointed to oversee and manage the event.
“Luke is an impressive young sculptor with a diverse and broad background in the field and we are delighted to have him aboard this,” the Griffith Mayor John Dal Broi had to say of our local talent.

“This is the first time the city has embarked on an Arts Sculpture project of this scale … and with a sculptor of Luke’s calibre leading the way, we are set for success.”

So the world and the rest of the country gets to enjoy Luke’s work, but there is plenty of Luke Zwolsman’s art closer to home as well. The sculptor has regularly participated in Swell Sculpture Festival as well as sculpted numerous commissioned pieces around the city.

“Many of my works have been commissioned and purchased privately so [they] stand in private residences or in the foyers of high rise apartments… However I have public works at the Southport Broadwater Parklands, in Nerang , the Radisson International Hotel and a piece in the Griffith University Hospital.”

Take yourself for a sculpture trail around the city and spot a Luke Zwolsman original. Be amazed by the local talent, mesmerized by the city’s public art and be a proud supporter of the local culture!

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