Earlier this year, 22 Gold Coast artists and musicians were announced as successful recipients of Queensland Government stART Grant funding through Placemakers* Gold Coast and QMusic.
One of those artists was Thea Skelsey, who describes her practice as the result of years of trying to stuff a creative square peg into the confines of a corporate round hole.
“My experience stems from working as a Graphic Designer for marketing, PR, and travel companies, to running away to foreign countries such as The Netherlands, Argentina and Mexico,” says Thea.
“What resulted was a crippling need to create in abundance, for myself, and an aesthetic inspired by my home on the Gold Coast, culture, language, and design.”
Through the use of acrylic and material, Thea’s work portrays feelings that words cannot describe; like the pressure of breathing deeply, or the uncertainty of traveling in foreign countries.
The grant funding will see her embark upon a new body of work – a series of quilt-like wall hangings influenced by the tradition of many cultures which have etched their stories into the earth.
“Each will depict a story of our current time and place, using symbolism and colour,” Thea explains.
“The support the government and Placemakers* has been able to provide the Gold Coast creative industry brings us back up to where we were prior to the pandemic,” she continues.
“The Gold Coast is becoming an essential hub for creatives in SEQ. The support we receive from organisations such as Placemakers* and HOTA, goes directly towards representing the diversity of our culture on the Gold Coast.”
For Thea, it has given her the space needed to conceptualise a new direction.
“There is a moment of free-fall when stepping away from what work my audience expects from me, and the direction I want to explore next to expand my practice further.”