This month you only have to knock on the door of creativity and you will be welcomed inside. The people waiting to beckon you in are a group of Sunshine Coast artists who are leading you into their places of inspiration, the spaces where ideas are birthed, nurtured and moulded into life. In other words, the artist’s studio, the place where a splosh of paint is appreciated and interpreted, a blank canvas is viewed as a challenge, a vision and vessel of potential fortune.
Artist’s studios are rarely places where minimalism rules. Rather, they are full of sketches and scribbles, wood and clay, palettes and easels. In some studios the digital world has been embraced and in there, you will find another world of codes and keys, screens and mice. It’s different and it’s surprising and it’s all part of the big picture of art-making.
Open Studios president Richard Muldoon is among the Arts Connect (the umbrella group underpinning Open Studios) group members who are responsible for the launch of the 2021 fresh and invigorated Open Studio trail weekends event. Together, this group including open studios co-ordinator Toni Eggleston examined past events, looked at other successful events – particularly Noosa Open Studios – put it all together and used the rich output to revitalise the popular event. The number of art studios registered proves the latest iteration of Open Studios has met with local art practioners’ approval.
“We thought it would be good to get 50 – but we have 60 studios and some galleries taking part,” Mr Muldoon says.
“It’s a huge turnout.”
The inaugural event was masterminded by Arts Connect, a team of artists who teamed up in 2007 to support artists with opportunities such as shows, workshops and social events.
Open Studios was originally designed to complement the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Festival of Walks 2010. Last year, it stretched its artistic wings and in 2021 has re-emerged as Open Studio Sunshine Coast, garnering registrations throughout the Sunshine Coast Regional Council area from hinterland to Coastline.
Mr Muldoon is a visual artist and a professional photographer focusing on weddings. He and his family made the move from Brisbane to Maleny some four years ago and keeping his work in mind, purchased a wedding chapel and a backyard with a massive shed in it.
“We’ve made the shed into a creative hub,” he says.
Mr Muldoon says the Open Studios event meets all the goals of Arts Connect.
“We have about 120 members, he explains.
“It’s a not-for-profit group. We get a modest benefit from the $50 registration. With that, and other assistance, we can help artists attain an income, exposure and educational opportunities. We hold workshops and the annual Sculpture on the Edge at Maleny.”
Mr Muldoon praised the involvement and contributions from Sunshine Coast Regional Council.
“They’re amazing,” he says
“Council has a forward thinking, positive attitude to the arts.
“They foster the arts – between their grants and RADF we are able to launch this program.”
“But, the idea is to stand on our own feet in the next two years.”
Mr Muldoon says the $400,000 worth of art sold in the last Noosa Open Studios has benchmarked the sales figure.
“It’s sensational – I hope we can do as well,” he says.
Mr Muldoon acknowledges it’s a big job to put this together, but recognition for hard work should go to Open Studios co-ordinator Toni Eggleston.
“She’s the one who gets it all done.”
Ms Eggleston says that apart from meeting the artists, is the discovery of the artist’s studio.
“They can be anything from a backyard shed to a converted shipping container, warehouse, gallery studio or garden retreat.
“It’s wonderful to get an insight into so many of our local artists’ lives and see the huge range of creativity that brings art to life.”
Between the coast and hinterland, Arts Connect has 5000 trail guides to roll out, so there will be plenty of available information. You can pick up a copy of the event guide at visitor information centres, art galleries and local cafes and shops. The guide profiles the participating artists and studio and provides suggested art trails and maps to help plan your self-guided tour. Each gallery has flags and signage to help you find them. Visit: openstudiossunshinecoast.com.au.
Artist profile – Teresa Mundt
Enter this studio and prepare to be enveloped in a big burst of colour and happiness – Teresa Mundt style. Ms Mundt paints the things we do in our daily life and imbues them with bright layers of feelings we experience when we do the things that bring us joy.
Oh, I know that feeling, you might say to yourself as you wind through the whimsical and quirky scenes in this studio. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and it’s due to this form of communication that Ms Mundt’s work has joined the art trail.
“A friend suggested to me that I might like to register for the Open Studios event,” she says. “It was a change for me, I have opened my studio before, but I have always done things off my own bat.”
In registering for Open Studios, Ms Mundt says there have been rewards and she is pleased to connect with a network of artists and opportunities.
She says early her career background has clearly influenced her work.
“I began as a freelance cartoonist,” she says. “My work is not representational, rather a fusion of caricature and bold colour. My work explores the themes of
joy, contentment, humour and life’s simple pleasure.”
Ms Mundt will be painting in the middle of her studio, surrounded by her completed works.
Take some time, have a look, and boggle your mind with the dynamics of a drawing machine or the risographic rhythms of printmaking. The artwork of ManXMachine, as the name illustrates, originates from the combination of machine/computer/digital and human abilities he utilises to create art.
This is the first Open Studio event where ManXmachine – the alter ego of web developer and creative agency owner Wayne McFetridge – will exhibit his generative art and simultaneously operate his machines. ManXmachine describes the drawing machine as big easels with motors that move pens around the place.
“But while it’s robotic and controlled by computers – it has its own weird idiosyncrasies,” he says. These unique idiosyncrasies are what ManXMachine seeks to see, sense, and amplify.
ManXMachine explains his artistic concepts as emanating from having written code for years.
“I can control the nuances of his code as much as others control a brush or a pen yet still leave room for serendipitous occurrences from time to time.”
Glassmaker and sculptor
Wolfgang Engel and his Partner Tina Cooper have opened the Red Door Studio and Tina Cooper Glass gallery at an amazing, fully landscaped block of land in Montville, overlooking Lake Baroon. Guests can stroll through these two fantastic galleries and talk with the artists and if lucky, watch Mr Engel blow one of his glass pieces. Tina Cooper is a leading figure in Australian glass art. Open Wednesday to Sundays by appointment only.
Please call 0431 982 393.
This year Open Studios is offering you the chance to immerse yourself in workshops to learn, speak and create with the artists, who will demonstrate and share their methods, media, ideas and insights. You can try your hand at painting, paper collage, cold wax, colour mixing, macro photography, mosaics, pressed metal, mono-printing, resin, enamel jewellery making, sketching, airbrush techniques – and more. Art lovers and creators of any level, and even your kids, are welcome to get involved. More info: Openstudiossunshinecoast.com.au
- Week-long event: March 20 –28, 10am–4pm
- Over two weekends
- You can make self-guided tours to meet artists and view artistry in action, purchase art and participate in workshops
- Five days of hands-on workshops
- Approximately 60 studio participating
Arts Connect Inc. collaborates with communities, artists, industry, partners and governments to deliver premier arts events on the Sunshine Coast that realise unique art experiences.
The two major events held each year are Sculpture on the Edge and Open Studios Sunshine Coast.