Steve Nowland, visual artist

I really dislike computers so I tend to start each piece with ink or a pencil and just see where it takes me …

When most people see a blank wall, they see a blank wall. When artist Steve Nowland looks at that same blank wall, he sees infinite possibility. Steve recently transformed a blank wall at Chevron Renaissance into a beautiful piece of public art for all to admire as part of Chevron; Illustrated. Combining a variety of organic and digital mediums, Steve Nowland’s work borrows inspiration from all forms of art, typography, music, film and photography. Steve recently caught up with The Weekend Edition Gold Coast to chat about 90s skate punk and his ingrained hatred for technology.

What influences and inspires your work?
I’ve always been inspired by music – from 1990s skate punk in my early teens to hip hop, metal and even 1950s and 1960s jazz. The art that was born out of those scenes I find particularly engaging. I draw a lot of inspiration from my daily surroundings; art, nature, fashion, books, animals, people, film, print, signwriting, typography, design … Life really.

Your work tends to blur the line between illustration and digital design to create a kind of hybrid. How would you describe your style of art?
As much as I’ve enjoyed my career in graphic design over the last 15 years, and as much as I love what can be achieved digitally, I really just dislike computers, plus I love making a mess so I tend to, at the very least, start each job/piece with ink or a pencil and just see where it takes me.

What’s the first piece of art you can remember making?
I’m pretty sure it had something to do with ninjas and turtles.

You recently completed a large-scale artwork at Chevron Renaissance as part of Chevron; Illustrated, what are some of the challenges involved with live work?
For Chevron; Illustrated, a huge (and somewhat unforgiving) challenge was thrown at me in the form of the sun. I was a stuttering, sweaty mess for a good part of the day, plus the paint was drying faster than I could get it on the board. So I had to change up the design I had in mind and get a little looser. But I had lots of fun.

Where would you most love to see your work displayed?
Hopefully in the homes of the people it inspires.

You’ve already achieved so much in your career and life, what are you most proud of?
Looking back over the many years I’ve spent in the advertising, print, fashion and art worlds – I’d say the biggest pride I could take out of it is actually the amazing and talented people I’ve met and worked alongside. That, and the fun I’ve had doing what I love and making a career out of it.

Are there any local creative folk you’ve got your eye on?
Gold Coast locals and legends, Claudio Kirac, Kiel Tillman and Loretta Lizzio, they are all stylistically diverse, yet still three of my favourite artists after so many years. Fresh design blood like the fellas at 4040 Creative are putting out some great work, and organising some awesome events at the moment too which is very exciting.

If you were to take a visitor on an arts tour of the Gold Coast, where would stop?
Miami Marketta and Dust Temple are probably my favourite arty destinations. But there are so many new places popping up that I’m constantly stumbling into new gems.

What’s your idea of complete happiness?
Some space to breathe and create (whether it be music or art) and quality time with the girl, pup, family and mates.

Are you working on anything exciting right now?
I’m currently drawing up some designs for my own little ethically sourced fashion brand as well as planning an exhibition to raise funds for the Sunshine Coast Save a Cow sanctuaries. Both are still in very early stages of planning but something I feel passionate about and am very much looking forward to getting stuck in to.

Perk up … The Miller’s Hand in Mudgeeraba (Great coffee & local art).
Relax … Walking the pup on the beach.
Dine … At home (lucky for those who have an amazing raw chef for a wifey) – otherwise Mandala Organic Arts Cafe or Greenhouse Factory.
Be inspired … Just living.


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