During a fishing trip to North Queensland during the 1980s Bundaberg artist John Olsen gathered wooded stumps he knew would one day have a purpose.
Now almost four decades later, that timber has been turned into works of art which will be displayed in John’s upcoming exhibition From the Sea of Life.
Through his 35-year artist career John has had a focus on upcycling metal to represent environmental challenges faced by climate change.
The community will be able to follow John’s journey from a humble fisherman through to becoming one of the region’s most talented artists when they visit his exhibition at the Hazzard Gallery next month.
John said he was well-known for his work creating metal sculptures from scavenged metal tools and discarded material, and he had now returned to working with wood.
“It was a long time back when my wife, Edna, and I decided that I would bring timber home with us on our boat and the back of a ute from the far north,” John said.
“I worked with wood way back, and just kept the wood stored – I knew the old stumps had a purpose for me.
“I thought I needed a change of pace and that was how this all came about.
“It’s just a matter of working out what you want and recognising it, then pursuing it.”
John said his From the Sea of Life exhibition was made up of small-scale, marine life sculptures and he was excited to share the artwork with the local community.
Hazzard Gallery’s Marilyn Batty said this exhibition had evolved from John’s passion for saving things from ending up in landfill.
“His sculptures in timber – fish and stingrays – are pulled from his memories of his time as a professional fisherman,” she said.
“He saved timbers from the Ravenshoe area back in the days of climate change protesters and conscription.
“He brought many of the timbers back to Bundy on his boat and they have sat in his stockpile for years.
“The results are stunning.”
From the Sea of Life will open on Friday 3 February at the Hazzard Gallery.
For more information contact Marilyn on 0487 324 291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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