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ART SOCIAL

Updated: Nov 28, 2023



Sun, sea, surf… the Gold Coast is famous for many things, but not historically its art scene. Mint Art House - a collective of creatives - is helping to change the Glitter Strip’s reputation.


By Josie Sargent


It may be the last in a row of warehouses but stepping through the doors of shed number 5 is like discovering a secret portal. This is Mint Art House where 14 creatives have sliced up the floorspace into mini studios in Burleigh Heads. At its mouth stands a white-walled gallery space bordered on one side by a large wooden bar; and overhead a large oil painting depicts the resident artists in party mode.

Formed in 2019, the “Minties” are a motley crew of creatives that form part of a Gold Coast art scene that is quickly gaining pace and recognition. “I finally felt like there was a community of people like me,” says co-administer and resident Camille Manley on discovering Mint. “As an artist it can be a little bit of a solo or lonely venture, but in a space like this, it’s a collaborative environment. So many good ideas have been born just through having chats with each other. [We’re] stronger together.”

The artists all chip in for rent, then use the shared gallery space to put on shows or to host workshops for the public, ranging from children’s workshops to life drawing sessions, as well as a Saturday gift shop. Plus, unlike your typical art gallery, visitors are invited to walk through the bowels of Mint to see the works in progress. “We didn’t realise people would want to see our studios,” Camille says with a laugh. “But wandering around the back you can have a look through Steve’s stash of oil paintings or all of Shmick’s spray paints, it’s fun to see how different people work.”


The artists at Mint are at various stages of their careers - from emerging to established - and Camille says it is very democratic. “No one person is in charge,” she says. “And what I love about it is there’s this sense that you don’t have to leave the Gold Coast to become successful. Something like Mint is an important cog in the wheel of allowing artists to live where they love, and still be successful.”


Ultimately, Camille says, Mint is there to celebrate the Gold Coast, its creatives and the art scene. “We’ve got some amazing artists on the Gold Coast,” she says. “We have this part of the city that is more diverse – the Gold Coast can be more than just surfing, shopping and theme parks.” @camillemanley_art


STEVE GORMAN - Oil painter

Numbats, phone boxes, carparks, pubs and cows – Steve Gorman (48) has a rather eclectic subject selection. But one constant theme is his long-standing love for the Glitter Strip. Predominately self-taught – using “mum’s oil paints” – the Dean Cogle portrait prize winner (2023) seeks to capture the drama and poetry in suburban Burleigh, often at night and in heavy shadow: a moonlit carpark, a Holden mid-burnout, a moody pub portrait. It is also Steve’s painting of his fellow Minties that proudly hangs above the bar - a celebration of friendship and the collective. “It is rare to get that many people in the same place and to all get along famously,” says Steve. “It’s fun, and you just want to turn up… which is the biggest hurdle in painting.” @gormanism

EMILY ROSE HASTIE - Pyrographer

Emily Rose Hastie (31) has an unusual practice. Instead of canvas or papyrus, she prefers to scorch her works straight into natural timbers, working with everything from chopping boards to giant single fins and wooden bird’s eggs. Using an electrified wood-burning iron, her pyrography paintings are inspired by local flora and fauna and her hometown coastline. Recently, Emily created larger-scale installations for SWELL Sculpture Festival including a 1.4m egg (A New Dawn, 2023), and a 2.6m-high surfboard fin (Ne Plus Ultra) – the latter earning her top honours for both the Emerging Artist and People’s Choice awards in 2022. So, what does she love about Mint? “It’s become a family,” says the founding member. “Mint is about connection, and there’s a definite communal energy that’s imbibed in the place. People feel the synergy when they come in from the outside, it’s something special”.


RICHARD SCOTT - Illustrator

A self-confessed blow-in, the London-raised artist Richard Scott (41) now calls the Gold Coast home. In a sea of surfies and tradies, Richard struggled at first to find his people. His first visit to Mint was to take in an exhibition. “I was really impressed,” he says, “it was a proper hub and a real eye-opener because I was just sketching up at home, alone, when the kids were asleep.” Answering a call out for a new artist to join the collective, Richard was minted a Mintie in 2020. And from there things started to come together, with those sketchbooks turned into a solo show (Idle Hands), along with pieces in Currumbin’s SWELL Sculpture Festival (with the giant golf ball Fore!) and the Surface Street Art Festival in Miami. Today, the Gold Coast herself is his main muse. “When I got here, I became interested in the history of the city and the coast,” he says “and I realised that the best parts weren’t being celebrated.” Through his paintings and pen and ink illustrations, Richard looks to champion the coast today, using them as a way to understand and pay homage to his new home.


Mint Art House, 5/87 West Burleigh Road, Burleigh Heads @mintarthouse



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