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Mental Health Awareness Celebrated on Canvas as Art Takes Centre Stage

Five leading Queensland artists in Sean Leahy, Matt Stewart, Tracey Keller, Tracey Eaton and Denise Proud have dedicated their time, art and heart to work with five emerging artists touched by mental health challenges in Anglicare’s award-winning mental health awareness campaign, Arts&Minds 2018.

These five leading artists represent a cross-spectrum of artistic style, from social commentary-inspired pop-art, to fine and indigenous art; each has volunteered their time and talent to work with their paired artist.

The five gifted emerging artists are Ipswich-based Ailsa Walsh, the Gold Coast’s Samuel Dunn, Marie Robertson from Brisbane, Woombye’s Liz Pepper and Spectator Jonze from Eight Mile Plains in Brisbane, were selected from more than 400 artists who applied to be a part of Arts&Minds 2018.

Ten incredible artwork canvases have been created by these 10 artists, each created and filmed for a unique web series over an eight-hour period in the Bromley Room at West End. The paired artists worked at the same time, and to the same brief to create their pieces, with conversation flowing and connections made, confidence transferred, and friendships forged. Web series premieres on Monday April 16 via and you can have your say live via goa billboards.

On May 31 a gala event will be held at the stunning 480 Queen Street to celebrate and auction the artwork and raise funds for Anglicare programs.

The artist pairings were (bios below):

  • Samuel Dunn with established artist Sean Leahy

  • Spectator Jonze with established artist Matt Stewart

  • Liz Pepper with established artist Tracie Eaton

  • Marie Robertson with established artist Tracey Keller

  • Ailsa Walsh with established artist Denise Proud

Brisbane-based contemporary fine artist Matt Stewart, who has works hanging in private collections around the world, said he had absolutely no hesitation when approach to be part of Arts&Minds.

“It was an immediate YES from me! What a creative and thoughtful way of raising awareness for what is mostly looked upon as a ‘taboo’ subject in society today,” he said. “If we start these conversations around mental health and awareness by utilising an interesting and common medium, then all the better. This universal language of colour, shapes and for some people, their release from this illness, smartly brings us together for these conversations.”

“The possibilities of what this project can create if expanded into different fields and interests is extraordinary and I do hope that this is really the start of something worthwhile in society that will help raise awareness of this health issue.”

Arts&Minds is Anglicare Southern Queensland’s dedicated campaign to increase the public conversation about mental health. Anglicare believe more transparent and open dialogue about mental health will remove fear and help more Queenslanders talk and seek help when they need it. Anglicare Executive Director Karen Crouch said Anglicare is incredibly proud of Arts&Minds and the platform it provides in supporting the conversation around mental health in the community.

Meet Arts&Minds ESTABLISHED Artists

Sean Leahy – Brisbane

Sean Leahy is the political cartoonist for The Courier-Mail in Brisbane; he is known around the world with origins of his cartoons included in private collections ranging from Steven Spielberg to the Vatican. He began his cartooning career while still at high school and soon became the youngest metropolitan daily political cartoonist in Australia. He was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Trust Award to study animation in the US in 1982. In 1983, after 7 years on The West Australian he joined The Daily Sun and the Courier-Mail in Brisbane. From 1993 to 2004 he was a regular cartoonist for the Australian edition of TIME magazine. Nationally his work has featured in The Australian and The Bulletin magazine. His cartoons continue to appear in over 150 publications internationally including such papers as The Times of London and The International Herald-Tribune.

Matt Stewart – New Farm, Brisbane

Matt Stewart is a contemporary fine artist based in Brisbane, Australia and produces canvas artworks, large scale murals and limited-edition Art Prints. Bright pops of colour, combined with detailed brush work is what you’ll find in Matt’s artworks. His use of aerosol and acrylic paint, see his individual style described as: pop-art with a street-art edge. His large-scale canvas artworks have collectors in Australia, the UK and North-America and both his private and corporate mural productions have a waiting list of clients, eager for him to transform their space. His works have also caught the eye of many a multi-national company who have come to use his skills for specific artwork projects. Think…. Disney, Cirque du Soleil, BMW, Coca Cola and the list goes on! @mattstewartcreative

Tracey Keller – Noosa, Queensland

Born, raised and based in Queensland, Australia, Tracey is a passionate adventurer and nature enthusiast – both above and below sea level. Working with an aesthetic that varies from hyperrealism to her own brand of quirky impressionism, Tracey creates comic and endearing portraits of animals. He foray into the art world commenced in 1999 with a sellout debut solo show. She now has collections throughout Australia, Japan, France, Scotland, UK, USA, Dubai, New York, Germany, Zurich, and South Africa. Famous for her quirky kaleidoscope animal painting, thickly layered with paint and pieces of hessian and metal, her new style has been quickly embraced by Australia’s leading art galleries and has sellout exhibitions worldwide. @traceykellerartist

Tracie Eaton – Gold Coast

Tracie Eaton is an internationally renowned artist based on the Gold Coast and creates unique acrylic and mixed media art that touches the soul. Her originals are highly sought after due to her individual and highly creative style. She uses acrylic paint as her primary medium – allowing her to create the look of water colours and oils or airbrush and pour. To add a 3D feeling to her paintings, Tracie adds anything she can – plaster, molding compounds, sand, glass, eggshells, tissue paper, twigs, twine, glitter. Her unique textured style is inspired by the textures in nature. Certified in Colour Psychology, Tracie brings a passion and understanding of colour coupled with her creative insight. “@tracieeaton

Denise Proud – The Gap, Brisbane

Denise Proud was born in Cherbourg, an Aboriginal settlement in Queensland, in Wakka-Wakka country. In 1969 Denise became the first Aboriginal kindergarten teacher in Cherbourg. Her career has given her given her the opportunity to work in remote communities around the world, and she is an admired international presenter. She has worked in correctional centres, youth detention centres, and women’s centres and has been closely involved with The University of Queensland facilitating cultural awareness. Her family are major influences in her life and more than a few of the Chambers family are well known artists. She lives at The Gap in Brisbane, Australia with her husband David and daughter Monique, where she has set up a studio and likes to paint into the small hours of the morning.

Meet Arts&Minds Emerging Artists 2018

Ailsa Walsh – Ipswich

Aboriginal Visual Artist Ailsa Walsh was first taught the art of her people at five years of age by her Uncle, and for the past 25 years she has been continuing that form as well as moving into acting, film making, script writing and photography. Her artistic journey is paralleled however by a lifetime of dealing with mental illness – last year her brother committed suicide in the community and she suffers both depression and anxiety. Ailsa paints in acrylics and is currently studying a Bachelor of Contemporary Indigenous Art at Griffith University and a health diploma. Changing perceptions about Aboriginal mental illness through her art, and inspiring Indigenous communities to celebrate their own art forms and stories is now one of her life goals. @ailsawalshartist

Liz Pepper - Woombye

Eighteen-year-old Liz Pepper is already a survivor who uses art to escape and to celebrate. She was 13 years of age when she first succumbed to chronic pain, and she now uses a wheelchair. As a result, she found school and maintaining friendships difficult, and has suffered depression, anxiety and OCD. Her story is not one of woe however; over the past few years she has redefined herself, forged new support groups and has channeled art for inspiration, excitement and incentive. Often experimental and always expressionistic, her artworks range from drawings of people with a simple ballpoint pen to acrylic to digital creations, across multiple media. Her art tells her story - she wears her heart on her sleeve and her art on her heart. @colourofoctober

Marie Robertson - Brisbane

If strength of character was an Olympic sport, Marie Robertson would be a gold medallist. Hers is a story of cyclical alcoholism – she was born into an alcoholic family and while she dreamt of going to art school, she started drinking at 13, and lived the next 25 years under the spell of alcohol. After acting on a single moment of clarity in 2009, she is now nine years sober. For the past six years, she has been painting, and thriving. Fascinated with faces from her earliest memory, Marie paints portraits and abstracts with acrylics, and holds nothing back. She is also mum to five children aged from 19 to seven years. She has never had an art lesson, and she still dreams of going to Art School. Facebook: MarieRobertsonPortraitArt

Samuel Dunn - Gold Coast

A standout talent, Samuel Dunn’s art is tongue-in-cheek, pop-art with a twist of nostalgia, focusing on consumerism and capitalism. He works with pencil and technical pens, as well as digital platforms and experiments with print making. His first mental health challenge came after he graduated Graphic Design studies at University in 2014 – it was a bout of depression which spiralled for months. While he studied Honours, he worked on managing his depression, developing ways to avoid negative thought processes; and art remains a large part of this. Samuel works as an illustrator, artist and mural creator. Remember his name, it will one day be up in lights. @samjohndone

Spectator Jonze – Eight Mile Plains

Born in Japan to a Taiwanese mother and an Australian father, artist Spectator Jonze moved to Brisbane when she was seven. She grew up in many different situations - not quite an orphan, not quite belonging anywhere; this meant she was often subject to demons, which pushed her into the safety of PTSD where suppression, depression and disassociation became a survival tactic. At 25 she tackled her mental health – and art became a vital medium for her. Her works of art now bring mental health to light by depicting individual battles using a colourful, comedic displays of imperfectly perfect beauty. She has been painting and illustrating for 10 years and has no professional training. @spectatorjonze @deenamusic

Mental health is a hidden problem and each year one in five Australians are affected. There are more than 2,000 suicides and 65,300 suicide attempts every year and one million people in Australia live with depression. Anglicare Southern Queensland is a not-for-profit organisation committed to providing support services to vulnerable members of the community. Dating back to 1870, Anglicare are one of Queensland’s most experienced care providers.


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