Rush on to be ready for swell time

WITH less than three weeks until the launch of the 2009 Swell Sculpture Festival, artist David Walsh knows he'd better get a move-on.

For the past month, the Tweed artist has spent seven days a week working on his piece for the renowned Currumbin Beach festival, but says it's still far from finished.

Mr Walsh's piece for this year's event, Urban Native, is still in pieces on the floor of his Tweed Heads South workshop.

And there is one section he hasn't even started yet, so the pressure is on.

“I actually made it in 2007 for Sculpture by the Sea in Sydney,” Mr Walsh said of his piece.

“It has also been down in the Hunter (Valley) for Sculpture in the Vineyard.

“It was called Metropolis, but I'm making a stainless steel figure to go with it and calling it Urban Native.”

When the sculpture is complete, it will consist of timber and stainless steel and will stand four metres.

“It's hard work,” Mr Walsh said.

“It's very physical. But it's very satisfying to see the end result.”

This year's seventh Swell Festival, beginning on September 11, will feature 52 outdoor sculptures.

Mr Walsh prefers the atmosphere of Swell to other sculpture shows he has been involved with.

“It's a pretty big deal,” he said of the event. It's local and it's of a high-calibre. It's a bigger deal than most of the other ones.

“You get really good exposure from it and you sort of become attached because you know the people.

“With Swell it's also a shorter period of time, so it's more intense.”

Mr Walsh has featured in the renowned Gold Coast sculpture festival for the past four years.

“The big thrill for me is the installation day, when you get to see what everybody else has done, from the bizarre to the incredible,” he said.

Mr Walsh has even been known to visit the event to listen to what the spectators have to say about his work. “It's really interesting,” he said.

“Some people really get what you are trying to do, while others just look at it as a visual thing.”

The beachfront festival, which runs until September 20, will also feature twilight sculpture walks, artists' talks, children's workshops, weekend barbecues and a free shuttle bus.

Watching the Swell • When: September 11-20 • Where: Currumbin Beach • Featuring: 52 outdoor sculptures, twilight sculpture walks, artists' talks and a public art forum. • For more details

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