In Conversation With: Roland Nancarrow

Heroing the tropical flora of Queensland, Roland Nancarrow turns his observation of birds into captivating sculptures.

Tell us a little bit about your art.

I work in the areas of sculpture, painting, drawing and public art. My main area of practice over recent years has concentrated on wall sculptures featuring local bird species. These works are a synthesis of abstracted habitat and observation.

Can you recall when you first began to create art?

I have always drawn from a young age, but it was during a trip to Europe and the United Kingdom in my twenties that I decided to toss in my bank job and enrol in art college. Now I have a Fine Arts degree from the Queensland College of art and have been practising as an artist for over three decades.

Is there anything special about your studio?

I am based in inner city Cairns, with little space in my home that is not a part of my studio; the entirety of the underside of my house, adjacent covered area, and storage shed works as my studio, with all of it set in my tropical garden of rare palms collected over many decades. 

What inspires you?

My most recent inspiration for the bird sculptures comes from observation of bird species in my garden, local parks, botanical gardens, and the Cairns Esplanade. Much of the integrated background motifs come from observation of forms from my tropical garden.

What have you been working on recently?

I have exhibited three solo shows in Cairns and Japan over the past twelve months of mainly bird sculptures, so for a break I have been working on figurative paintings until I am ready again for the dusty, sweaty work of sculpture making. 

What is your dream artistic project?

I would love to work on a large-scale installation that really brings to life my wall sculptures and paintings.

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