We are proud to present Joseph Rolella’s latest exhibition and cordially invite you and your guest to join us as we celebrate his show. Please contact us at the gallery with any enquiries. Continue reading
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University Science Degree
First brush with art
I vaguely remember the first time I thought anything to do with art was cool. I was probably 6 or 7 years old and I was watching Rolf Harris painting on a children’s show with a large brush, I thought it was amazing and wanted to paint like Rolf.
The Sydney Royal Easter Show had an art exhibition and way back when I was a kid it was considered a pretty big deal. So my parents entered one of my paintings in it. My mum can’t remember exactly how old I was, she thinks I was about 9 or 10 years old when the painting got exhibited. It looked like a bad Pro Hart painting with a little house and some gum trees but I thought it was pretty good. For a couple of years following I was exhibited at the Easter Show.
At about 13 or 14 years of age I became obsessed with sailing boats. I still painted but not very regularly. I spent every possible moment either sailing or in the old mans garage building boats with resin, fibre glass and carbon fibre. I managed to design and build a couple of State and National Title winning boats although usually they won with someone else sailing them!
Giving up painting
After high school I went to Uni and got myself a Science Degree. Don’t tell anyone though, it would be bad for my rep, but yep I’m a bit of a science nerd. Between studying, racing and building sail boats the painting and dreams of being an artist disappeared.
I worked in a Ski shop to help pay for my way through Uni and while I was there the Head Ski Technician was “The Master” and I was “The Grasshopper” (from the classic 1970’s TV show Kungfu) and the nickname stuck and I’ve been Grassi ever since.
After finishing Uni, I got an office job and quickly realised I hated it. Driving into the city in traffic each day to sit in front of a computer was not for me. So in less than a year I quit and took off, with a mate, to work in the snow for a season. We became lift operators (lifties) at Perisher Blue and for the first three seasons it’s hard to remember much.
When you’re a Lifty there’s plenty of time to slack off and do nothing. It gets boring, so to fill in time I would entertain myself building snow sculptures next to the lift I was working. This quickly expanded and escalated into a full time gig and I became a professional snow sculptor.
Return to painting
It’s a funny thing when you get badly hurt, it can change the way you look at things and in my case it reminded me how much I enjoyed painting. I had a bit of an incident involving some crowd surfing at a rock concert, a metal hand rail, my back and some enthusiastic security guards. Anyway after I got out of hospital I was a bit immobile so I found my old paints and started painting again. Somehow I had become better at painting and could paint whatever I wanted.
After recovering I took off to Canada to chase after a girl (now my wife). We spent the winter over there just snowboarding and skiing almost every day. My Mum rang me out of the blue one evening and asked me how much I wanted for some of the paintings I did while recovering. I didn’t care but she ended up selling them to a lady who had only seen photos of them. That was great, it paid for us to fly down to America and go to Disneyland
Another Lucky Break
Back in Australia and dirt poor, I decided to give the dream of becoming a professional artist a bit of a crack. I took some paintings, walked in off the street to the Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery (TVH) in Sydney and showed them. Now normally they would have told me to go away and come back with an appointment and some professionalism but luckily for me Trevor, the gallery’s owner, spotted something he liked about my paintings. They also needed a labourer to help move a large travelling exhibition they were running and I needed a job. So they showed my paintings and gave me a job.
Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery quickly sold every painting I had. So they sacked me as a labourer and told me to go away and paint. Hey presto I became a professional artist while still in my early twenties.
At the moment I am probably most influenced by a large list of Australian artists. Various aspects from John Glover, Arthur Boyd, Brett Whiteley, Jeffrey Smart, William Robinson, Jason Benjamin, John Olsen, Tim Storrier, Margaret Woodward, John Earle and of course Rolf Harris currently capture my interest and inspire me to paint. I mainly focus on painting Australian landscapes – from spacious country fields to perfect surfing beaches and everything in between.
While my current style tends to focus on landscapes in a cross between surreal, naïve and realism, I do keep a keen eye on developments in modern art across the globe and the likes of Jeff Koons, Chris Ofili and Damien Hirst all spike my interest. I have produced some abstract artworks using carbon fibre, Kevlar and metallic automotive paint inspired by these artists and I built a Damien Hirst inspired snow sculpture at Thredbo in 2008 so I do depart occasionally from landscapes.
That’s the beauty of art in this current time I can do whatever I’m influenced by at that particular moment and whatever I find pleasing. I like to think that all the art styles and techniques from the last few hundred years are like tools in a great big shed that I can choose to pull down and use in any way I want.
2012 Landscape Group Show with Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery
2011 ‘Gosford regional art Prize’ Gosford Regional Gallery NSW
2011 ‘Sydney Art Show’ Darling Harbour with Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery
2011 ‘Drawing Connections’ Siena Art Institute Siena Italy
2011 ‘Elements of Australia’ Redsea Gallery Brisbane Qld
2010 ‘Landscapes’ Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery
2009 ‘Grassi Paintings’ Aarwun Gallery Canberra
2009 ‘Nilsson Family Fund charity auction’ Sotheby’s Melbourne
2009 ‘Clouds Coast and Country’ Delshan Gallery
2008 ‘Brisbane Art Fair’ with TVH Gallery
2008 ‘Sydney Art Fair’ with TVH Gallery
2007 ‘Andrew GRASSI Kelaher’ Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery
2006 ‘Lazy Days Afternoon Haze’ Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery
2005 ‘Sydney Art Fair’ Fox Studios with Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery
2005 ‘Sweet Summertime’ Delshan Gallery Melbourne
2004 ‘Cruising the Coast – Wandering the Waterways’ Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery
2004 ‘Melbourne Art Fair’ with Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery
2003 ‘Sydney Art Fair’ with Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery
2003 ‘Group Exhibition’ Manyung Gallery, VIC
2003 ‘Summer, Surf and Sailing’ Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery
2003 ‘Solo Exhibition at the AMP Centre’ Circular Quay
2001 ‘Checking Out the Scenery’ Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery
2011 ‘Ripcurl Freeride Throw Down’ channel 10 sports tonight
2011 ‘V8 Supercars Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 Launch’ channel 7
2011 ‘Toyota One Hit Wonder’ Channel 9
2010 ‘Sportsline Sky News’ Live cross from Thredbo ski resort
2010 ‘Weather Channel’ commercial
2009 ‘Sports Tonight’ Channel Ten Rip Curl Freeride series
2008 Sculpture and artist featured in a commercial opening Warren Miller Ski Movie
2007 Fuel TV
2006 ‘Today Show’ Live from the Newport Arms Hotel Channel 9
2005 MTV Music Television
2005 Boost Mobile Million Dollar Draw Live on The Today Show Channel 9
2005 ‘Footy Show’ Sydney Channel 9
2005 ‘Today Show’ Live from Perisher Blue Channel 9
2005 Wild Winter Weekend Channel 9
2005 ‘Today Show’ Live from Newport Arms Hotel Channel 9
2005 ‘Hot Source TV’ Channel 9, interview
2005 ‘Cactus Garden TV’ Ten Network, interview
2004 ‘Footy Show’ Sydney Channel 9
2003 TV1 Commercial, Artist building snow sculpture in fast-forward
2003 Fox Sport Channel, Sculpture used in live broadcast
2003 ‘Today Show’ Channel 9, interview
2003 ‘Today Show’ Channel 9, charity snow sculpture
2003 ‘Footy Show’ Sydney Channel 9
2002 ‘The Weather Channel’ Foxtel, interview
2002 ‘Perisher Blue’ features on commercial
2002 ‘Footy Show’ Sydney Channel 9
2001 ‘Perisher Blue’ features on commercial
2001 ‘Footy Show’ Sydney Channel 9
2000 ‘Today Show’ Channel 9
2000 ‘Big Breakfast Show’ Channel 9, interview
2000 Channel 7 News and weather, Olympic snow sculpture and live broadcast
2000 ‘Hi-5’ snow video
2004 Northern Beaches FM 90.3, interview
2003 2HD Newcastle, interview
2003 2SM Sydney, interview
2003 Snowy Mountains 2XL, interview
2001 FM 96.9 Newcastle, interview
2000 FM 96.9 Newcastle, interview
2011 Finalist ‘Gosford Regional Art Prize’ Gosford Regional Art Gallery NSW
2011 Exhibited “Drawing Connections’ Siena Art institute, Siena Italy
2005 Canberra Art Prize – finalist
2002 Year of the Mountains Art Prize – Winner – Contemporary section
2000 Top of Australia Art Prize – Highly Commended
2000 Lloyd Rees Memorial Youth Art Award – Highly Commended
Thredbo Ski resort
Coca Cola Amatil
SC Johnson Wax (Sponsor of the Lloyd Rees Youth Art Award)
Australian National Retailers Association
New South Wales Chamber of Commerce
Harvey Galleries cordially invite you and your guest to join us, Andrew ‘Grassi’ Kelaher and Stewart Westle to unveil their exhibition at our gallery. Continue reading
Harvey Galleries cordially invite you and your guest to join us for a group exhibition featuring: Bruce Earles, Ken Knight, Herman Pekel and Andrew ‘Grassi’ Kelaher. Continue reading
Harvey Galleries cordially invite you and your guest to join us, Andrew ‘Grassi’ Kelaher and Stewart Westle to unveil their group exhibition. Continue reading
“Landscape, happiness and colour are the main focus of this exhibition. I wanted to tie these things together and create paintings purely for optical enjoyment… Continue reading
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Harvey Galleries was founded by the Harvey family in 1994 with an eye to establish a dynamic and inclusive contemporary art space on the North Shore of Sydney. For almost three decades we have expanded our reach to over three gallery locations and an ever expanding stable of the best artists Australia has to offer.
Harvey Galleries acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands upon which our galleries stand. The Guringai people (Seaforth), the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation (Sydney), and the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation (Melbourne).
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