Local Artist Series // Bryce Flaskas
Morning mate. What have you been up to today?
Hey! Well I woke up, meditated, went for a stroll through the luscious streets of Buderim and now it appears I’m here doing an interview
Tell us a little bit about yourself? What’s your (short) story?
I’m born and bred on the Sunshine coast. Having been brought up so close to the beachfront of Alexandra Headlands, I’ve always had an affinity with the ocean ever since I can remember. I was born into a family of surfers and musicians, so have always greatly appreciated and felt a sense of solidarity within both disciplines. I can’t quite place myself in either of these categories though. I more so consider myself an artist, explorer, lover of nature/things of the world… a traditional romantic, mind the antiquated tropes and language-ings.
I’m keen to hear how you landed on the coast?
I landed up here from Melbourne about 5–6 months ago after quite a depressed and thorough series of lockdowns. I moved down there early in my adolescence with my twin brother Alex and another dear friend of ours. Between meeting my lovely partner, Lucy, in Melbourne and completing my Advanced Diploma of Visual Art I decided it was about time to ditch the city life for a small town and breathe some fresh air into my life. The sea was calling me strongly, so I chose to roam back up here.
You work closely with your brother, Alex, through Colossus Records — have you guys always been close?
Yeah definitely. We’ve been pretty close ever since bonding in our mother’s womb! Colossus is the primary platform which we collaborate through, presently, but have always complimented each other’s creative endeavours. Whether that be developing artwork/visual concepts for his band, Red Entries or vice versa collaborating on soundscapes to aide my installation practice. He’s been a constant creative companion and source of inspiration in my life.
It must be special to work closely with each other — especially during a time where people have been so distant from their loved ones. What are the moments you enjoy most, working with each other?
It’s a privilege to have someone in this life that provides an extension of creative interest. Some of the standout moments are hard to define, but I would say it’s overall a positive, expansive experience discussing and getting excited about possible avenues and creative directions.
What’s the deal with Colossus Records? How was it born?
Colossus was formed by Alex close to the end of 2018 as an independent record label primarily operating on the Sunshine Coast. Aiden Baxter, Pete JVR, Michael Ufer and I followed closely after. We started branching into the Brisbane scene early to mid 2019 doing frequent shows mostly orbiting around Alex and Michaels band at the time Red Entries. At the moment, we’re starting to do national gigs — our first Melbourne gig happened at the end of last month — and we’ve got plenty more in the works, yeeehaw!
Are there any gigs, or releases, coming up that we can look forward to?
Well I’m not meant to share specifics, but I’ll say that we’re currently planning something big for Colossus’s 4th birthday in August, so stay tuned for that. Also in the works is a Colossus collective — we’re branching out into the art scene and providing emerging artists with a platform to voice their work and define the meaningful concepts orbiting their practice that otherwise would be shrouded by commercial models of promotion.
Image: Jacob McCann
What’s your favourite music venue on the coast?
All my favourite venues have shifted down towards Brisbane these days! Probably Solbar if I had to choose one. I’m a big fan of the community specific environment. Eleven Dive Bar is another place to keep your eye on in the local scene.
Having spent some time in Melbourne and Brisbane, what do you find charming about the Sunshine Coast — from both a lifestyle and music point of view?
Well I feel like I’m viewing it from a completely different perspective now that I’m back up here! Contrasting the city environment, I have a much more profound appreciation for the land. The music/art scene has a space and penetrability that I really love and find exciting, especially as an emerging creator.
I really love your collage work. Is this something you have always been into?
Thanks! Collage was the primary medium I was drawn to when I considered starting a serious independent arts practice. I think I’m very interested in the idea of layering media and how you can communicate contrasting sense impressions through the interpolation of multiple mediums. I can still see early motifs and collagical symbols trickle into the work I do today.
How has your work evolved over the years?
It’s an interesting question because the work has no grounding or stability without the guiding concept or intent behind it. My ideologies, values, and way I navigate the world can greatly alter over the course of a year. Therefore, the impetus of the work is forever in a state of flux. This is something I welcome and recognise as a characteristic of practice. A recurring notion prevalent in my practice, at present, is understanding art as a means for societal unification and personal self-discovery — which is my lived experience of art as well. This has the potential to shift as my understanding of art and arts practice moves in different directions.
What inspires your work and how important is having a theme to it?
My work is inspired by the environment I live and the things I surround myself with! Some figures that really inspire my work are people like Carolee Schneeman, Roni Horn and Jefferey Cheung — and movements like Situationism and also Surrealism in a broad sense. I don’t think having a theme is necessary at all because the work is coloured by our life experiences and circumstances. So, when another is engaging with my work they’re also engaging with my reality.
Onto less work-related things: how do you like to spend your free days?
My free time is dedicated to my meditation practice and exploring the beautiful lands of the Sunshine Coast — going for hikes, surfing, and free diving, etc. Also, I think it’s really sustaining for me to connect to diverse communities of people up here, which I’ve been trying to do as much as possible.
Was there a defining moment in your life that made you think that you were on the right path?
Yes! It was when I moved down the Gold Coast for a period in my life studying International Business, of all things. I was going to a private art school and painting in my spare time while studying down there. Eventually painting started consuming more and more of my study time until I realised “well painting seems really natural and fun for me” and fully shifted my attention to my art. I moved back home and have been increasingly interested in making art ever since.
What three artists are exciting you most on the coast right now?
In no particular order and among many others!
Finally, what’s next for Bryce Flaskas?
I’m planning to go back to studying next year but for the time being I’ll be focusing on developing, and forming, a Colossus Artist Collective; expanding the installation based and the performatively informed aspect of my practice; and narrowing down on some curatorial work I’m currently involved with!