Artists Profiles

Kimberley Green – Ceramics Assistant

Since 2010, Kim has been sculpting a rewarding career as a Ceramics Assistant at Monte Lupo Arts.

Someone first spotted a creative streak in Kim during work experience and pointed her in the direction of an art therapy course. Kim soon discovered what she describes as ‘the bit that was missing’. It was a challenging start for Kim in her new role at Monte Lupo, overcoming poor motor skills, while developing her love for pottery. This required manipulating clay to sculpt and carve a large variety of shapes by hand and is a skill that has changed Kim’s life.

“Some days you come in and your hands just don’t want to work – so long as you get the job done, that’s all that matters.”

Peter Hughes – Artist

Peter’s incredible designs have been picked up by art galleries around the world, thanks to an agreement between Monte Lupo and Access Arts.

As a self-taught artist, Peter’s pottery and canvas creations represent his own personal style and build on his passion for hand drawn caricatures with life-like colours. People with autism can be withdrawn by nature. Peter on the other hand, reveals his friendly and outgoing nature to all through his art. People feature prominently in his designs which often highlights current events or Christian icons. Peter often includes neatly written words and phrases in his pieces – a unique ability discovered during his early childhood. Whilst speaking can be a challenge, Peter enjoys talking through art and enjoys the social opportunities that his occupation creates.

His confidence continues to grow, with 13 paintings sold to the London Museum in 2011 as part of an exhibition for self-taught artists. In fact, paintings by Peter Hughes have graced galleries in New York, Washington DC, the JFK Centre for Arts and Europe.

Saki Yamaoka – Barista & Decorating Assistant

Saki is a sculptor with a flair for crafting decorative statues of cats and women in stylised forms.

Born in Japan during an era when organ transplants were outlawed, Saki was a baby who required a lifesaving organ transplant. Her mother flew her around the world to a hospital in Brisbane to receive the surgery. The procedure was successful until a blood clot caused a crippling stroke. Determined to overcome this, Saki committed herself to challenging and painful physiotherapy in order to learn how to walk, talk and use her hands again. Her hard work paid off and she found herself accepting a position of Decorating Assistant at Monte Lupo Arts.

Working with her hands helped Saki overcome difficulties with fine motor control and she gained enormous happiness out of meeting with admirers of her work. Today, she is conquering a whole new set of skills in hospitality as a very capable barista behind the counter of Eight Mile Plains Monte Lupo Art Gallery Café.

Fiona Bell – Decorating Assistant

Fiona has worked as a Decorating Assistant at Monte Lupo since 2004 and is known for her brightly coloured and boldly patterned style.

As a sensitive but celebrated member of Monte Lupo, Fiona has found her calling as a successful artist with Autism. Stripes and bold red and white colours reveal the artist behind those unique decorative designs. With her talented ‘Fireworks’ collection, art has enabled Fiona to share her outgoing artistic personality with the world.

As a child, Fiona steadfastly refused to eat any fruit or vegetables to the point of risking starvation. It soon became clear that fish and chips were the only foods she would tolerate. The unusual diet agreed with her, as did the offer to become an artist at Monte Lupo.

With some assistance, Fiona has overcome many challenges and today works very successfully alongside other artists. She has a talent for personalising artwork to suit an occasion and is often commissioned by friends and family for special events.

If a picture says a thousand words then the artworks of Fiona Bell have plenty to say about filling each and every day with bold and beautiful colour

Matthew Henry - Artist

Matthew joined Monte Lupo at the start of 2015 and is eager to pursue a career in creative design.

Working within the Monte Lupo team to transform colourless clay into something impressive has proved the perfect job for this talented artist. Matthew is currently busy preparing a wild new range for Monte Lupo, bringing elephants and other African creatures into the spotlight.

Drawing has always been one of Matthew’s passions, with his favourite subject being African wildlife.

“I want to keep doing great work for the shop and painting different things.”

Brett Patzwald- Artist

Brett has been drawing, painting and refining his artistic talents at the Monte Lupo art studio for more than 15 years. In his opinion, every day is a good day doing what you love. Opening the pages of his first comic book as a 12 year-old awakened Brett’s lifelong fascination with art and he has continued to sketch and paint ever since.

Brett acknowledges his sketch work is closely connected to his emotional state: “I draw from feel so if I wasn’t feeling great you’d see it in the picture. It’s a good way to get it out. It’s like when someone writes things down then screws it up and throws it away.”

Prior to joining the Monte Lupo team, Brett was enrolled at Logan TAFE (undertaking a Life Skills course) when his mum stumbled across Monte Lupo Arts.

Brett created a unique ‘bluebird’ range, involving intricate designs on a range of pottery homewares. Brett explains that completing the detailed paintwork on a pot can take up to three days, depending on the features involved.

In his own time Brett still enjoys reading graphic novels and incorporating that bold and confident linework to the shelves of Monte Lupo.

“I’ve been working on a Wren design and some Black Birds as well, which can take a long time because of the amount of detail involved.”

Nathan Peters – Ceramics Assistant

Minimal fine motor skills has not stopped Nathan from flourishing at Monte Lupo as a ceramics assistant. Twelve years on and he is a promising new talent in the area of ceramic design.

Soon after Nathan was born, it became apparent he was not developing as he should. He remembers struggling to tie his shoelaces or do up his buttons and found it frustrating to see his brothers and sisters speed ahead of him.

Enrolled in Beenleigh Special School, Nathan successfully learnt to read and write well and displayed a real flair for Mathematics. As a teenager, he dreamt of becoming a famous cricket player like Michael Hussey.

Nathan enrolled in TAFE after school and learnt all sorts of skills including landscaping, cementing and art. The opportunity to work at Monte Lupo Arts arose during this time and Nathan applied for the job. His application was successful and since then he has never looked back. He says ‘I really like the people here and I have made plenty of friends, including meeting new people through the shop.’

Nathan describes his disability as frustrating but also gains a great deal of satisfaction out of the art he helps to produce – particularly when he gets the chance to exhibit his work. When he first began work at Monte Lupo, Nathan produced a series of glazed birds which were snapped up by shoppers. The thrill of this achievement is still inspiring him every day.

Sean Davenport - Artist

An art career for Sean has been achieved the same way in which he has overcome every obstacle – with hard work and determination. A severe case of autism inhibits Sean from learning new things easily but he’s never let this hold him back. Thanks to an open door at Monte Lupo Arts, the opportunities to learn and grow keep coming.

From an early age, learning the written language was incredibly challenging for Sean. He was enrolled at Logan City School and quickly grew frustrated over being unable to read. Sean’s father watched him struggle and was inspired to find a solution. Handy with computers, he developed a unique program based on phonics and a behaviour method of teaching communication. Through characteristic determination, Sean did not give up until he understood how words came together. An ability to read and write has made all the difference. Sean now uses a mobile phone to text his family and even attained a driver’s license. After a work shift he enjoys driving around, looking at suburbs and is particularly fascinated by ‘no through’ roads. The rest of his free time is taken up by creating bush walking tracks around his family’s property, jumping on a trampoline, attending music concerts or practicing woodwork.

At school, Sean developed a passion for drawing, a skill that his parents enthusiastically encouraged. His grandmother once held a post at the Arts Council and so a job offer from Monte Lupo Arts was the perfect post-school opportunity. Sean tackles every design brief with the determination to succeed and has led to some distinctive works being sold through the Museum of Queensland and many more being scooped up by buyers in the Monte Lupo gallery cafes. Thanks to a supportive network of art mentors and plenty of hard work, Sean has found his way to a promising career.

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