Beachroad Magazine Summer Tour visits Zachary Bennett-Brook the award-winning artist, Zac was born in Wollongong Australia in 1990. Growing up always been surrounded by the water and being involved with water-based activities shaped Zacs artworks.
The ocean is ingrained within his cultural heritage and is often represented throughout many of his artworks and designs. In high school, Zac discovered his passion to paint the stories and artworks of his culture whilst combining both his surf and Indigenous cultures together. After exploring different mediums and blending his works with surf culture, for all to enjoy.
ZAC answers the Beachroad Magazine Q&A //
NAME? // Zachary Bennett-Brook.
YOUR FIRST JOB? // Sales assistant at a surf shop.
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION? // Artist and owner of Saltwater Dreamtime.
WHICH ARTISTS EXCITE YOU? // Lots of different artists, Indigenous visual artist, Artist who paint large scale murals, Tattoo artist, Photographers so pretty much all artists.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE THE ART WORLD WAS FOR YOU? // From a young age I have always been creative and enjoyed the creativity and self expression which comes with making art. But it was not until I sold my first art work and started to get commissioned I decided I could turn my art into a living and my full time job.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // Family and the ocean.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // Heights, even though I have a few murals lined up which include working at heights, I’ll have to overcome this fear pretty quickly.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // Going on a family holiday to Bali when I was really young.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // My Mum, Michelle as she is a strong proud Indigenous lady who has raised my younger sister Keziah and I on her own. She has taught as to be proud of who we are, where we come from and that we can achieve anything if we work hard.
YOUR FAVOURITE ARTIST? // A few artists including Adnate, Steen Jones, Madsteez, Jason Woodside just to name a few.
YOUR FAVOURITE GALLERY? // I don’t really have a favourite, I just like any space or gallery where sweet art is displayed.
IF YOU OWNED A GALLERY WHAT WOULD YOU CALL IT? // The Green Room or something catchy like that to reflect the ocean and my surf culture.
IF YOU WERE NOT AN ARTIST WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? // That’s a good question, I’m not sure. Probably doing what I trained to do at Uni and graduated with, so I would be a Sports Teacher in a High School.
IF YOU WERE ONLY ALLOWED 2 COLOURS TO WORK WITH FOR THE REST OF TIME WHAT WOULD THEY BE? // 2 that’s a hard choice, I can only narrow it down to 3 haha, Aqua, Mustard Yellow and Purple.
WHAT ART DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH? // Indigenous Australian Art as its they style in which I paint. However I do love and identify with large scale murals as well.
WHAT PIECE OF WORK HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE? // Probably the first surfboard I ever painted, trying to figure out the best technique to use the types of paint and working on something which was not a traditional canvas. I have just completed a large mural as well and scaling everything up to work on a large wall was a little challenging as well, while painting up a ladder doing my dots was a little tricky.
ANY ARTWORK YOU HAVE BEEN RELUCTANT TO SELL? // Almost all of my works when it comes to selling them I become a little reluctant as I have put in many hours to create them, but then I realise I cant keep everything I make and I need to sell some of my works to make a living haha.
ART ASIDE, WHAT INSPIRES YOU? // Fitness and health, I love being physically active outside or in the water!
WHERE IS YOUR DREAM STUDIO LOCATION? // I have been lucky enough to travel to Hawaii a few times now and I have fallen in love with the place. Having a studio in Hawaii would be lovely, but realistic having a studio opposite the ocean or close to so I can surf and get inspiration then come back and paint would be amazing!
IF YOU COULD OWN ANY ARTWORK WHAT WOULD IT BE? // I was recently in Melbourne and visited a gallery down there and came across an artwork by Emily Kam Kngwarray called Anwerlarr Anganenty. It’s a huge Indigenous artwork which I fell in love with.
IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANY ARTIST ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE? // I would have to choose Bob Marley, I would love to sit down and chat/hear his life story and create some artwork while listening to him play live music.
WHAT IS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // It would have been a pair of Emu Footwear Ugg boots I gave to my sister Kez and partner Tara.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? // To find what they are passionate about in life and enjoy whatever that is.
We are all different so it doesn’t have to be the same as someone else. For me my passion is being creative, artistically and musically and I have turned it into my career.
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // I can be a little impatient at times, which can be frustrating when waiting for paint to dry haha.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // People who are not honest and lie.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? // Either Will Smith or Dwayne Johnson “The Rock” they both always seem to have a lot of fun on and off the screen.
FAVOURITE MUSIC? // Hip Hop pretty much any 90’s Hip Hop.
LAST RECORD / DOWNLOAD YOU BOUGHT? // Kendrick Lamar’s New album Damn.
FAVOURITE BOOK? // I’m not really a big reader, but still to this day I love a book I was given at a really early age called Animalia. I loved all the pictures and how in depth they all were.
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // It’s a little sad but I don’t think I have bought a book? Possibly one for my partner Tara as a gift.
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // A few years ago when I was in Bali a huge swell hit the island and one day no one was out but it looked insane and amazing, so I thought I would go out even though no one was surfing. I paddled out and got caught in a section just as the crashed it sucked me under and when I finally surfaced another hit. This same thing happened over and over and I couldn’t get in or out, everything I re surface ready to paddle another would break right on me. I honestly felt like I was going to die I was so out of breath. I managed to finally get in and had taken on so much water I lost my voice for a week.
FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // It’s a tie between Hawaii and Bali, both are amazing tropical destinations where the water is warm, sun is hot and beers are cold.
LEAST FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // I feel blessed and lucky anytime I get the opportunity to travel as lots of people don’t have that luxury, so even if I don’t like somewhere as much as others I always try and look for a positive in the trip.
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // By painting, which seems funny as that’s what I do for hours and hours each day or go for a surf.
BEACH OR DESERT? // Beach.
URBAN OR RURAL? // A combo of both haha, both have positives and negatives, I would like to live between both. Some times I find the urban cities a little overwhelming but at
the same time rural can use a little urban spice up.
CATS OR DOGS? // Our family had a cat for years and he was amazing, but I have always wanted a dog.
COFFEE OR TEA? // Coffee, that ones easy Tea is just dirty water to me haha.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // Family, friends, a good comedy and myself at times haha.
WHATS MAKES YOU CRY? // That’s a tuff one, things which play with your emotions can definitely do that.
YOUR MESSAGE? // Find what you love and are passionate about, and do that for as long as you can. And in the words of Albert Einstein – “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”