Habitus visits an artistâ€™s house in Queenslandâ€™s Castawayâ€™s Beach, whose gun barrel form was sketched on a restaurant napkin.
March 18th, 2009
Australian artist, Tracey Moffatt, sorely missed the surf, sunshine and space of her native Queensland while living and working in a tiny apartment in New York. When she found a house on the beach designed by one of her architectural idols, Gabriel Poole, she couldn’t resist…
This article appears in Issue 03 of Habitus, on sale now. Photography by Christopher Frederick Jones.
Twice a year, artist and filmmaker Tracey Moffatt swaps her Manhattan studio existence for a spell of sunshine and salt air back home in Queensland, Australia. Margie Fraser visited her Australian home and found the more relaxing counterpart of her very contrasting environments.
Her Chelsea apartment, in the heart of NY’s art precinct, is so small Moffatt admits to “going crazy with lack of space”. Fire engines are ever present in the soundscape of the street below. “Woody Allen is sentimental about them,” she says, “and calls them New York’s lullaby.”
Inside, the loft-cum-working studio has high ceilings and exposed beams, and “not quite enough room to make art”. For her current work in progress, the “Plantation” series, Moffatt is on the train to Brooklyn each morning to a place where she can print old negatives of a “mysterious landscape” that she shot over 12 years ago.
Memories of childhood beach holidays and a hankering for the relaxation that goes hand in hand with sand-encrusted zinc cream on sunburnt skin were revived when Moffatt spotted a house for sale at Castaways Beach just south of Noosa.
The landscape has its own mysterious resonance. Wind-bent banksias, pounding surf and highways of bleached sand are a long way from Chelsea. But the crowning glory was the house on the block – a modest lightweight beach house from the stable of local architect Gabriel Poole. This was the clincher for Moffatt.
“I was homesick for the Australian nature I grew up with – long hot summers spent on Bribie Island and the Sunshine Coast, with the freedom of roaming barefoot all day long and coming home at sundown. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found a Poole house for sale right by the beach. I jumped at the chance to get it.”
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