Burleigh Brewing News on Tap: Tattooist Laura Marshall and her sublime magic

In celebration of their latest Brewers’ Notebook release, Burleigh Sublime Mexican Lager – Burleigh Brewing has teamed up with local tattooist Laura Marshall to design the unique can artwork, as well as well as create a colourful mural in the Burleigh Taphouse itself.

The Sublime artwork is drawn from the time that Laura spent in the Sonoran Desert in Phoenix, Arizona, driving through vast and surreal desert plains of Saguaro Cacti. As such, it has a powerful magic to it.

We were intrigued by the work of the talented Laura, and got to know her, and her relationship with Burleigh Brewing, a little better. 

Laura, tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Laura Marshall. I would describe myself as an Artist, Illustrator and Tattoo Artist. I am an optimist, a truth seeker, and a dreamer (weird combination – I know!)

What was the journey to become the artist you are today?

I’ve been obsessed with drawing ever since I could pick up a pencil, I’ve always felt that I would have to pursue a career involving art in one respect or another. I left school, like most people, not knowing what field to pursue but had an idea that I wanted to get into illustration. At the time, I was particularly interested in doing children’s book illustrations – so I did a Diploma course at TAFE where I studied New Media + Illustration.

Studying was an introduction into various forms and techniques of illustration, design, art theory and a little intro into the world of computers and graphic design. In one of my classes – my tutor recommended that I apply for a job position that was coming up. I worked designing graphics and animation for a company that was based in Europe but had a sister company in Brisbane. I was designing pokie/slot machines and all the graphics that you see on display… it was an interesting experience that I got a lot out of, but it just didn’t fit into the scope of what I thought I could achieve. The artwork felt kind of lacking in sincerity.

In 2010 – I was given an extraordinary opportunity from my friend, Teneile Napoli, who is now a world-renowned Tattoo Artist (she’s amazing!) At the time, she was just opening her studio Garage Ink and she asked me to be her very first apprentice. I took a great leap of faith and began a career in tattooing – I haven’t looked back since. I’ve lived out many of my dreams including traveling around the world, making art on people that will last a lifetime, making incredible friends and having amazing eye-opening experiences.

Tattooing is certainly not a walk in the park, it’s a constant struggle trying to keep up with the trends and social media. You only get out of it what you out in. Each day I try to better myself, the fact that I get to create art for a living feels like I’ve reached a goal in life that I have always aspired to achieve.

Talk us through the design process for creating the can art for Burleigh Sublime. Was there anything unique about how you approached this project in comparison to tattooing? 

The Burleigh Sublime design is quite different to the usual style I would lean towards in tattooing, where I specialise in black and grey stylised/graphic realism. What I’ve created in the Burleigh Sublime artwork mostly reflects the time I’ve spent designing graphics. It’s more of a character/icon creation that has been designed to fit into the specific parameters of the can label.

This process reflects they styles of my past career work, more than my current career in tattooing. Composition is something that I’m always prioritising in all aspects of creating. To begin with, I created some layouts that would give me a feel for the colours and where I wanted everything to fit in photoshop. Then I printed it out and did a rough concept sketch from there by hand. The final design is from a pen and ink drawing and all the colouring was done in Photoshop to achieve the finished product.

You and your Husband, Adrian, have both travelled extensively and have now landed at 383 Tattoo Studio – not too far from Burleigh. What’s your favourite thing about living on the Gold Coast? 

There’s so much I love about living on the Gold Coast! I’m a Gold Coast girl for sure, I’ve spent most of my life here. When I was younger, I daydreamed about traveling overseas and all these adventures and I might possibly have one day – now after doing that, and having those dreams come to fruition, I desperately wanted to move back home.

We were living in Melbourne for about five years before and we decided to make a great escape last year. We’ve been back on the Gold Coast for one year now and I’ve really come to appreciate everything about the Gold Coast so much more! It’s really evolved in such a short time since I’ve been away. The main thing I love about being home is being close with my family again, especially after being separated from them for such a long period of time last year. It really makes me appreciate the time we have together so much more.

We have such a unique and beautiful environment here, we’re right in between the ocean and the rainforest, yet only an hour drive to another major city. We’ve been blessed with the best of everything. The beaches are incredible, we’re fortunate enough to live right near North Burleigh Hill so I try to get down there every day if I can.

People here have a certain warmness about them and a genuine nature that I really appreciate. I feel so fortunate to have found my place working at 383 Tattoo in Broadbeach. It is such a brilliant group of very talented Artists that are also extremely humble, which is refreshing in this industry. It’s a high-quality no drama studio and I would say it’s definitely the best environment that I have had the honour to work in, in the 11-year span of my career so far.

Paint the scene for us, when and where are you going to enjoy your first can of Burleigh Sublime?

I’ll confess that I did sneak a sip on packaging day when we were starting the mural! But I’m really looking forward to the launch party to celebrate all the collaborated efforts that’ve been put into the development of this exciting beer. I’m also excited to see the bands playing – I haven’t been to a gig in a very long time so I can’t wait.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love that I get to create new projects constantly – unlike my old career where I would be working on a particular game from 3 to 4 months at a time. Tattooing is different every single day. I get to meet some wonderful and genuine people, I’ve made some true friends who started off as clients and that’s really special to me. I feel very honoured to have such great clients like Mez, who keep coming back to me after all these years. It’s great seeing how they evolve over time and having the opportunity to adorn them with my art.

Sometimes working as a Tattoo Artist, I have to pinch myself because I get to hang out with my friends every day while creating art, listening to good music and talking a lot of shit, haha. I try not to take myself too seriously!

Burleigh Sublime Mexican Lager is as good as it sounds – believe us, we’ve tried a few! Follow @burleighbrewing for more on this perfect summer bevvie and @383tattoogc for more magical art.

IMAGES (C) Troy Archer

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