Carlotta the focus of CRT’s Duchamp commission

Marcel Duchamp (1887 – 1968) was a multi-media artist associated with cubism, conceptual art and Dada. Duchamp was known for challenging the conventions of art making, especially during difficult political times. HOTA’s latest commission is affectionately known as the Duchamp Wall Commission. It provides a blank canvas for local artists to create site-specific, temporary artwork and to extend their own practice. The latest artist to have their work grace the Duchamp Wall is Courtenay McCue, otherwise known as CRT Designs. She’s the second local artist to be commissioned, the first being ridiculously talented Indigenous artist Libby Harward.

We asked Courtenay to tell us about the commission.

“This artwork is inspired by Carlotta; a Gold Coast icon, fearless cabaret dancer and LGBTIQ activist,” she says.

“It is a tribute to a woman who has inspired countless people through the decades of her ground-breaking career. 

I chose to base the mural on Carlotta to also connect to the public. While I was painting the mural, I would have different conversations about Carlotta [with other people]. From how she used to babysit them to the glamorous outfits she would wear on stage. I also chose Carlotta as she connects to the current ‘StarStruck Australian Movie Portrait Exhibition’. Carlotta is a star of both stage and film.

“For this artwork I have used multiple styles, including some techniques I have never used before.”

A part of the HOTA commission is for artists to try something new and step out of their comfort zone, which led them to recommending to Courtenay that she try out vinyl and paste-ups as a new technique.

“In the background I used street art treatments including layered stencils, paint drips, spray paint, paint pens, paste-ups, hand written messages and more, creating a depth effect to the mural,” Courtenay explains.

“With the Carlotta portrait, I photoshopped the original image sharpening her features and giving it a newspaper effect. This was then vinyl-ed up in three strips with the help of Brisbane artist Laing Rahner. The red borders were the tedious part of the mural, involving more patience and structure using tape to create clean lines. Hand painting the “LIFE” logo took a bit longer than expected making sure I got the perfect size and font style. That was the final part of the mural.

“This 8m x 5m mural is the biggest artwork I have done and was so much fun. [It’s] going to be strange going back to canvas size artworks and smaller murals. My biggest mural before this was around 2.5m x 5m.

“My artworks are usually full of bright and vibrant colour schemes compared to this black and white mural. My art is heavily inspired by the street art of Melbourne lanes, vintage advertisements, music, and iconic Renaissance era art through to contemporary pop culture… connecting the contemporary world with bygone eras, with heavy references to the 70s and 80s.”

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You can see Courtenay’s work at HOTA’s Duchamp Wall, at the entrance to the art gallery or at a bunch of cafes across the city including Raw Espresso, The Social Brew, Karma Collab Hub and soon at The Avenue in Surfers Paradise. Follow at

IMAGE (c) Tim Marsden

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