Gillian Groves invites us to her artable

Here at Blank, we love to celebrate creatives of all kinds. But we also enjoy talking to people who utilise their creative talents to nurture and inspire the artistic leanings in others, adding to the already abundant profusion of talented arts mavens that sprinkle our golden shores. With that in mind, we thought we’d talk all things creative with Gillian Groves, practicing artist, teacher, and founder of Artable, a dedicated workshop facility that teaches locals who want to learn how to paint and draw. 

What is your philosophy when it comes to incubating local creative talent? 

I believe that anyone can learn to draw and paint with the right teaching and the right tools and that bringing more creativity into your life makes you a happier person. I have a dual role in that I introduce and support thousands of people entering the visual arts community through our art workshops and then I also create work opportunities for all of the artists that we work too. Many practicing artists need to supplement their incomes between sales and Artable works with those artists to create teaching work in their fields of expertise.

It’s a role that I take very seriously – we need to be nurturing and supporting our artists at all levels and building the arts community up. There is no competition between artists and arts-based businesses. The more we all grow, the better off the whole community will be. If you are an artist and your friends are artists, they are not competition, they are inspiration. Support them.

Have you had any class participants go on to further develop their art career on the Gold Coast?

I’ve lost count of the number of students that thought that they didn’t have any ‘talent’ or had always wanted to develop some skills and started with a Learn to Draw class before moving on to developing themselves as artists in their own right.

Over the last 10 years I’ve watched our teachers grow too. Currumbin local Anne Smerdon is currently working on her exhibition for the Tweed Regional Art Gallery and has been represented by galleries all over the world.

There’s a number of school-aged students that we’ve worked with too that are really starting to spread their wings. The Halleday girls Katura and Matika use their art to work with Mission Educate, an African-based charity that works to empower children through education. The girls are consistently in the limelight for their arts practices and now co-ordinate their own events including 8×8 to Educate being held at the Dust Temple in November.

Do you notice any current trends in our Gold Coast arts and culture scene? 

The Gold Coast arts and culture scene is growing fast at the moment. When we started in 2009 there was one other art school and a handful of teachers running small home-based art classes. Now, we have the choice of any number of crafts, life drawing and other creative pursuits. It’s fantastic. The more places that open up, the more known the Gold Coast becomes as a creative hub.

Have you noticed a growth in creativity or creative hubs on the Gold Coast over the last few years, and if yes, to what do you mainly attribute it?

Absolutely – people are seeking out creative experiences on the Gold Coast and I can’t help but think that as humans we are seeking out a way to balance our new technology-driven lives. We are heeding the call to ‘disconnect to reconnect’ and prioritising time to be more creative and tap into our inner artist is a way to do just that.

As a creative community, we’ve also got some challenges to work through. Friends of ours opened Warehouse No.5 in Burleigh a few years back (one of the coast’s first warehouse style creative hubs) which gathered creatives and gave everyone a high class venue to collaborate with.

Monique and Andy were a brilliant couple with vision and energy – just what we need here. Council regulations made it harder and harder for them to operate until they closed and moved from the Gold Coast. We seem to be seeing a trend towards this warehouse style of creatives gathering to open spaces, but my fear is that we are behind the times in terms of meeting regulations, putting these important cultural hubs at risk. Mo’s Desert Clubhouse is another hub that met with council disapproval and I understand that the Dust Temple have been facing similar issues for years. Creatives need venues that are affordable and we need to be attracting and supporting the people that drive these new ventures in order to build more creative capital.

Keen to try your hand at painting or drawing? Artable runs a variety of workshops you can check out over at

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