Gold Coast Photographic Artist features on Houses Rules 

Another Gold Coast artist has had her work exposed to a national audience via House Rules: High Stakes on Channel 7.

Local photographic artist Shell Bankier of BlueSphere Photography has had her work featured on a recent episode of the popular Channel 7 show, once again thanks to the program’s deal with local online gallery Art Lovers Australia. Shell’s artwork Silverlight was featured on this week’s episodes as part of the renovation by team Laith and George at the Perth House.

Shell has quite a remarkable life story so far. She grew up sailing the oceans with her family on a yacht, giving her a deep love for the ocean.

At age 16, she was paralysed in a horrific car accident that ended her father’s life and left her fighting for her own. Learning to walk was a tireless and long process, and with endless support from her mum and brother, she defied all her doctors’ predictions – she proved them all wrong, slowly rebuilding her life. Since then, over the last 23 years, she has lived with severe chronic pain and the life-long repercussions from the accident.

Photography gave her a lifeline and a new purpose. Shell started her professional photography journey in surf photography, and was the first woman this century to have her work in ASL (Australia’s Surfing Life) magazine as a contributing photographer. She shoots the big cyclone swells that hit the Gold Coast, from a tiny boat has witnessed the 30 foot plus waves at Teahupo’o, and been on the beach shooting big swells at the North Shore, Hawaii. With numerous exhibitions here and in Sydney, and the opening of her gallery, Inverse, in James St Burleigh Heads, Shell worked on expanding her work beyond surf photography into unique fine art prints. After closing the gallery 10 years ago, Shell has developed and transformed her photography even further, and feels her work now is the truest of any she has produced.

Now she creates seascape and abstract works of waves and clouds, the two visual aspects in her body of work tied together by the most vital element of water.

Shell lives on the Gold Coast with her wife, newborn daughter and two dogs.

“My photography is what I can do to inspire others; my artworks are mirrors of the Universe, held up to you, showing you the reflection of that grand universal truth and beauty that lives in you,” she says.

Shell’s photographic artwork Silverlight is a beautiful diptych, a whole work created from two separate photographic images put together.

“With Silverlight, two distinct images of white wash against a white grey sky, I wanted to instil a feeling of delicacy and light in the images, and give a recognition of the ocean’s beauty. These images were shot at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast, one of my favourite places to shoot waves, during a huge cyclone swell, the best of which happen a couple times a year. The 10 foot plus waves, with huge foam racing toward the shore, give strong, beautiful white-wash with perfect movement and with sky reaching power. An overcast sky gives a soft silvery light, hence the name, perfect to capture the gorgeous whites, greys and storm blues without any harsh shadows.

“Linking two separate images together to create a full work gives a surreal seascape, taking it beyond reality. Quite a few of my photographic art pieces are done this way.”

Contestants Tanya and Dave, whose house was the one that was renovated to include her artwork, absolutely adore the piece.

“Oh it looks so beautiful…thank you so much for your beautiful artwork in our newly renovated home. It’s pretty amazing looking at it from the bottom of the stairs,” they said in an Instagram post.

Sleep-deprived as she is with her newborn daughter, Shell was nonetheless overjoyed to see her piece on the show.

“It’s awesome to see it in a different space, and to know that it’s in someone’s home is so enriching, knowing that they love it, that it brings them joy! Silverlight is one of my absolute favourites and it also hangs in my dining room! So I am so stoked for this opportunity to have my piece chosen for House Rules.”

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