Step into the streets of Sydney and feel an inviting hum of wonder blaze around you. Wide city streets, full of activity, slowly spread out into magnificent yacht filled bays weaving around the meandering coast. Made up of many different areas, Sydney is an incandescent mesh of sundry villages. Each part has its own distinctive residents, atmosphere and elusive forms of creativity waiting to be discovered: galleries hidden in residential areas, markets by the beach, and pop up designer boutiques in bars or abandoned shops.

The scaffolding of art and design societies here is constantly expanding and interchanging. Everything feels new and exciting; almost raw. Waterloo, Paddington and Surrey Hills are home to some super galleries in Sydney.

Ambush Gallery in Waterloo recently held THE KEG SHOW, an exhibition of beer kegs designed by twelve artists. Sponsored by the Element Advocate programme, THE KEG SHOW was curated by Rick Bannister with each sale going to a charity of the artist’s choice.

Another superb exhibition was on recently at China Heights Gallery in Surrey Hills. THIS IS HOW WE ROLL was a group exhibition organised by J’aime Fazackerley by 24 Australian and international artists who share a common love for skateboarding and its culture.

Claire Orrell had some beautiful work at this show:

I loved her work so asked for some details about her life and work. This is what she said; ‘I hail from London, but have been out in Sydney for just over 4 years. I studied Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent and then worked in an agency in the UK for 3 years. Then I came over here on a working holiday visa as a challenge to myself to try and and live in another country and ended up staying. I freelanced for the first year and then got a job doing the design for the Museum of Contemporary Art where are stayed for 3 years. In March this year I went back to working in a commercial design studio. I miss working in the arts but I wanted a mix of clients again.

Recently though, although I get to work on a lot of illustrative projects through my day job, I’ve really wanted to start creating my own work. I’ve had some freelance contracts over the last 6 months where I’ve got to explore this and I’ve also started doing my own artwork again. I only just got my residency and a series of 6 month contracts at the MCA made me feel very unsettled. I’m so glad I’ve started again, It makes me feel so happy and inspired (i’m sure you know the feeling!). I’m also exploring animation and my housemate (a filmmaker) and I recently got into the top 5 of an animation competition at Sydney Opera House, you can view it here:

I’m hoping to be able to develop this side of my work more in future and to continue to evolve my own creative practice.’

There was also some great work by Lewis (Dr Dolomite) Buttle, Gibson Fox, J’aime Fazackerley and Leo James.

Another good place for exploring is Paddington, a beautiful residential area in Sydney, packed with buried delights. The Saturday markets are filled with young designers and the whole area is dotted with brilliant shops and galleries. You can also have a game of lawn bowls, which is surprisingly popular with young people here. It also leads to Rushcutters Bay, where you can have pancakes and watch the boats come and go.

DSC00974.JPGThe best part about working in Sydney is that you can live on the beach, watch the waves roll in while eating breakfast, surf every day if you like, and still feel the glow of that not-so-distant hum. It is not easy to find the hidden gems of Sydney, but the hush-hush is exceedingly endearing.


My Creative Scene is an insight into different creative & cultural happenings in cities where your members and readers live. Browse through more insider guides here or contact us to write about the arts scene where you are.