Art, Off the Cuff, Pick of the Week

Off the Cuff with artist, Deb Mostert

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Contemporary visual artist, Deb Mostert lives and works from her home studio on the Ipswich/Brisbane border, Queensland, Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Australia. To date she’s exhibited at 10 solo shows and been involved in more than 30 Group shows in a variety of exhibition spaces ranging from commercial galleries to Regional Galleries in Australia.

Her main focus this year has been to get alongside people who lost possessions during the devastating Brisbane summer floods of 2011 and document their stories of loss and recovery through paintings and text.

Should you wish to partner with Deb on this project and contribute to her target of over $3,000, visit

My secret pleasure is … shopping for fusty old books in second hand shops to add to my collection of fusty old books.

My first job was … as a paste up artist back in the 80’s when ‘cut and paste’ was literally that. With a scalpel and rubber cement glue. Love the smell of rubber cement …

My most annoying habits are … peck typing and never filling the car with petrol.

A clear childhood memory is … burying a Strepsils tin containing coins, pencils, a safety pin and a rusty pocket knife, in case I needed it at some point in the future. Wonder if it’s still there?

What makes me really nervous is … reality television. *shudder*

The best advice my parents gave me was … to believe I had worth, as a person
as well as an artist.

If I wasn’t an artist, I’d be … sad, inconsolably sad.

I’m most thankful for … my family, who surround me with love and laughter and offer me lessons on how to type and fill the petrol tank.

Nesting Options by Deb Mostert

‘Nesting Options’ 301 x 90 cm oil on canvas has been selected for the Eutick Memorial Still Life Awards, Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, November 2012.

My favourite meal is … slow cooked lamb shanks on a bed of mashed sweet potato. (especially when not cooked by me)

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … shameless self-promotion.

A book I love is … My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell—I’ve probably read it 30 times over and still laugh every time. And the Bible, it doesn’t make me laugh as much as cry, but it holds all I need to do life.

A song that resonates is … Feelin’ Groovy by Simon and Garfunkel, I need to hear those lines ‘slow down, you’re moving too fast’. I use it as my ring tone on my phone.

My ‘happy place’ is … Hastings Point or my back veranda … both are peaceful places.

My most embarrassing memory is … the fact that I have no memory for names and frequently hold conversations with people whom I know but couldn’t name if you paid me.

My hidden skill is … a keen sense of smell which means I can enjoy fragrances lost on others but can also smell the dog at 20 paces.

If I was a dog, I’d be … clean and smell of lavender.

It’s a bit corny but I love … lavender.

Tin Clown and Butter Knife 61 x 76 cm oil on canvas was selected by Clayton Utz to be part of their 2011 Launch Art Show.

I’m most at peace when … I stop long enough to remember all the blessings I have, that I’m loved and am free to love others.

Countries I’d love to visit … all the ones on Google Earth.

Favourite quote … ‘This too will pass’ — a good one to remember when things are
not going well and when they are.

Kate’s Objects (After Cotan). 62 x 46 cm oil on panel.  Background story to Kate’s Objects below.

Before the Brisbane floods in January 2011, Kate and her husband had moved back in with her folks at Chelmer to save money as they were expecting a baby and they brought all their possessions with them. When the Chelmer home went under water they lost two household’s worth of objects. Heavily pregnant, Kate was banished from the potentially health threatening mud and so was left out of the salvage process.

Kate is an artist and on the first day of cleanup her whole studio was dumped in the heap out the front as the ceiling had collapsed and nothing seemed identifiable let alone salvageable. When told nothing was saved and all her paintings and materials were gone she was devastated. Some days later her cousin bravely went through the stinking piles and found a small bunch of brushes. Kate had hundreds of brushes collected over many years and to get a handful back was wonderful. Amazingly they were some of her favourites. 

The silver engraved childhood egg cup was one of the few things from her childhood that was saved and that she was able to pass onto her little baby boy. The Christmas angel was important because it meant so much to Kate’s mum. The family has a tradition of gifting a special decoration, some carted home from overseas, some remembering past loved ones and this was probably the oldest of these, well worn and often repaired. Not many decorations survived the flood but to have the angel back up the top of the tree meant that things were returning to normal and in this painting she hovers over the objects with quiet poignancy. 

I chose to appropriate a Juan Cotan like arrangement for this piece and the disparity of the objects doesn’t seem to matter when one knows the family ties that bind them.

Deb can be contacted via:

Phone: 0429 636301

Deb Mostert is represented in Queensland by Lorraine Pilgrim and in South Australia by Peter Walker Fine Art.