Devastating reason behind artist’s latest piece of work
WITH a father in the Rural Fire Service, Jesse Samuel Wood was taught at an early age what to do should fire ever strike near his home.
Sadly, the hypothetical became reality last November for the local artist, as red embers threatened his parent's Bungundarra property, near Yeppoon.
While he reflected on battling flames that reached as close as 20-metres to his home, Mr Wood said it was this moment, and the devastating nationwide fires, that inspired his latest piece of work.
"We saw the fires coming over the hill, we didn't think the fire would come anywhere near us. We even had friends who were evacuated and ended up getting stuck at ours because the fire came over so quickly," he said.
The successful artist created a piece - a tribute, he said - that quickly gained popularity among locals, with a koala head illustrated and detailed by local Australian flora.
His venture into the arts is in part due to his grandmother. She first introduced her young grandson to oil painting as a bonding activity.
"She used to do a little bit of oil painting, I did my first oil painting of a sunset with her at age 9 in 2004 and she helped me," he said.
Though passionate about the arts, Mr Wood, 25, never contemplated pursuing it as a career until after completing a carpentry apprenticeship.
"I always thought it would be cool if I could eventually make a living out of selling my art, so I thought I'd give it a real go," he said.
Mr Wood made the switch over to drawing instead of painting due to its ability for finer detail on paper, a quality he said canvas material lacked.
His first piece which showcased wildlife sold online in 2014. To this day his work still centres around his love of animals.
His hand-coloured pieces can take around 50 hours to create and centre around one theme; animals, something he believes people will never tire of.
"Everybody loves animals, I do, and nobody will get sick of looking at an animal. I have a few ones that I love to draw like wolves, owls, elephants. I just keep drawing them but in a different way," Mr Wood said.
As for what the future holds, Mr Wood is set to marry his partner Elodie this July and is looking to create a colouring-in book and further his Samuel J Art merchandise line.
"People absolutely love the koala, it's probably the most popular one I've done apart from the turtle. Life in the bush is absolutely crazy at the moment," he said.
Pieces are available online at www.samuelj.com.au or Samuel J Art Facebook, with some pieces ranging from $35 up to $250.