Self-taught CQ artist Gerard Kearney is inspired by surfing, cars and music of the 70s and 80s
Self-taught CQ artist Gerard Kearney is inspired by surfing, cars and music of the 70s and 80s

Car-mad Kearney evokes a beachy retro vibe

Gerard Kearney's artworks hark back to an era of the Holden Sandman and Reef tanning oil.

The Rockhampton-born mad keen surfer didn't have much opportunity to hang ten off the becalmed shores of the Capricorn Coast when he was a schoolboy at Christian Brothers College.

"It was when I used to travel south for competitions with the Emu Park surf lifesavers," he said.

"My brother and I used to share an old foam surfboard and we thought that was the best thing ever."

Mr Kearney said he began drawing and painting at a very young age.

Gerard Kearney's Beer garden print
Gerard Kearney's Beer garden print

"On paper, on furniture… coming from a family of eight, we probably didn't have a lot of new toys so we knew how to make do," he said.

"But like most blokes, I got interested in other things during my twenties so I stopped painting for a while."

Among those other things, Mr Kearney - who worked at the railway as a blacksmith - developed a passion for the cars and music of the '70s and '80s.

"Let's face it, today's music is terrible," he said.

"No wonder the old stuff is coming back in fashion."

He sold his two-door, four-speed V8 WB Statesman to a mate when it proved an impractical car for Mr Kearney's growing family.

But years later, after he started taking his artworks to the Fig Tree and Riverbank markets, their cool retro vibe drew a lot of interest from fellow revheads and beach bums.

"People would send me pictures of their hot rod cars and I would put them into a one-off painting," he said.

"And then I met my fiancee Katrina who put me on the right track when it came to setting up a website and selling my work online."

Let's Dance leggings by Gerard Kearney Art
Let's Dance leggings by Gerard Kearney Art

While his one-off art pieces are gaining popularity, mainly down south and overseas, Mr Kearney has branched into a new fashion and interiors range.

His work is scanned and printed by local businesses on to bright, breezy tees and leggings, as well as coasters, cushions, tote bags and stickers.

"It seems like the world is becoming more greedy and selfish as time goes by," Mr Kearney said.

"I think my designs create nostalgia for a simpler time in Australian lives."

You can see Mr Kearney's work on Facebook or at gerardkearneyart.com


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