Local artist wraps HOTA in festive cheer

3 Dec 2019

Local artist wraps HOTA in festive cheer

You may have noticed that the entrance to HOTA Central has had a festive makeover!

Each year we commission a local artist to help us celebrate Christmas and bring a little festive cheer to our HOTA home. This year local artist Samuel Leighton-Dore shared what Christmas means to him.

Bradley Vincent, Curator at HOTA, told us a little more:

‘Samuel Leighton-Dore is not just a local artist, but also an illustrator, journalist and published author. He works across mediums from painting and ceramics to video and graphic novel forms, and as a staff writer for SBS Online he contributes articles on culture and sexuality, providing his unique viewpoint on myriad contemporary issues. He also LOVES Christmas. As an example of an exciting new voice here on the Gold Coast we thought he was just the right person to bring the festive spirit and he has delivered a bright and joyful multi-part installation to prove it.

‘Earlier this year, Samuel published his latest illustrated book, ‘How to be a Big Strong Man’. Combining his unique illustration style with an insightful social message, the book is a great example of humour, wit and warmth combining to make something special and unique. Inspired by the success of this, Samuel has created a brand-new children’s book for us, complete with beautiful illustrations that evoke both our beachside summer and the magic of childhood Christmas stories. It tells the little-known tale of a secret annual tradition: Santa’s pre-Christmas beachside, GC getaway, complete with his reindeer pals.  You can grab a copy of ‘Santa’s Great Australian Roadtrip” for the kids (or the kid-at-heart) from the HOTA box office.

‘To accompany the book, and making use of Samuel’s diverse skills, we asked him to create an installation to transform HOTA central. The result is an epic, outsized approach to gift wrapping. Our entrance terrace becomes a Christmas parcel, with a sly nod to both the history of ‘wrapping’ in art (like this) and the use of Christmas kitsch in the Contemporary (see this, or this even this!!).  Alongside this are a series of animation that you’ll see on our foyer screen, bringing the pages of the book to life, and for those social media savvy users, a suite of HOTA Christmas GIF’s that you can find by searching #HOTA in your Instagram stories.

‘It’s this multi-platform ability that led us to Samuel and true to form, he has delivered a joyous 2019 Christmas Commission with something for everyone to enjoy.

‘But wait, there’s still more! It wouldn’t be Christmas without a little workshop activity, so we tasked Sam with coming up with some gift tag and elf hat designs that you can make at our Christmas ArtLab pop-up, from the 6 -15 of Dec. It’ll be a space to create, relax and to get into the Christmas spirit. And to make something to take home for Christmas morning.’


Image: Part of the HOTA 2019 Christmas Commission by Samuel Leighton-Dore