Laura Marshall – Burleigh Sublime Can Artist

As brewers we are single-mindedly focussed and passionate about brewing seriously good beer. Burleigh Brewing can relate to a tattoo artists passion for the spirit, creativity and detail of their craft. ⁠

Laura, tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Laura Marshall. I would describe myself as an Artist, Illustrator and Tattoo Artist. I am an optimist, a truth seeker, and a dreamer (weird combination – I know!)

What was the journey to become the artist you are today?

I’ve been obsessed with drawing ever since I could pick up a pencil, I’ve always felt that I would have to pursue a career involving art in one respect or another. I was particularly interested in doing children’s book illustrations – so I did a Diploma course at TAFE where I studied New Media + Illustration.

Studying was an introduction into various forms and techniques of illustration, design, art theory and a little intro into the world of computers and graphic design. In one of my classes – my tutor recommended that I apply for a job position that was coming up. I worked designing graphics and animation for a company that was based in Europe but had a sister company in Brisbane. I was designing pokie/slot machines and all the graphics that you see on display… it was an interesting experience that I got a lot out of, but it just didn’t fit into the scope of what I thought I could achieve. The artwork felt kind of lacking in sincerity.

In 2010 – I was given an extraordinary opportunity from my friend, Teneile Napoli, who is now a world-renowned Tattoo Artist (she’s amazing!) At the time, she was just opening her studio Garage Ink and she asked me to be her very first apprentice. I took a great leap of faith and began a career in tattooing – I haven’t looked back since. I’ve lived out many of my dreams including traveling around the world, making art on people that will last a lifetime, making incredible friends and having amazing eye-opening experiences.

Tattooing is certainly not a walk in the park, it’s a constant struggle trying to keep up with the trends and social media. Each day I try to better myself, the fact that I get to create art for a living feels like I’ve reached a goal in life that I have always aspired to achieve.

What art mediums do you usually work with?

Number one would be tattooing, and when I get the time I do really love painting. I’ve been dabbling with various types of paintings over the past couple of years, I absolutely love doing watercolours and I’m really getting into acrylics and gouache right now.

Talk us through the design process for creating the can art for Burleigh Sublime. Was there anything unique about how you approached this project in comparison to tattooing?

 The Burleigh Sublime design is quite different to the usual style I would lean towards in tattooing, where I specialise in black and grey stylised/graphic realism. What I’ve created in the Burleigh Sublime artwork mostly reflects the time I’ve spent designing graphics. It’s more of a character/icon creation that has been designed to fit into the specific parameters of the can label.

This process reflects they styles of my past career work, more than my current career in tattooing. Composition is something that I’m always prioritising in all aspects of creating. To begin with, I created some layouts that would give me a feel for the colours and where I wanted everything to fit in photoshop. Then I printed it out and did a rough concept sketch from there by hand. The final design is from a pen and ink drawing and all the colouring was done in Photoshop to achieve the finished product.

Not only is your art found on the Burleigh Sublime can, but you’ve also created an amazing mural in the Burleigh Taphouse for our customers to enjoy. What kind of preparation is needed for taking smaller scale art and turning it into an exhibition of this size?

When I designed the can artwork there was very specific elements (the writing, certain icons, the cigar band) that the focal image was sitting amongst. At the time, I designed it with no intention that it was going to be turned into a mural. It was designed purely to be compositionally pleasing, ensuring that all the important elements were visible.

When the idea was approached to bringing the artwork to life, I suggested my husband, Adrian – who creates murals professionally, be involved in the process. Adrian usually creates his murals with aerosol work (which I have zero experience in) but being that the mural is located within the brewery and in such proximity to the tanks, it was ultimately decided that it would have to be hand painted. We used a projector to transfer the design from my iPad to the wall, chalked it in and then painted the base outline and went from there. I had no idea of the scope of what I was getting myself into and I couldn’t have done it without Adrian’s help.

At the time of painting it, it was a bit of a trip because I remember drawing the label design just 30cm and now it’s a couple of metres wide at least. I had no idea that it would turn into something of such a large scale, but I’m so stoked at the end result and the experience of getting to paint my first mural!

You’re the tattoo artist behind our brewery assistant, Mez’s, ink. How does it feel to have your art represented in not only the Taphouse, but the brewery as well?

It’s been a really fun project to be a part of, I’m so grateful for the opportunity from Burleigh Brewing to allow me to collaborate with them on such an exciting process. It’s been a fantastic opportunity to help get my art out there within the local community.

Here at Burleigh Brewing, we celebrate our passion everyday by making world class craft beers, and we love to celebrate with our friends who are living theirs. What are you passionate about?

I’m very passionate about art, and traveling has always been something that has fuelled my fire. There’s nothing more important to me than spending time with my loved ones and I’m sure, like a lot of people, the last couple of years has made that all the more evident. What’s most important in life for me is living simply, enjoying every day as best I can, being kind to others and creating not only for other people, but creating art that inspires me, for myself.

Why do you believe it’s so important that others live their passion?

Wow, that’s a big question. I believe it’s one of the most important things that one can pursue, to follow your passions because that’s where you will find your greatest rewards whatever they may be. I know it doesn’t come easy for most and it can be a rocky road, but that’s part of the journey – having those ups and downs that lead us to where we should be. Everything tastes better with a little struggle in there.

You and your Husband, Adrian, have both travelled extensively and have now landed at 383 Tattoo Studio – not too far from Burleigh. What’s your favourite thing about living on the Gold Coast?

There’s so much I love about living on the Gold Coast! I’m a Gold Coast girl for sure, I’ve spent most of my life here. When I was younger, I daydreamed about traveling overseas and all these adventures I might possibly have one day – now after doing that, and having those dreams come to fruition, I desperately wanted to move back home.

We were living in Melbourne for about five years before and we decided to make a great escape last year. The main thing I love about being home is being close with my family again, especially after being separated from them for such a long period of time last year. It really makes me appreciate the time we have together so much more. The beaches are incredible, we’re fortunate enough to live right near North Burleigh Hill so I try to get down there every day if I can.

People here have a certain warmness about them and a genuine nature that I really appreciate. I feel so fortunate to have found my place working at 383 Tattoo in Broadbeach. It is such a brilliant group of very talented Artists that are also extremely humble, which is refreshing in this industry. It’s a high-quality no drama studio and I would say it’s definitely the best environment that I have had the honour to work in, in the 11-year span of my career so far.

What has been the most exciting part about collaborating with Burleigh Brewing on this can art?

I really enjoyed the whole process, even after I designed the label artwork, I had the opportunity to have a little tour throughout the brewery where I got to see how they package cans and meet the Brewers while they were creating Burleigh Sublime!

Burleigh Sublime was brewed from the inspiration of the trips through Mexico our Co-Founder and Brewmaster, Brennan Fielding, took as an up-and-coming brewer. What inspired you when designing the can art?

My main source of inspiration was drawn from the time that I’ve spent in the Sonoran Desert in Phoenix, Arizona, which is where Adrian is originally from. That’s just a few hours’ drive from the Mexican border – we’ve spent a lot of time driving through vast desert plains of Saguaro Cacti, which is kind of surreal. The desert has a very powerful and magical feeling to it … so that was very much the inspiration when I was creating the Burleigh Sublime artwork.

I wanted something that was super vibrant and had a hot, summer day party vibe to it without being too cliché.  I presented the first draft, with the design brief of ‘Mexican Inspired’ based off the style of beer, to Adrian, who happens to be Chicano (he approved!).

In your opinion, what are the elements of a successful art collaboration?

 Ultimately, a successful art collaboration would be the one where everyone is pleased with the outcome. Collaborating for an end goal is really important, which I often do when designing tattoos for my clients to make sure that I can bring their vision to life.

Similarly working with Burleigh Brewing, I took note of all the elements that were important to them to included, I took their feedback into account and adapted the final creation into something we’re both really happy with.

It’s simple and fun with a lot of pop to it.

What do you love most about what you do?

 I love that I get to create new projects constantly. Tattooing is different every single day. I get to meet some wonderful and genuine people, I’ve made some true friends who started off as clients and that’s really special to me. I feel very honoured to have such great clients like Mez, who keep coming back to me after all these years. It’s great seeing how they evolve over time and having the opportunity to adorn them with my art.

Sometimes working as a Tattoo Artist, I have to pinch myself because I get to hang out with my friends every day while creating art, listening to good music and talking a lot of shit, haha. I try not to take myself too seriously!

What’s coming up in the next few months for you?

I have a bunch of paintings in the works, and it would be great to solely focus my energy into that for a little while as I would love to have the opportunity to exhibit them sometime next year. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself by creating a deadline. I’m very excited also for the borders to finally open so a lot of my Melbourne clientele can get up here and continue working on their tattoo pieces.

It would be awesome if I can convince Adrian to work on another mural with me over the summer, but we’ll see how that goes. Fingers crossed hey!

Last updated 12 January 2022


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