Rex Winston Walford

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Rex Winston Walford is an established indigenous artist who now calls the Manning-Great Lakes home … FOCUS chatted with Rex about his artistic background and his latest venture …

Hi Rex. Tell us about your connection with the Manning-Great Lakes – and what do you love most about our gorgeous region?

I initially came to the area to sort out my health issues with Diabetes. I was living in Sydney in the early 2000s, when I discovered I had Diabetes. My adoptive parents had retired from out west to Mitchells Island, so the decision was made to move up into the area and get on top of my health. I was a bit lost for a while, leaving the security of a working as a bin truck driver to being unemployed, but as it worked out – it was the best move I could have made. 

Now working full-time as an artist, I get to enjoy our great region, beaches, coastal farmlands and the rivers. I also love the fact I’m still close enough to Sydney, where I deliver art to galleries and clients, and yet far away enough from the hustle and bustle …

What initially drew you to art, and how did it all begin for you?

I’ve always been drawn in by art and at the time when I was still living in Sydney working the skip bins, I came across a beautiful Aboriginal painting that an obviously affluent client from the Northern beaches had thrown out. I saw this painting and rescued it. Around the same time, my sister gave me a Sotheby’s auction book of Aboriginal art. The art in this book was displayed, along with the prices. And the third piece of the puzzle for me getting into art was also at the time my good friend, Carli, was just starting to dabble with art. Carli, her partner and I were coming to the end of our clubbing and partying days and were now substituting the nights out to nights in at home doing art. So with the combination of inspiration from an artwork I rescued and used to look at and think, “Yep, I could do something like this”, and the book my sister gave me, this pushed me on as well. The nights at home with my friends was the final factor that pushed me on to be an artist …

Which of your artworks are you most proud of and why?

I would have to say my favourite artworks are the Ancestral Winds paintings. They are a strong and definitive painting that have featured strongly throughout my career. Also, these paintings have been featured not only on canvas, but on electric guitars and on my beach towels, as well as being the best seller …

Tell us about the accolades you have received for your work.

I’ve had some success in some competitions, such as being a finalist in the NSW Parliament Indigenous Art Prize, the Wollotuka Acquisitive Art Prize and some local art exhibitions. I haven’t been chasing the art prizes of late though, just due to the fact I’m too busy with commissions and supplying galleries. 

Probably the best accolades I receive though, is from clients I work with closely to produce artworks that suit and match the interiors of their homes or places of business.

Your main focus has primarily been on canvas; however, you have recently released a stunning range of beach towels …

I’ve been painting now for a bit over 13 years, and I felt it was time to branch out into something else, but still art related. I have just brought out my own range of Winston Walford beach towels – there are four designs to choose from. I’m extremely proud of the towels. They are of the highest quality, just like my art. They are a one to one scale replica of the original artworks; this is why we are calling them functional art. They are a massive 180 cm x 90 cm in size and over 600 GSM. They come with my signature embroidered on the towel, swing tags that have the story behind the artwork, a brief description of myself, the artist, and what I’ve been up to, and also a picture of the original artwork from which it is derived … 

I feel I have delivered a perfect package for a gift for birthdays, weddings and especially Christmas, which is just around the corner.

I also now make it possible for businesses and companies to have their company logo embroidered on to the towel, making it the perfect corporate git for staff, clients and promotional campaigns.

Where can our readers go to view/purchase your towels?

You can order the towels online and we can post them out to you, but if you’re local to Old Bar or want to pick them up from us in Old Bar, you can always select the local pick up option and save on postage. My website for all art enquiries and for towel sales is: www.winstonwalford.com.au

Thanks Rex.

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