Local artist Pete Rush had no idea about the phenomenon he was about to create during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has been nothing short of incredible.
At a time when most of the world was locked down and despondent, Pete Rush was sculpting a little bit of magic in Terrigal.
The local artist has received a huge amount of attention since the creation of his inspirational beach sculptures, which he started constructing during the early days of the pandemic.
“It started with the little war horse in Terrigal. I picked up a piece of effervescence and started making it. People started calling out to me, saying that it made their day,” he said.
“Everyone was so depressed and worried at the time, so I decided to make more sculptures. I think the sculptures invoked this sense of going back to basics and resonated at the right time.”
The driftwood sculpture – a symbolic three dimensional riderless Anzac horse – struck a chord with locals, so soon, more artworks began to appear all over the place.
Made from all natural materials, there has been a black swan made from dead vines on the mudflats in front of the Avoca Beach Scout Hall, a raven at Killcare, a pelican at the Skillion. Plus a dragon not far from that, an antelope drinking at the lagoon, and more.
The biggest and arguably most famous sculpture is a woolly mammoth at Copacabana, made just from driftwood and seaweed.
‘A hunch in conflict with a niggling doubt’ is one of his most unique creations featuring two fictional creatures head butting near the lake between Copacabana and Macmasters beaches.
The striking sculpture is best seen against the dusky sunset and crashing waves, which add to the dramatic effect of the moody piece.
He fashioned a futuristic concept called ‘Humpback Whale 20 million years from now’ in Spoon Bay. The evolutionary creation symbolizes a prediction of what a whale may look like in 20 million years if they evolve into land-dwelling omnivores.
Rush said that all the sculptures would eventually be pulled down by himself, because the beach views “belong to everyone”.
“I do all the work myself and don’t want help, I also don’t want these sculptures going in a gallery because they belong on the beach,” he adds.
Working mostly at night, he uses only a Stanley knife and a long gardening tool to complete his masterpieces.
Having done no sculpture work before, the Avoca writer previously worked on storyboards for film and advertising, along with some seascape paintings.
Pete hopes to continue the project over the coming months but after an unexpected refusal from council for the funding, there are hopes that a crowdfunding campaign will keep the energy alive.
“People have been so lovely – the response has been wonderful,” he adds.
Take time out to visit Pete’s sculptures whilst they are on show.
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