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Art Lovers Australia Kellie North

Kellie North's artwork is featured on The Block 2019

Gold Coast features heavily on The Block 2019

Natalie O'Driscoll | October 2019

Thanks to a key supplier deal forged by the owners of Gold Coast-based online gallery Art Lovers Australia, Gold Coast artists got the opportunity to be a part of the 2019 season of the hit television show.

Avid ‘The Block’ fan Nancy Donaldson and co-owner Jarrod Knight, launched Art Lovers Australia in 2016, forming a new marketplace for contemporary Australian art. Artist-run, the business is a curated online gallery space that also provides workshops, artist representation and tours. And now, they can add supplying The Block to their list of credentials.

“We’ve loved working with The Block and all the contestants, helping them choose art for the huge spaces of The Oslo has been an amazing experience,” says co-director Nancy.

The product of an eighteen month pitch and negotiation process, the key art supplier deal saw each team of contestants provided with a voucher for $10,000 to spend in the online store, with Nancy and Jarrod on hand at all hours to provide assistance with art selection.

“We could get a call at any time,” say Nancy. “If one of us was driving, the other person was on the tablet scrolling through pieces while we talked on the speaker.”

Over the course of filming, the work of 25 Australian artists was supplied to the contestants by Nancy and Jarrod. And two of those coveted spots belonged to Gold Coast artists Kellie North and Jeska Valk.

Jeska cried when she was told that her piece ‘Mother’ was being utilised by contestants Elise and Matt.

“‘I’m going to be on THE BLOCK!!!’ I screamed,” laughs Jeska.  “I couldn’t believe my artwork was chosen.  Elise said that she was so happy to use my art… It was a thrill to hear from her, she’s just so lovely and supportive.”

Jeska’s exquisitely detailed portrait ‘Mother’, a work more than 300 hours in the making, conveys protection, warmth and forgiveness.  The judges were very impressed with the contestants’ choice of art for the bedroom, with judge Neale Whitaker particularly taken with it. Jeska’s profile almost immediately received a boost from the exposure.

“I have had a significant jump in followers as well as personal messages about my work and where to buy it from,” she tells us.

Award-winning Gold Coast artist Kellie North has also benefited from her appearance on the show, particularly because her pieces became a part of a winning room, funnily enough, also chosen by Elise and Matt.

It was a Thursday night when Nancy called Kellie to tell her that the contestant had chosen three framed pieces from her Sound of Silence collection, a stunning and eerie underwater portrait series.

“To be honest, I was silent for a moment, just registering what she said, then I said ‘Really, are you serious, how exciting!’,” exclaims Kellie.

“Then she proceeded to tell me they needed the pieces down in Melbourne within a few days and could we make this happen? ‘Of course we can make this happen!’ I said, and we did.”

Kellie flew the pieces down herself and was met by the production crew, given a hard hat and hi-vis vest and was escorted to meet the Perth couple in their apartment.

“For an artist, to showcase your work nationally on a hit show like this, is such a wonderful opportunity, and I am truly grateful to everyone that made it happen’,” says Kellie.

Kellie’s pieces contributed to the contestants’ win for their Formal Lounge Room, taking out the coveted $35,000 prize of Gaggenau Kitchen Appliances.

Art Lovers Australia will be running an exhibition from the 25 of their artists who will have, by then, been publicly featured on The Block, with artists coming from all over Australia. It opens on Saturday 2 November. Visit artloversaustralia.com.au for more.

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