2 August, 2020
After Darryl Ely’s football career was cut short due to a motorbike accident, he needed something to keep his mind and hands active while he was recuperating.
After Darryl Ely’s football career was cut short due to a motorbike accident 40 years ago, he needed something to keep his mind and hands active while he was recuperating.
Darryl started making art with bits and pieces he had laying around the house. That decision lead him to forge a career as an artist making objects from scrap metal, kitchen accessories, waste timber and whatever he could get his hands on.
“I love going bush and finding things that I can turn into art, things like driftwood, old mining equipment and old railway timber and iron,” he said
“The items I find designate the shape of my sculptures."
Darryl’s works have now sold at galleries across Australia with much of his artwork finding its way into the homes of discerning collectors from overseas.
“I’m constantly looking for materials at second-hand shops, garage sales and car wreckers,” he said
“I’ve made coconut trees from forks, goannas from spanners and birds from scrap metal.”
One of Darryl’s biggest inspirations is animals. “Doing a sculpture of a person is more involved and takes more time, animals are easier and they seem to sell.”
Part of Darryl's passion comes from trying to avoid the throw-away world. “When I see some metal lying around I don’t like throwing it out, when I can make something from it that hopefully lasts, even my furniture is made from hand.”
For the past 20 years, Darryl was selling his artwork at Tolga Woodworks but now he sells at a gallery in Kuranda and the Mareeba Art Gallery, next to the Heritage centre.
“I started at the artist’s cooperative at Kuranda and that was the highlight, we sold a lot of recycled art back then,” he said
“When 9/11 happened a lot of the wealthy Americans stopped travelling, so a lot of the high-end artwork stopped selling.
“I used to have artwork in Townsville, Port Douglas and Cairns, but all those galleries have now gone.”