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Transitions 2023

Mentorship program for emerging visual artists

In partnership with Townsville City Galleries, Umbrella delivered the third iteration of the Transitions program in 2023. Transitions supports recent arts graduates (including high-school and TAFE graduates) and emerging artists to develop their skills and confidence to forge a career in the arts. Six successful artist mentees (comprised of 4 individuals and one duo-collective) each self-defined their outcomes and worked through important steps to achieve their goals. They are being mentored one-on-one by established North Queensland artists. The mentees learn to build / develop a studio practice and portfolio, develop professional arts skills and exhibit in a small group exhibition.

Read about the broader Transitions project here, about the exhibition outcome here and explore the participants and individual project details below. 

Mentee - Mentor
Sharron Condren - Ricky Emmerton
Frank Hollingsworth - Neil Binnie
Kit Holloway & Nora Gigney (Squeak and Bubble) - Baret One
Natalie Ward - Jenny Mulcahy  
William Loveday - Barbara Cheshire


The mentees exhibited some of their work in progress and finished work at Umbrella in Transitions 2023

Introductory intensives and group critique sessions

The 2023 program commenced with introductory sessions at Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts. Umbrella's Gallery Manager and Curator Daniel Qualischefski led the mentees and a few mentors in discussions to help the group bond and share their goals for the program. Daniel also led professional development sessions around writing artists CVs and art texts and applying for exhibitions. Umbrella's Business and Partnerships Manager Alan Marlowe ran a session on photography for artists, developing their skills to help photograph their artwork. The group were joined by guest artists Ann Vardanega and Sheree Kinlyside, who spoke about their arts practices and careers, with tips and insights for the emerging artists. Rachel Cunningham, Senior Education and Programs Officer from Townsville City Galleries also contributed to the discussions. 

Beyond the one-on-one mentorship sessions, the mentees have also attended group critique sessions monthly, sharing their artwork progress and receiving ideas, suggestions and critiques from their peers, some of the individual mentors, staff from Umbrella and Townsville City Galleries and guest mentors Marion Gaemers, Susan Peters Nampitjin and Lisa Ashcroft. 

Alan Marlowe (Umbrella) presenting to participants in the group intensive photography session. Photograph: Daniel Qualischefski. 

Mentor Ricky Emmerton (far right), with mentees left to right: William Loveday, Natalie Ward, Sharron Condren, Frank Hollingsworth, and Kit Holloway and Nora Gigney (Squeak and Bubble Art). Photograph: Daniel Qualischefski. 

Daniel Qualischefski (Umbrella) presenting to participants of a group intensive professional development session. Photograph: Erin Ricardo. 

Participating artists left to right: Kit Holloway and Nora Gigney (Squeak and Bubble Art, mentees); Ricky Emmerton (mentor); Rachel Cunningham (Townsville City Galleries); Natalie Ward (mentee); Barbara Cheshire (mentor); William Loveday (mentee); Sharron Condren (mentee); Neil Binnie (mentor); Frank Hollingsworth (mentee). Photograph: Daniel Qualischefski. 

Frank & Neil

Frank Hollingsworth has been mentored by artist Neil Binnie to learn more about colour theory and pattern repetition. Frank has been drawing on his architectural background to work with digital and hand-drawn designs, culminating in an impressive repeated floral design that will be drawn and painted onto paper.

Frank and Neil working together in Neil's studio. Photograph courtesy Neil Binnie.

Frank's work in progress design. Photograph: Townsville City Galleries.

Frank's work in progress design. Photograph: Townsville City Galleries.

Frank presenting his work in the final Transitions group critique session. Photograph: Alan Marlowe.

Natalie & Jenny

Natalie Ward has been mentored by established ceramicist and artist Jenny Mulcahy. Natalie has been developing her knowledge in glazing techniques, surface decoration and sculptural forms, with a focus on angular vessels and tableware forms.

Natalie sharing one of her embedded marbled clay works, with geological-inspired patterns, in the second group critique session. Photograph: Townsville City Galleries. 

Natalie and Jenny working together in Jenny's studio. Photograph courtesy the artists.

Some of Natalie's unfired ceramic vessels. Photograph courtesy the artists.

One of Natalie's textured bowl experiments. Photograph: Townsville City Galleries. 

Squeak & Bubble with Baret One

The artist collective Squeak & Bubble (Kit Holloway and Nora Gigney) have been mentored by street artist Baret One. Working collaboratively, the pair have explored spray-painting techniques to work towards creating their own murals and works on boards. They have continued expressing the colourful aesthetic of their previous installations in this new medium and are looking to incorporate UV lighting into the display of their fluorescent murals.

Kit and Nora with their mentor Baret One. Photograph: Daniel Qualischefski.

Squeak and Bubble sharing their use of PPEs in preparation for spray painting! Photograph courtesy the artists. 

One of Kit and Nora's experiments. Photograph courtesy the artists.

Artists Kit and Nora experimenting and testing their aerosol skills on a mural work. Photograph courtesy the artists.  

Sharron & Ricky

Sharron Condren has been mentored by artist Ricky Emmerton. Sharron has been developing her painting skills and colour theory within the context of hybridised floral portraiture.   

Sharron presenting her journal work and concepts in a group critique session. Photograph: Amanda Galea.

Sharron and Ricky with Sharron's work in progress painting. Photograph courtesy the artists.

Will & Barb

William Loveday has been mentored by established artist Barbara Cheshire for his self-portraiture project. Barbara has provided extensive advice and support around portraiture, colour theory and oil painting techniques.  

Will and his mentor Barbara. Photograph: Daniel Qualischefski. 

A selection of Will's blind contour self-portrait experiments. Photograph courtesy the artists.

Some of Will's self-portraiture experiments. Photograph: Amanda Galea.

Will presenting the progress of his self-portrait painting in a group critique session at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery. Photograph: Townsville City Galleries. 

Transitions 2023 Exhibition

18 August - 24 September 2023 at Umbrella. More details here.

The Transitions program is a partnership between Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts and Townsville City Galleries. 

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408 Flinders Street,
Gurambilbarra (Townsville),
Qld, 4810 Australia

PO Box 2394,
Gurambilbarra (Townsville),
Qld, 4810 Australia

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Acknowledgement of Country

Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts respectfully acknowledges the Wulgurukaba of Gurambilbarra and Yunbenun and the surrounding groups of our region - Bindal, Gugu Badhan, Nywaigi, Warrgamay, Bandjin and Gudjal - as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather, share and celebrate local creative practice. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first people of Australia. They have never ceded sovereignty and remain strong in their enduring connection to land and Culture.

Umbrella is a Dealer Member of the Indigenous Art Code. This means we are committed to fair and ethical trade with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, and transparency in the promotion and sale of artwork. As a Dealer Member and signatory to the Code we must act fairly, honestly, professionally and in good conscience in all direct or indirect dealings with artists.


Umbrella is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, part of the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy, and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, state and territory governments. | Umbrella is supported by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and receives funding from Creative Australia through the Australian Cultural Fund. | Townsville City Council is a funding partner of Umbrella's program.