The Adelaide Airport’s newest art commission is a breakout work by emerging artist Steven Bellosguardo.
Photography, Brianna Speight
Words and Portrait, Sharmonie Cockayne
As an emerging artist, to make the proposal stage of a large-scale public art commission is pretty rare, but to win one is near unthinkable. So, for 30 year old local artist Steven Bellosguardo to win the Adelaide airport’s commission is an immense achievement for all emerging artists here in Adelaide and the artist himself.
Steven’s piece, entitled Flight Paths is newly and permanently installed at the international arrivals gate at the airport. The commission is unique and coveted – the space is incredibly large, it’s a high traffic area, and the artwork is the first thing that people see when they come into the country.
“I just sat and watched international arrivals and, every 20 minutes or half an hour, a new plane load of people roll in and it’s just all of these Love Actually embracing moments. It’s pretty emotional. It’s kind of one of the closest things you get to raw human emotion on tap,” says Steven. “I wanted to do something that engaged with that feeling… to draw on real human connection.”
The airport’s façade is glass, and Steven’s piece makes great use of the light that filters through it. “It’s almost a little bit like a sundial – the work changes throughout the day with the light and the time, the shadow, and also the weather,” he says.
The piece deviates from his previous work, most of which is figurative and is made of steel. Flight Paths marks a real moment in his career by branching off in a different direction. Being a stonemason, working around construction and landscaping, and also working with metal over the past five years, Steven is practiced in work that demands hands-on construction and fabrication. However, although this new piece is a deviation in material and aesthetic, his approach is no different.
“With this one, it just made sense to be involved as much as possible, which was interesting and exciting and at times painful and excruciating with the long hours. The install lasted 19 nights, and there was a team of four working for maybe a third of it. The other part was myself, an offsider and a scissor lift,” he explains.
Beyond his talent and his heritage (Steven is the grandson of Bert Flugelman, best known for The Spheres AKA The Mall’s Balls), Steven’s head-on approach to a challenge might just be the answer to his early success as an artist.
“I like having the opportunity to play and follow curiosities, to not limit myself to expectations of what my practice is meant to look like. I like the idea of trying new things and working outside my comfort zone… and I enjoy being involved in the process as much as possible.”
With his admirable ambition and quiet confidence, it’s no wonder the Adelaide Airport took a chance on Steven.