Is there anything Louis Wayling can’t do?
We’ve never seen it. The Sydney-based artist is talented in the most literal sense—he makes pizza good, he surfs great, he paints phenomenally… he does it all, and with ease. After taking over the reins of his local pizza shop—and Avalon institution—Cranzgots at just 21 years old (what were you doing at 21?), Louis has been firing the ovens by night, and making stunning art in his studio by day. Louis creates vibrant glimpses into the natural world around him, dreamt up from his vantage point high in the hills overlooking Sydney’s Pittwater. With thick brushstrokes and a preference for distinctly Australian plant and animal life, Louis’ works are an ode to his corner of paradise, where he lives and works between the gum trees and palm trees. We dropped in on Louis at his North Beaches pad to get a sneak peek at the makings of his next series and find out his recipe for creative flow… and maybe a delicious, doughy pizza.
Your new series of artworks feels quite different stylistically from previous works. How has your art-making evolved over the past year or so?
I think it’s important to constantly change things up a bit… good for the mind and soul to experiment with new techniques. In the last year, I’ve enjoyed working against the negative space, constantly challenging layers upon textured and flat surfaces.
What has to be going on in your studio space for you to be at your peak creatively?
Well, I must be in a good headspace to create. To create, I must feed the mind with wholesome activities like surfing and movement, and good music is important during the process; it allows me to dance with my paintings and immerse myself inside them. And a doobie and incense dragon blood burnin’.
What’s been blasting on your JBL speakers in the studio?
I like feel-good music lately. Some swift, smooth jazz—Stan Getz, Ali Farka Touré. I’m always blasting the old soul, blues vibe while I’m painting.
How important is being immersed in the natural surroundings of the Northern Beaches for your work?
I paint where I live and my room is my studio. My works have always displayed a very Australiana theme, how the natural world is perceived through my soul, acknowledging the people of this land, Kuringai. I feel blessed to have grown up by the ocean on such beautiful subtropical earth; it’s easy to be constantly inspired when you see life everywhere.
Your paintings feel intrinsically linked to Australia and capturing its natural beauty. Are you inspired by any other particular artists in this same realm?
A couple of my favourite artist such as Margaret Preston, Brett Whiteley, and my all-time favourite G painter, Picasso. My art is a necessity for me, I have to create to balance life’s emotions. I didn’t go to art school—I believe one’s style is a story of growth, to digest your practice and master your soul.
Aside from painting, you also make damn good pizza at your restaurant Cranzgot’sn. What’s your go-to topping at the moment?
Yeah, six years of eating pizza. In fact, I just sold the pizza shop to focus on my art full time, but my go-to is a standard pepperoni pineapple and jalapeños.
You’re on a deadline. What’s on the speakers getting you to the finish line?
I would say ‘This Must be the Place’ by Talking Heads, every time.
If money, time and space were no object, what would your dream studio space be?
In an old, high ceilinged palace on the cliff by the ocean, but still with tropical farmland, surrounded by peacocks and ponies.
What’s next for Louis Wayling?
I have a big show coming up in June featuring the last two years of work, more info will be out soon. I’m then getting a parrot, heading ’round Australia for the year to paint and create and explore in my bus.
Get your mitts on those good looking speakers in the photos by heading over to JBL right here.