Spotlight | Dan Elborne, Artist

a born and bred toowoomba artist getting national attention

Dan Elborne (12 of 13).jpg

dan elborne is a born and bred toowoomba boy.

After studying at USQ, he has developed his own practice as a ceramics artist, keeping his ties to his alma mater by teaching there too. His latest piece of work, Deathgate, was over three years in the making, launching in May 2019 at the brand new Goods Shed. It was even featured in The Design Files, the country’s most highly-regarded design blog.

We sat down with Dan to learn more about his background, dreams for Toowoomba, and perfect weekend.

Dan Elborne Deathgate
Dan Elborne (8 of 13).jpg
Dan Elborne (9 of 13).jpg

Name: Dan Elborne
Occupation: artist
Known For: his latest exhibition, Deathgate
Born: Toowoomba
Local since: forever!

First things first: why Toowoomba?

I was born and raised here in Toowoomba. I’ve spent some extended periods overseas – in France, Denmark, Iceland and Japan – but have always considered this city as ‘home’.

What do you do?

I suppose I wear a few hats at the moment. First and foremost I’m an artist and pretty exclusively work with ceramic materials. My art practice is focused on installation work, where I produce handmade multiples that collectively exhibit as a single artwork. Alongside that I’m currently teaching ceramics at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) and also work as an Associate Technical Officer for the Visual Arts at USQ.

what have you learned about running a business in Toowoomba?

Considering my art practice as a business, Toowoomba is a great place to establish yourself. There are a wide range of exhibition opportunities here and close by. There is also a growing and extremely supportive creative community in this city. Increasingly, I see Toowoomba supporting the arts – especially over the past five years. I believe the First Coat Festival and First Coat Studios, former initiatives like RAYGUN Contemporary Art Projects, MADE Creative Space and The GRID Hybrid Arts Collective, along with the throughlines of creative arts at USQ and the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery have made this city much more of an icon for the arts. The locals here seem hungry for arts-based events and, in my experience, are very open to challenging work.

There’s a slight challenge being removed from the ‘hub’ cities of Sydney and Melbourne for visual arts but cheaper living costs and more accessible studio spaces in a city like this is a real asset for working at scale and not getting caught in the hyper competitive environment of larger cities.

What does an average day look like for you?

Each day varies depending on classes, the broad requirements of working as a tech and whatever project I am focused on at the time. No two days are the same for me really. Generally I wake up, do some admin, work a full day at USQ, spend a few hours in the studio working on my own projects, go home, work on proposals, applications and general admin, then sleep and do it all again.

What does your ideal Toowoomba weekend look like?

For both days: having a bit of a sleep in with my partner, getting breakfast together and then a solid day in the studio with uninterrupted time on my project work, then some kind of ‘date night’: dinner somewhere nice, a movie with wine and chocolate or something like that.

Only a Toowoomba local would know…

That we’re on top of a volcano. I guess a lot of people wouldn’t know that.


PERK UP: Ground Up

RELAX: Japanese Gardens

EAT: Sofras

INDULGE: Bakers Duck

SHOP: I’m not much of a shopper, but get a lot of supplies from Murray’s Art and Framing

CATCH UP: Bar Wunder

BE INSPIRED: Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery (TRAG)

See more of Dan’s work – and follow him on social media – here.


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