Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Rural Past Draws Artist into New Life; Norm Harris Started His Adult Life as a Farm Worker before Letting His Artistic Side Out

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Rural Past Draws Artist into New Life; Norm Harris Started His Adult Life as a Farm Worker before Letting His Artistic Side Out

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Flynn

MUNDUBBERA boys are not supposed to play with pencils.

Their hands are more equipped for gripping reins, cracking whips, scratching stubble.

In the citrus capital of Queensland, the pencil case usually goes out the window when the boys become men and get "real" jobs.

That is the case of most Mundubbera youngsters.

And it was the case for Norm Harris.

Born onto a dairy farm which later went into grain, a job on a harvester was the obvious choice for young Norm.

It was a career path he followed for more than 20 years, travelling across Australia and Asia in the construction, trucking and agriculture industries.

That was until about 10 years ago, when he had an artistic itch he started to scratch.

"I've always been able to draw," Mr Harris said.

"I just didn't take it as seriously.

"It really clicked for me when we were in Singapore and I saw some black and white drawings that had fetched a really good price and I thought, I can do that."

The revelation sent Mr Harris to the Queensland School of Fine Art where he honed his skills with the graphite pencil.

His work was immediately accepted across the region, taking out awards at the Bundaberg Show and featuring in exhibitions across the Wide Bay.

But something was still missing in his career.

Enter Michelle, Mr Harris's wife. They say behind every good man there is a good woman.

And this is never more evident than in Mr Harris's business, Pencil Monsta.

Michelle, an amateur photographer, provides the inspiration for her husband's drawings.

She shoots the photos, he draws the drawings.

"I go out and get the photos and then he uses them for the drawings," she said.

"He adds his own compositions and everything to give it his own touch."

Two years ago, with their two sons finished school, the pair decided to quit their jobs and travel Australia.

The tour gave Mr and Mrs Harris an opportunity to see the entire country.

The resulting work is a tribute to rural Australia, capturing the beauty of the bush.

"Australia is rich in fauna and flora and has the most inspirational outback culture," Mr Harris said. …

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