There was a huge turtle made of bottles hanging on an exterior wall of the house.
I stopped. The house immediately attracted me. It was colourful and bright, an open door, so typical of a Queenslander. My eye was drawn to a window right at the far end of the house, framing the mountains onto which it looked out onto.
Its colourful sides
It took me nearly a year to go back to the street but I am excited to share it all with you. This time, egged on by a friend, I knocked on the door and walked in - Tony Rice, the artist, in residence at 41 Mornington St, Red Hill, was very welcoming. We were shown into his small gallery at the front of the house and sat chatting about his youth, his passions, his travels and upbringing and there was so much there in his life that he can be rightly proud of.
A little sign on the door says 'Tony the Potter' and he describes how he started in ceramics as a young man and has now returned to them.
There were some beautiful examples of them in his little gallery. They are influenced by the simplicity and form of many Japanese designs. If there is anything that characterises Tony, it is his multi-faceted and multi-talented approach to life. He wants to explore and be inspired by everything around him, so his paintings are of the MacDonnell ranges in Northern Territory, his Kites after his visits and love affair with Japan and his travel in many Asian countries, his music because he likes belting out a good song and has the talent to do so, while encouraging others to do it and his community work because that's the kind of bloke that he is.
His most recent work has focused on the terrible toll of plastic in our oceans and waters and he has used his work to make that disturbing message clear to all who see his creations. Somewhat dystopian, one-eyed, multi-faced creatures all made with plastic picked off the beaches here. It's hard not to be instantly attracted to them as you approach them and then reel back in horror as you identify the bits of thongs, the toothbrushes, the plastic containers and other trash that have been collected and carefully placed to make them the plastic beings they are.
The pelagic birds which are suspended from his ceilings are full of other plastic collected and this of course is a real tragedy, which is unfolding daily and endangering our birdlife with lasting damage to their numbers and ability to survive.
To me this type of art comes directly from the heart, the sentiments being expressed by an artist who has met and confronted the dilemma and needs to explore ways and means of making that message known to a wider audience. Tony does that.
His little gallery is open to the public every Saturday afternoon from 2-5 pm. He does not use mobile phones but is happy to have a message on his landline or by email - the surest way to know if he is home is to see if his blue car with his name is parked just outside - another thing that immediately attracted my eye.