Credit: Supplied

Dion Horstmans. New Zealand born. Bondi-based. When first meeting the artist, he didn’t reveal much more than a quintessential Australian bloke, with a keen eye for a good whiskey. Sitting in a dimly-lit bar underneath Sydney’s famous Martin Place, I quickly learned of his impressive story – a talent who went against the grain to follow a passion. The first of an impressive line of Australian creatives, the sculptor has teamed up with Bushmills Irish Whiskey to tell his story.

Horstmans has always considered himself as a creative, “ever since I could hold a pencil”. Growing up with a fascination for art he never really knew he’d later find himself in the film industry, building props and models for movie sets. “What film did was, I got to cut my teeth on a whole bunch of different techniques. Wood, plastic, steel, glass, rubber, silicon,” he told ICON. From that period, sparked a curiosity for large scale works created from industrial materials.

Playing with light and shade, the artist created a whole new artistic concept within his work now acting as an overarching theme in his practice. “How I generally work, is that I start off with a piece and shine a light through it, then it casts a shadow and I build around that. I can turn the piece on its side and it will create another [shadow],” he explained.

“There’s something unique about the element of time throughout the creation process. Once inspiration hits it can take anywhere from moments to months for the logistical elements to come together – the realisation of the idea is the real art of the work.”

Now, with artworks created for corporate companies as well as small private commissions, his full-time career is well and truly blazing.

As part of his unique collaboration with Bushmills #BlackBushStories, Dion has created a one-of-a-kind bar tray made from steel and limited edition ‘Bushmills flasks’, perfectly accompanying the quality liquor. Crafted in small batches at the Old Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland its unique recipe – matured in Oloroso Sherry casks – upholds a deep intense character – like that of Horstmans graphic pieces.

To learn more on the Bondi-based artist, visit his website, here. And for more on #BlackBushStories, check out their Facebook page.