‘Futura’. Solo show at the Orson and Blake Gallery, Sydney. 2008.


Dion Horstmans came onto my radar thanks to the lovely Lucy of Love at 1st Sight, which I blogged about a little while ago. Lucy kindly sent me an e-mail introducing me to Dion’s work thinking I would like it, and boy was she right. I quickly discovered that Dion didn’t have a website or an online portfolio site (I know – What? Dion! Come on dude!!!) so I thought I’d do my bit in promoting his fantastic work through a feature interview. So here we are boys and girls. Also, it is definitely no secret that I love geometry, and Dion’s abstract geometric wall sculptures (in fun fluoro colours!) instantly caught my attention.

Originally from Wellington in New Zealand, now living in Sydney, Dion spent 15 years working in the film industry making props and models for movie sets, before becoming a full time artist. His work has been a part of a number of group and solo shows, and he is currently represented by the Flinders Lane Gallery in Melbourne.

Please join me in thanking Dion for his time and for being a part of yellowtrace. And, whilst Dion is in the process of creating an online space for himself (right Dion!?) you can get in touch with him by sending him an e-mail at dionhorstmans[at]gmail.com. Just in case you have a project for which you would like to commission his work… You never know.

x dana


These pieces are welded together and finished in 2pac poly finish.

Hello Dion, welcome to yellowtrace and thank you for taking the time to e-chat. Could you please give us a quick introduction on yourself?

I’m 43. I grew up between The Cook Islands and New Zealand. I left New Zealand at 18, went back to The Cook Islands then on to French Polynesia. I island hopped for 9 months living on fish and coconuts…it was awesome. Europe, the Middle East then South East Asia. I ran out of money and jumped a one way flight to Darwin. Darwin was mad crazy, late November every one was going troppo. I bought a kombi with a mate and drove to Cairns, sailed down the eastern coast, jumped boat at Bundaberg and thumbed a lift to Noosa.

Noosa to Falls Creek and then back to Sydney, I kicked around for a few years, met some life long friends, worked on doors of clubs at nights and sculpted during the days, I traveled to Papua New Guinea (PNG) with a mate collecting artifacts and then landed a job on a film, worked in the then booming film industry for 12 years making props… A paid education, it taught me how to use all the tools I use daily, it gave me a base to work from, the long hours and problem solving.

I had had enough after finishing on Superman and have basically been sculpting since. I make props for commercials and do a lot of branding… I try and draw every day, I play in my studio every day, some days I get a huge amount done other days the allure of the ocean at the end of the street wins and I’m seduced by the golden sands and the rolling waves.

#104. Beautiful shapes and amazing shadows.


When did you first decide that you wanted to become an artist? Do you remember your very first piece or your first commission?

I’ve always wanted to be an artist, ever since I could hold a pencil I’ve drawn. I dropped out of art school soon after getting in, I’d been in working after school from 16, poor starving lentil eating students really frustrated me. I didn’t know what medium I was suited for, the dead painters that the lectures were trying to teach me about were not exciting me, so I left, traveled for a while. I’ve always drawn, mostly figurative sculptural forms.

I didn’t know that 3-D sculpture was what I needed to do until 1996, I’d had a daughter and just arrived back from a buying trip in PNG. I was walking on the high tide line when I found a piece of sea sponge – that little twisted sea thing became the beginning of a never ending story. My roly poly works, very different to my geometrical shadow works.

1-D shadow. Welded steel and 2pac poly finish.


What are you seeking to portray in your work? What is fundamental to your practice – your philosophy and your process?

I’m not sure if I’m trying to portray anything – it’s a constantly morphing practice, back wards and forwards. I leap frog whole ideas then go back and fill in the blanks. I’m just trying to do it, to create every day to push myself and my ideas, drawing inspiration from everything.

What was one of your biggest lessons learned since starting out?

An idea is a nano-second, the journey is in making the idea, formulating it, working out how to do it, mostly when your on that trip you have a gazillion other ideas.

Believing in your passion.

To be able to ask and then to listen.

What are some of your methods to staying motivated, focused, and expressive?

I wake up every morning at 6 – 6.30 and run soft sand laps of Bondi Beach, it clears my head and gets my heart pumping. I treat my art like a job – I’m in my studio 6 – 10 hours most days, if I’m stuck I’ll go and have a swim or run some more.

Dion’s roly poly sculpture above and series ‘Future Primitive’ studies below.


Who or what are some of your influences? What other artists, peers and creatives in general do you admire? Other sources of inspiration?

I’m working on 3 bodies of work, my geometrical shadow works that are drawn from the shapes and patterns of Polynesia. A body of sculptures also born from the influences of Polynesia which I call ‘future primitive’…they are drawn from the body, very sexy, kinda brutal. Then I have my roly poly works, 3-D sculptures, cut outs and 100’s of drawings.

These are really organic in essence drawn from nature…still very figurative.

I love street art, its bold and direct.

What has been your favourite project so far?

My most recent piece was for Adam Haddow of SJB for The Alba foyer at 437 Bourke St Darlinghust. It’s the largest piece I’ve done to date, there were a few restrictions and I had a criteria to meet. The budget was also set, it was cool to work on a larger scale work.

I was worried about access… it plagued me at night.

Dion’s sculpture at The Alba foyer, 437 Bourke St Darlinghust in Sydney. Commissioned by Adam Haddow of SJB.


What’s next – can you share with us your vision and some of your goals?

Scale…I want to work on larger pieces for public spaces. I have another solo show in August this year at the Flinders Lane Gallery in Melbourne – I’ll be playing with space and shadow some more, working with different gauge steel rods, layering piece over piece… Working on a bigger scale, free standing as opposed to wall hanging.

Maybe floating…

Dion’s work currently for sale (or recently sold) through Flinders Lane Gallery in Melbourne. More info here.


Let’s Get Personal.

What are the qualities you most like about yourself?

I’m not scared to ask how do you do that…

What are the qualities you most like in others?

When they can answer how…

Studio studies.


Apart from your work, what other interests or hobbies do you have?

The beach, my two daughters, American muscle cars, reading and the cinema.

Oh and I love watching contemporary dance…fit healthy bodies moving like water or the wind.

What is your most treasured belonging?

My 1964 Pontiac Parissenne.

Scene’s from Dion’s studio, including his wall of images above featuring many examples of Pontiac Parissenne (if I’m not mistaken).


It’s not very cool, but I really like…

My 1982 Toyota Hilux work ute that cost me $400 (came with out a drivers side door handle)

Your favourite joke?

In all honesty I can never remember jokes, or  I get it all mixed up in the delivery.

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I can cook.

Dion’s daughters and their drawings. Adorable.


[Images courtesy of Dion Horstmans.]

About The Author

Founder & Editor

With a disarming blend of authority and approachability, Dana is a former refugee-turned-global design visionary. Through her multi-faceted work as a creative director, keynote speaker, editor, curator, interior designer and digital publisher, Dana empowers others to appreciate and engage with design in transformative ways, making the sometimes intimidating world of design accessible to everyone, regardless of their familiarity with the subject. Dana's been catapulted to the status of a stalwart global influencer, with recognition from industry heavyweights such as AD Germany, Vogue Living, Elle Décor Italia and Danish RUM Interiør Design, who have named as one of the Top True Global Influencers of the Design World and counted her among the most visionary female creatives on the planet. Her TEDx talk—"Design Can Change the Way You See the World"— will challenge and transform your understanding of design's omnipresent and profound influence. Through her vast experience in interiors, architecture and design, Dana challenges the prevailing rapid image culture, highlighting the importance of originality, sustainability, connecting with your values and learning to "see" design beyond the aesthetic.

8 Responses

  1. Kirsty

    Oh my! I am beside myself. I love geometry as much as you do and this work is amazing. Thanks for introducing us to such talent. Off to browse the gallery website!

  2. Kylie

    Thanks Dana for introducing another talented artist to us mere mortals. I’m particularly fond of his ‘Future Primitive’ series. His geometric work is also amazing. Thanks again for sharing.

  3. yellowtrace

    Kirsty & Kylie – you are most welcome and thank you for your lovely comments. So happy that you love Dion’s work. He’s very clever…

  4. Lauren

    Thanks for sharing this amazing artwork – I love it, just love it! I’ll have to store this one away in my brain somewhere, great inspiration.


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