For many, special occasions and holidays are a chance to relax with friends and family, but for one Port Macquarie resident, special holidays are a chance to show his creative side.
Moving to Port Macquarie nearly three years ago from Queensland, Ric Thomson-Jones decided to bring his passion for temporary art with him.
The idea started after his father became sick and he wanted to do something to cheer him up, and has sprung into regular art displays that have the whole community talking.
“The idea first came because my father was sick and I wanted to do something that could bring him joy,” Ric said.
“He was house bound so I would make installations at the beach next to his house that he could see and because it was at the beach other people passing by would have a look when the walked past.
“When I moved to Port Macquarie I did question if I should keep doing it, and in the end I decided yes, because if I could bring that same joy to people here I would.”
Ric said at every major holiday or special day – Anzac Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, Easter, Father’s Day, Sorry Day – he makes an art installation at Shelly Beach for people to enjoy.
“The first time I did it at Shelly Beach I had people come up to me all day to ask about it, and all of them had smiles on their faces,” he said.
“In the lead up to the day I will be at Shelly Beach collecting materials that wash up or moving sand to a certain area so the night before the day I can come down after dark and make my creation.
“I don’t usually have a plan about what I will make, but rather an idea and then it just sort of flows from that as I start making it.”
He said sometimes there is a page explaining what the art is, and in the case of the installation for the long weekend, Ric said he decided to dedicate the piece to the Queen Elizabeth II birthday.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to do something for the long weekend, but I thought if I can just bring joy to one person it will be worth it.
“Overnight I put up a hills hoist and wrote a letter to the Queen saying I was giving this to her as it was probably something she didn’t have.
“I mean for a lady who has everything, what could you possibly get her?”
He said it is great that people are enjoying his creations.
“If I can make one person smile then why not?
“I also usually write a little bit about what the installation is about so people know the context around what I have done.”