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The origins and evolution of Cronulla Folk, a local artistic odyssey. 

Discover how a transformative trip to Sri Lanka and a serendipitous encounter with illustrative art sparked the genesis of Cronulla Folk nearly six years ago.

In a candid conversation, David Rees from Cronulla Folk shares insights into the digital illustration domain, the essence of locality, and the intriguing interplay between art and technology. 

Artistic impression of a Cronulla lifesaving tower

When did you start Cronulla Folk and how did it come about?

So, Cronulla Folk came about after a trip to Sri Lanka and then a visit to a local art gallery on the South Coast, which was exhibiting illustrative artworks. I realised then that I wanted to move towards more of an illustration-based portfolio. It seemed obvious to begin art reflective of my local environment. That was almost 6 years ago, since then the work has led me to a much more rewarding career, creatively speaking, and I've been lucky enough to be commissioned by a number of great Aussie brands. 

How many artists work out of your studio? It’s a one-man band - I am Cronulla Folk!

Is all of your art based in/around Cronulla and the Sutherland Shire? Whilst I love basing my works on Cronulla, I’ve sold a heap of pieces based on other great Aussie destinations, and some international-based art too.

Artistic VW Beetle with surfboard

How do you think the emergence of AI [computer-generated creations] will impact digital art and digital art makers?

AI is definitely going to make the world of illustration a tougher place to work in. As a designer, I'm now using AI every day and it's only in its infancy. It's hard to predict how quickly it will replace the need for commercial digital artists, but I think eventually, and unfortunately, it will.

Do you hold exhibitions? How can locals find your work?

We don’t currently have any exhibitions planned, but we have sold art through many local galleries. We currently have several pieces on show at Local & Yonder in Cronulla Mall.

Locals can also jump online and order from the website:

As a Cronulla Local, what’s your favourite:

  • Local Venue: Brass Monkey

  • Coffee:  Mint Coffee Shop, Gunnamatta

  • Shop: Cronulla Surf Co

Cronulla beach watchtower


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