Ipswich’s heritage buildings emerging in Instagrammer’s ink

Meet an Instagrammer with a difference - putting pen to paper for a unique take on Ipswich's grand heritage buildings.
30 Oct 2017
Discover Ipswich, Staff Writer


Ipswich heritage inked on Instagram

Ipswich’s beautiful heritage buildings have caught the eye of a budding instragrammer whose account is filled not with mere photographs but charming sketches in ink.


Damien Johnson’s “captures” are drawn in ink, usually in under an hour, on a simple sketch pad with tear-out pages. In a modern digital era filled with perfect filtered and styled images, the quirkiness and raw originality of these hand drawn pictures lends a striking point of difference.



Ipswich’s old clock tower, Fourthchild restaurant, St Mary’s Church, the converted church now known as Studio 188 and other landmarks and heritage homes have featured so far. And with plans to relocate in the new year from Toowoomba to the Ipswich region where his partner lives. Damien expects there’ll be even more of an Ipswich presence emerging in his @damiencreates Instagram account. Perhaps even a book, like the one he created in Toowoomba.



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He says the heritage buildings of Ipswich (there are 7000 heritage listed buildings in the city) had been a surprise to discover over recent months.

“Ipswich has to be one of south east Queensland’s most underrated cities,” he wrote on a recent post beneath his rendition of an elaborate Queenslander home.

“There is an absolute glut of beautiful cottages and homesteads – literally thousands of stunning homes…”


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Damien credits his sketching hobby with helping him recover from a dark phase of depression after he lost both his job and his marriage months apart.
“The sketching became the thing that got me up in the morning,” he says.

“I would force myself to get up out of bed and take that first step and second step … and walk into the centre of Toowoomba to find a building.”


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As an untrained artist he likes that his drawings have a raw and rugged edge.
“When I first started I was hoping to be far more lifelike and realistic in my goals but now I like my style, there’s an unrefined nature about it.
“Things are still identifiable so you can tell which building it is but at the same time it’s a bit like a caricature or a cartoon.
“There’s something that communicates the fact that I am just a messy, flawed human being in how I draw and that’s relatable I think.”


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He is reminded of an interview he heard with Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters.
“He was talking about playing impromptu covers during their performances and they will mess it up all the time because they haven’t really rehearsed it all that well, and that’s the beauty – people appreciate it because they’re so used now to seeing everything perfect.”


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Damien currently fits his sketching in around his day job in aged care, preferring to whip out a pen in his spare time than trawl through Facebook. He has even begun offering to draw any building for $50 and has had a great response from Ipswich folk taking up the offer. You’ll find him on Instagram and Facebook as @damiencreates


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Discover Ipswich Staff Writer
Rocky the Rock Wallaby is a Sagittarius who lives at the Ipswich Nature Centre and often contributes to Discover Ipswich in his spare time. When he's not busy showing tourists around, blogging or hanging out with his cute and fluffy mates at the Nature Centre, he likes to hit the gym for a leg session, graze on quinoa salad and ponder the possibilities of the universe.

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