Dan Prior

Ever had that person who you’ve known for a while but never really knew them? You know, those people that may be regular customers or the girl you pass each morning walking your pup or that guy you always embarrass yourself when you’ve been sinking a few. That’s Dan. Dan use to be a bartender at my local bar in Noosa. Now he is lo-key the nicest guy you’ll ever meet, hi-key the creator of Limited Run. After one chat on the phone with him, I felt like I could punch through a wall. Alas, I broke my hand. That’s a lie. But this interview isn’t. 
So hey, open up that box of chocolates and you never know, your neighbour
might be that creepy fucker at your porch every night. Oh, you didn’t know?
What was the vision of Limited Run?
The goal was definitely to expose people who weren’t getting exposed. Especially in Noosa, the little bubble that it is, you know who your artists are. You got the ones featured in the mags, the ones that hang out at the surfboard shops and the ones that have a name for themselves and there is so much more talent behind them. It was purely to expose people and build a platform and make something fun. I was sick of that statement of “there is nothing to do tonight”.
When you decided to create an outlet for artists, did you feel like there was nothing in the Sunshine Coast previously?
Events come through and you hear little murmurings about shows happening and whatnot. I dunno, I like having fun things happening and it’s very rare in Noosa to see live music and things like Limited Run. So initially, it was like lets make a big exposure event and then have a party on top of it.
Were locals getting amongst it?
The first show was huge. A mate came back in inside and I was pacing back and forth, nervous as. Literally, I was sweating from my eyes. I was so scared and he said there was like a 100 people outside and I was like ‘the fuck are they here for’. The locals got behind us straight away. A lot of people didn’t know what it was, being the gravestone is the logo, I think it kinda scared people. But at the same time, the older people loved what was going on and it worked in our favour.
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Did you have any residential issues?
We’ve been in the industrial areas pretty much the whole time. Apart from a few shows, we were in licensed areas. So we never had any issues.
You did a collaboration with Tidal Magazines for your last run, how did that go?
Yeah, really good. Jess is a great friend of mine, we met on Instagram, haha. She is an incredible person, have you ever met her?
No, not yet haha.
She is so good at what she does, so soft spoken. She purely does Tidal for love and just to help. She threw it out there that we should team up and after speaking about it for such a long time, we finally did. We both got approached separately from the Sunshine Coast Council and we decided to go in together. Her being the management side and I would gather materials for the show. It worked out. Stressful as hell but we got through it.
Do you find it difficult to organise artists?
It’s so hard. The beauty of the artist is they can call inspiration and muse from the thin air, y’know what I mean? But they can’t work within a time frame. You’d be like hey man I need 6 pieces from you by Thursday and if they don’t feel like doing it, they can’t do it.
It’s really a hit and miss.
It really is. Which is why after the first few shows, you learn to work with artists who have a back catalogue or have experience doing this. Artists who pre plan for shows, you know. Independents and small timers are great, they’re really cool, but people that actually know these circuits and shows and have stuff backed up, hidden away, are a lot easier to work with.
Do you generally work with local artists? Would you ever consider doing a run in another town or city?
We have people come up from Byron and Sydney. It’s been very open to people from other people to coming in. It’s always been nice though because I’ve always been linked to these people from here.
So many connections man.
It’s pretty scary, haha. Especially when we did the show in Maroochydore, that was out of town for me for the first time. I was a bit like shit, I wonder if people know what we kinda do and it actually turned out it had quite a good name for itself.
Limited Run has definitely grown, it gets pretty intense haha.
Haha, people think it’s some big organisation, literally, I’ve got a single bed going on and a desk, that’s Limited Run.
That’s it.
That’s all it is haha. When a show is on, it’s just stacked with art, either side of me.
You also have Live music at your shows, is there bands normally happy to help out?
Live music is something vital, it really is. Like, we have a stereo inside and stuff. It’s just that thing, it’s one of the purest forms of expressions. We don’t really get to see a party vibe in Noosa, we can’t really do it here cause we got those laws that say we can’t have live music everywhere. I threw out on the first show I was looking for a band and I had like 20 bands send me songs straight away. Everyone is so desperate to play music in this town and you can’t. So it’s never really been an issue. I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed but the band is normally the same people just under a different name.
I thought so. The Hi Boys yeah?
Yeah, they’re just good drunken buddies of mine and they’re so talented. They’ve played under The Hi Boys, The Rayburn Brothers, Mick & the Vipers. It’s kinda weird using the same band over and over but they fit what we want. You can sit and listen to them, dance to them and at the same time, they’re epic background music too.
Such good music to dance to though.
So so good. And they’ve been nothing but support for me. This is purely for me, the whole journey through this thing is giving back what people are giving me. I’m not from here, it’s been hard to be here for a long time so if I just give something back to the people who’ve helped me. Just like, thank you.
Do you think the Sunshine Coast is expanding creatively nowadays?
I’d proudly call this home since 2009, I came through a few times before then and drifted in and out but always came back here. When I got here, you could see it, there were hints of stuff going on, you could feel it was there. Ever since then, it’s been more and more talk about low-brow art shows and festivals. But yeah, a 100%. I think everyone kinda realised that we ship out Sunshine Coast’s talent. Every decent artist, musician, designer, sculptor we ship ‘em out and they make their money in the city. I spoke at the university recently and I brought up lets keep them here instead of getting rid of everyone talented so in that sense, I think theres been a real push to set up organisations and hubs for people to stay and work, so financially it helps and keeps people here.
I feel like it’s slowly changing, Noosa’s name used to be more of a classic retirement place. It still is, but there’s starting to be a mix. There’s definitely something potential about this place.
It’s a tough one. Dealing with the council lately, dealing with people who live here and have for a long time, I think it wasn’t allowed to change for a long time. I think it was very much governed by an older society that was like, it has to stay like this to be good. If not, it’ll be like Byron Bay in 2 minutes, that was the general idea. Not saying there’s anything wrong with Byron, I have a great time there.
Everyone has a great time in Byron.
Yeah, but then you leave haha. I think now there’s like, well, these people are talented, there’s people that want to be here. It shows with the four art galleries opening up, three co-working spaces in town, you know what I mean?
Yeah, it’s a good place for it as well. It’s not the city haha.
To me, this place will sadly always ring a bit high end to people. I think Noosa has a bad name in that sense of itself. I honestly believe that. And you feel that, you feel the bubble when you get back here.
There’s definitely a little circle in Noosa.
I think people see that as quite intimidating. It’s changing man. Hopefully we can kinda instigate a little bit of change doing what we do.
Do you find that having an art event is rewarding? Once you’ve  done the hard yards and organised everything and it’s the time of the hour, do you relax or are you a bit like here n’ there trying to sort out everything.
It’s got easier. The first one I was a nervous wreck, I lost my voice for three weeks afterwards and didn’t sleep for like a month. I take everything so personally, I’m proudly a sensitive person which I think is one of my best traits, so when I did this show, it was people walking into a bit of me. When people came in, I took everything so personally, when someone would come in and say they didn’t really like a piece of art I’d be like ah, we’ll tear it down haha. But the reward came when everyone left and I sat there alone, had a beer and was just like wow. I’ve always said it and proudly say it there is nothing greater for me then, during these shows, when a friend of mine has serious doubt on showing anything personal sells a piece or gets a compliment, you see them genuinely light up and that’s really cool, that’s rad. Like I don’t make any cash from this, this is just purely been for the journey. Although, I did make some money with the last run but was because we were linked with the council but yeah, this is just purely for people’s smiles and just get that work out for them.
It does make you feel good helping out.
Yeah, it’s always been rewarding, always been a hell time. It means I can throw a party and I’ve met some really interesting, strange, beautiful people at these things. It’s just bizarre to me, haha.
Do you find a lot of opportunities or friendships with Limited Run?
One of my best friends now, Mikel, was met through this. We both had an awful moustaches for a long time haha. He’s now one of my best mates because of this. I haven’t met anyone who’s selfishly trying to get their work out there, just people craving to chat about it and seeing new stuff. It’s a compulsion for people to see these things and try to find out these interesting creative things. You’re not just sat in some Hastings street bar.
I feel like artists or people into creativity are very open, or just very friendly. They actually want to have a conversation that isn’t revolved around gossip.
Yeah, well like I said, there’s a reason on why I do this, to get exposure for my friends who truly deserve it and when you give someone a platform of any sort of a slight lift, they get happy themselves and make friends because of it. I’ve met so many rad people through this. It’s fun, but really dangerous man. My arm after a show, I can’t lift it after shaking hands and high-fiving, normally can’t speak for a month haha.
Do you find it a little bit straining on mental and physical health?
A 100%. It is fun, it is good but yeah, the second you start doing something people have an opinion on you. With everything, I totally get that. I’ve heard people talking about Limited Run and it’s kinda pretty intense to listen to cause they don’t know who I am. I hear like ‘Oh yeah, Limited Run, that’s like that weird, drunken, sex party in the industrial area, apparently there’s just people around doing shit, making out on the floor n stuff’ and I kinda question these people about  it, if they’ve ever been to one and they’re just like we’ve heard from some girls. You get bad mouthed a lot, especially online. Just from hipster art shows, it’s kinda hard, especially when it’s just purely good vibes. Me and Mikel have a box of VB and just watch people come through, it’s the best time. But yeah, the second you try and help, people have an opinion.
It’d be hard to detach yourself from something you’ve created.
Yeah, like I said, this is kinda like an extension of me.
I don’t know how some people do it, just shutting it all off.
I don’t, I wear it on my face. You can see it haha. Now, I can walk into a room and get art hanging up on the wall, make it rad in 20 hours, make it right. Y’know, I can mingle, I can chat, sell my own work and run the whole thing, that’s sweet. The one thing that’s taxing and mentally draining is just the backlashes of people afterwards. Haters. Haters are horrible people. And it sucks, especially when you’re just trying to help. That’s with everything in life and definitely small town vibes which is something I expected.
With everything you kind of do that spotlights you or showcasing something that your passionate about someone’s gotta say something stupid.
They’re just jealous haha.
How did you learn all this? Was it kind of a wing-it-technique?
I made it up as I go along. I’m thankful for doing bar work and hospitality cause you learn how to manage people, learn how to hide things. You walk into a café and it looks rad but all this shit is hidden behind the scenes.
Hidden underneath the sinks, shoved under the rugs haha.
I know how to make things look falsely good, you know? Haha but with like managing, formulating and advertising it I have no formal education prior, I kinda just made it up as I go.
And just you?
Just me. Do you see these tired eyes? Haha.
Insane man.
I get inspiration from a lot of places, being at artist myself, I have a set of inspiration I try to inflict on my area. That’s the one thing I’ve really tried to push, to have everyone dress their own area up, y’know, it’s their space, hang up whatever you wanna man. My area is normally full of skulls and candles, and then you’ve got Mikel who’s got this goofy as pizza stuff hanging around. I wanted it to look like everyone’s inspiration, a bit of them. That kinda solves a bit of worrying cause they mostly look after themselves.
That’s pretty hectic to do all yourself.
That’s one of the best things though, because I answer to me and me alone. I didn’t really get it at first. That sounds really strange haha kinda like doing whatever I wanted.
 It’d be weird being your own boss for the first time.
 Yeah, which is why it was weird working with direct instructions and under contract with the Sunshine Coast Council for the last show. So I had to answer to them and they wanted names of artists three months ahead of the show, they wanted location and all this. I was like man it doesn’t work like that, like before, you can’t ask artists for 9 new pieces by Thursday. That was actually really stressful dealing with those people.
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 Was Limited Run a one-off project when you first started?
 It was all gonna be based on the first one. I actually got 7 artists, 2 of them were drunk as and called it so there was 5 of us and I was just like before we open the doors, I’m sorry if no one comes, so sorry if no one buys anything, thanked them for all their time, sorry if this all doesn’t work out. Then Ray, my mate appears and says there’s 100 people outside haha. So after the first show, I think we got around $1500 in prints for the artists so it definitely worked the first time.
 Yeah I’ve actually bought a few from Mikel.
 Yeah, that’s the one good thing about us, you can walk away with a $10 print. Or if Mikel has 3 beers, you’ll walk away with 3 prints for $5. That’s what is all about, it’s never suppose to be high end.
So what’s next? Another Limited Run?
So what’s happening now is I’m taking some personal time, just for me. I haven’t been back to UK for about a year now so I’ll go see everyone briefly. Do some hiking, see some family, probably take up sky diving again.
Never done sky diving before.
It’s good man, do it. It’s fun. But yeah, I’ve had some major health problems for last year so just getting myself physically fixed in the next couple weeks. For the moment Limited Run is still there, it’s still good. They’ll be more shows in this year definitely.
Photos credit: Asia Taylor, Immi Campbell, Tess Robertson 

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