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• David Wells (centre) with his performing brothers Terry (left) and Simon (right).

Most Bay Islanders know of David Wells.

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He is the artist who earlier this year painted an outstanding portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge that now hangs in Kensington Palace, London.

He is known for his life-like portraiture and is rapidly gaining a world-wide reputation.

What is less known about David is his 'other' life and skills.

When he does not have a paint brush in his hands, he is invariably performing at any number of major events utilising his other skills, which just happen to be juggling, balancing and other disciplines.

You see, David comes from a family of Circus-oriented performers.

"I grew up on the Sunshine Coast with my mother Richelle and my two younger brothers Terry and Simon (they are each four years apart).

"As a teenager, I and my brothers got involved with amateur theatre, and it just so happened that one of the first performances we were involved in, was the production of Barnum.

"It was a production based around a circus and all the cast were required to learn juggling and other circus-style skills.

"I suppose we took it a bit more seriously than others, and it led to a performance career for all three of us," David said.

As their skills developed, they began their careers as buskers, first performing at the famous Eumundi Markets.

Before long they were performing all over Queensland and many other parts of Australia.

David and Terry's skills were more similar with an emphasis on juggling, balancing and some unicycle work. They concentrated more on busking and street performing, as well as attending major events.

Young Simon, headed in a slightly different direction.

He is Australia's leading unicycle performer, having won the Australian title on three separate occasions. He has also finished second on two occasions at the World Freestyle Unicycle Championships.

Simon is involved with animation and is regarded as a leading balloon artist and concentrates more on the corporate sector, attending major conferences, events and shopping centres.

All three developed their skills in the backyard of their home when youngsters.

"It is a lot harder than you might think," David said.

"The skills are one thing and can be developed in the backyard, but mastering the crowd is another skill that can only be learnt 'on the job'

"It was a lot less restrictive 20 years ago, whilst today you cannot perform without the appropriate insurances and blue card, as well as a peer review system," David added.

With the development of his artistic career, David does less performing than his brothers, but he enjoys the contrast and the change.

"It is a great escape for me, and I don't envisage giving away those skills we taught ourselves all those years ago," he said.


• David Wells (centre) with his performing brothers Terry (left) and Simon (right).