British artist putting his Mark on Bundaberg
YOU may not know Mark Terry, but if you live in the region you know his art.
And just like the brightly coloured paintings and artworks he's shared across the city and its surrounds, his story is one of colour and creativity.
"I'm from England, I came from England almost six years ago with my wife and two kids," said Mr Terry, originally from Tamworth in England.
Mr Terry said he'd made the long journey to Australia with his family after realising he needed a change.
"I was working with my dad and brother and had been for 10 years and didn't enjoy the job and didn't enjoy England," he said.
"I saw a few of these shows on TV called A Place in the Sun and they had an offshoot called Life in the Sun Downunder and I just thought I can't not do that."
It was then his wife, a speech pathologist, decided to apply for a job in Brisbane.
"My wife applied for a job in Brisbane and didn't get it. She was told the locum from Bundaberg got it so we googled it and she got the job and we came to Bundy," he said.
Mr Terry said after moving to Australia he had worked part time as a delivery driver, with his wife working full time.
"She was working full-time for the first five years," he said.
"I was doing part-time work and deliveries across town but I felt really shabby about how it looked.
"I started asking businesses while I was on delivery jobs if they wanted a quote."
A handful of businesses started giving Mr Terry jobs and soon his business - Marks ART Creative Enterprises - was starting to grow.
"Since January we decided my wife should go part time and I'd go full time," he said.
"Just right now people are starting to ring me instead of me chasing them down."
Mr Terry said his signs were the result of teaching himself.
"There's books and there's online stuff and there's Pinterest," he said.
"When it comes to the chalk board work I did the Old Bundy Tavern and they've been really good to me.
"They were happy for me to go slow and take my time and learn on the job.
"I have no had an unhappy customer yet."
Mr Terry said he'd loved Australia from the moment his family arrived.
"It's similar (to Tamworth in England) but it's sunny," he said.
"We heard it had a climate like Hawaii.
"Everything was bright and lit up by the sun, it was amazing."
He said the friendliness in Bundaberg had been a real draw card.
"I just know everyone and in Bundy you kind of just know all the people in the shops," he said.
Mr Terry said he'd been able to connect with shop owners when working on his signs to make sure they got what they wanted.
"I'm just keen for businesses to look their best. I'm really keen on doing that," he said.
"Some of the bigger projects, you're there for at least a week and you get to know people and get to know what they want."
Mr Terry said his inspiration came from family and God, who he believes has guided him every step of the way.
One special moment came when he was painting a show ride and his seven-year-old son approached him.
"I was really stressed out by the fairground ride and feeling like I wasn't spending enough time with my family," he said.
"My son came out to the yard and said 'I'm really glad you're a sign writer dad' and I asked him why and he said 'because it teaches me passion'."
Mr Terry said while he didn't know if his family would stay or would move back to England or another town, he was sure he was being guided along the way.
He said he'd faced some tough times before his business started to take off.
"I was struggling to get work, at that time I had applied for 36 jobs and didn't get a single one of them but at that time I prayed," he said.
"I struggled very much with depression and anxiety.
"I feel like God's been leading me through it and it's his will."