Hello again! Just to refresh, I am your She is Art. blog author, and artist, Tanya. I am heading overseas in just a few short weeks time, completing an art residency in Malta (more on that below) for an extended stay of at least 12 weeks. As of this post I am temporarily wrapping up She is Art. until my return, and so I thought what better way to finish off the season than to answer my own questionnaire for all of you beautiful people!
First and Foremost
Tell us a little about your background. When were you born? Where did you grow up? Did art play a significant role in your childhood?
I was born in 1974 in Broken Hill, NSW Australia, where I continue to reside. My mum is Maltese, first generation Australian born, and my dad was also born Australian, though I am unsure of his background. I am the eldest of two girls (an only child until the age of 14!) and yes art did play a significant role in my childhood.
My journey as a self-taught artist began when I was very young; with a little extra talent and love for drawing as a child. I was inspired greatly by my uncle, only nine years my senior, whom was also crafty with a pencil and would sketch crazy cartoon characters for me. I would spend hours drawing as a child, replicating pictures from comic books such as "Footrot Flats" and most especially recreating Disney characters from VHS covers and books. As a young teenager, I would sketch the likes of Axl Rose and Madonna and other pop culture of the 80’s, before dabbling with paint and mixed media in my late teens and early twenties.
Did you delve straight into the world of art after high school or did you come to it later in your life? In either case, what exactly inspired you to pursue art as a career?
Truth be told, I was not interested in pursuing art as a career at that point of my life. I dabbled a little every now and again but it was never a priority. I worked in many fields, mostly bar-work and retail, waitressing and administration. I held my first solo exhibition not long after I married in 1999, but by the timeI had fallen pregnant with my daughter in 2001 I had packed all of the art away.
Then, after some tough life lessons, another child and a gruelling divorce, I took it on again with a passion like never before. Further inspired by the times when the Internet was truly coming to life, with awe and amazement I had discovered a world of art I had never before encountered, which encouraged my own artistic dreams, and in 2006 I decided to follow art as a career path.
Which tools and mediums do you use and or prefer? Do you have a set process for creating your work?
I work with both both acrylics (Jo Sonja's Flow acrylics) and textile appliqué and a little mixed media.
What is your art in relation to your heart? Tell us your why. What does it all mean to you?
Aesthetically my artwork is a striking contrast of bold, unyielding saturated colour, dramatically opposing lines and textures and a meticulous sense of order and precision. A little Pop, a splash of Deco, a touch of Klimt and an organically unique modern flare.
From the heart, my artwork portrays strong and industrious, empowered women whom are unafraid to also be passionate, sensual and opening hearted.
From the soul, my artwork is divinely inspired; By myths and legends, symbols and totems and the notion that we are all one with nature, the earth, and the universe.
My artwork is bold in its beauty and brilliance, but it also means something to inspire, guide and give direction. I celebrate empowered women upon the canvas to remind us all of the beauty within.
What are your thoughts on where your art began, to what it has now become?
I had always loved the sensual curves of the female form, the boldness and splendour of intense colour and the striking contrasts those colours and lines; this is where my artwork as an adult began over 25 years ago and how my artistic expression continued when I picked it back up again.
It was a few years in and quite a bit of experimenting before I began to recognise my work evolving to what it is today. Through my own life struggles and experiences and an ongoing history depression and anxiety from a young age, here I’d begun to realise and learn so much about what can be hidden inside oneself; the strength and determination which had risen from within me all those years, which I had never even known existed, had ultimately become my driving force in both my life and my art.
And so with intention I began creating empowering paintings of and for women. Taking her inner strength and bringing it bolstering to the surface, choreographed with passion, heightening her physical prowess, celebrating her diversity, revelling in her beauty and sexuality, revealing her sensuality, her secrets and mystery. And most significantly, saluting her confidence, heart and spirited strength of character.
I began handing over what was deep in my heart and soul, and that was when my work had truly begun.
Five For Fun
If you could only wear one colour ever again, what what you be? Why?
Black, or leopard print because I am obsessed, but black would be my goto.
Firstly, I have found it incredibly interesting as to how many artists I have interviewed who have said the same thing. I wonder if there is something to that?
Many people find this strange seeing as I work with and completely adore strong bold colours. But, I love the way I look and feel in black. I feel streamlined and most like myself when I am wearing black.
What is something which you possess that you would never sell or give away, ever? Why?
My baby... I mean cat, Princess Warrior.
In a garden of all of the flowers, which one would you choose? Why?
A tulip. They stand tall, and are so simple and elegant, soft and beautiful.
If you were a paint brush, how would you describe yourself?
I would be a short handled, shapely brush with clean, neat and ultra smooth bristles, well maintained and cared for. Hmmm... removing this perfectionist behaviour of mine is a a work in progress.
What is one talent you have outside of being an artist?
I am super efficient and organised.
Before You Go...
Is there anything you would like to add? What is coming up next for you which we should look out for?
I am looking forward to a 12-week art residency with Valletta Contemporary in my ancestral country of Malta in from June 2nd 2022, so definitely keep following along, I will be updating my adventures daily.
I will be immersing myself in the Maltese culture, relishing in the colours of the mediterranean, and the picturesque views from the city of Valletta to the countryside of Gozo, visiting long-lost relatives, meeting new people and forming new friendships. I will have long discussions with the girls and women of Malta, learning about their lives, their aspirations and desires, and I will bring it all together passionately saluting sensuality, open-heartedness, confidence and all of the spirited strength of character I collate, upon the canvas.
Where can we find you?
What is one pro-tip lesson you have learned from your past as an artist?
Be true to you and what you create. There is no right or wrong way.
What is your one boss-tip for all women to be true to themselves and live their best lives?
I dislike to sound cliché, but the gist of it is of course to just be yourself. If only it were as easy as it sounds right? I am definitely still a work in progress. I think we all are… and that’s the key I think - To listen to that yearning in our gut that tells us we can be everything we want to be but to also be aware that we need to work at it. You don’t just be, you become. It’s about the journey. To be courageous and vulnerable and open to experience, learning, un-learning and discovering parts of ourselves over and over again.
She is Art.
Be Bold. Be Sexy. Be Fierce.
Tanya x Marie
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