HomeArticlesArts & CultureInside Scoop: We are GC sits down with artist Tania Blanchard
Tania Blanchard

Inside Scoop: We are GC sits down with artist Tania Blanchard

Alex Luck | April 2020

Have you ever been next to a Mark Rothko painting? It’s an experience worth the investment of time.

If you relax and let yourself absorb his colours, you may notice it will evoke an emotion in you. The encounter is completely different compared to seeing his work online. This is how it feels when you come in contact with local artist Tania Blanchard’s work for the first time.

We had the opportunity to visit her creative Burleigh studio and hear all about her artistic journey and what it was like to be featured on The Block TV show several times. Tania also gave us the inside scoop having Amy Shark adore her artwork.

Tell us about your journey. How did you get into art and develop your career?

I did a visual arts degree in Adelaide. Art was always something I loved. I was always one of those kids that would spend hours in my bedroom drawing and doing that kind of stuff. So it really was a natural progression to go into uni and do a visual arts degree.

From that I started having exhibition, but soon realised it was very hard to make money as an artist. I then decided to do a graphic design course. So in the end, that’s what I started doing for quite a number of years. And then I moved to Sydney to further my career, but I always loved painting so I kept a logbook and drew and stuff like that. That’s always been in the back of my mind, but I just always remembered it was really hard to make a living.

It’s good graphic design was complimentary and sometimes it allows you to have your finger on the pulse of marketing.

They do complement each other. All the skills I learned as a graphic designer, like using Photoshop and Adobe have really helped me promote my paintings now.

Your paintings are very unique. It seems like your style combines elements of minimalism and impressionism, how did you develop this and what inspired you?

I’ve always loved colour and I loved texture. Back in the early days I loved really bright loud photography. I think the paintings are just sort of experimenting with highly textural pieces…Again with my graphic design background; I liked things being quite sleek and not too busy. So then this dot style came about. I sold my first dot painting maybe five years ago at Kira & Kira, who are friends of mine that own a bespoke furniture store. They told me everyone has been giving great feedback and asked, “Can you do another one?”

And that’s when it all started?

I just started painting and they would sell within an hour of being in the store. It just went a little bit crazy for a while. That was when I decided I’m going to forget about graphic design. I always wanted to be an artist from really early days and I never really believed in myself – that I could really do it. So I thought, “Right, well this is what I’m going to do now. I’m going to purely focus on my art.”

What kind of changes have you noticed in the Gold Coast art scene since then?

When I moved here about 15 years ago there were a few things, but not much. It’s amazing now what’s out there. You just need to scratch the surface and you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find. So with Mint House down the road, the Walls and even places like Karma Collab have exhibitions. There are so many different little places that are showing art. A really cultural art scene is really happening here on the Gold Coast now and it’s great to be part of.

Yes, it is popping up here. So, how does the Gold Coast influence your work or use of colour?

I have done a few beach scenes – stereotypical Gold Coast ha. And yes I’ve done a lot of nature scenes. Every environment is definitely a place of inspiration. I look around and I look out now and all I see is green. I’m always inspired by so many things.

Living here on the Gold Coast is great because the rent is a lot cheaper. You can afford to have a big space and I love large scale artworks. There’s no way I could do this style of art in Sydney or Melbourne. I have to have all my canvases flat. And because they are so large and take such a long time to create, I have to work on a few at a time.

Yeah you need that space. They say artistic life can be lonely sometimes, how do find that? Are you able to connect and find support from other Gold Coast creatives?

Yeah I do. Just having exhibitions here I can meet others. The Burleigh community is really great and they come to all my exhibition openings. Other artists come along and introduce themselves and it’s been wonderful. I do feel it’s a supportive community here.

Your work has been featured The Block TV show and magazines like Home Beautiful and Haven… What other memorable responses have you had from your work?

It’s just wonderful to be able to do a painting for someone and it ends up going to Canada, New York and the other side of the world. It’s great just receiving these amazing emails and messages from people saying how much they love it. It really is the best feeling. I guess people love colour and love the way the painting makes them feel, so it’s wonderful others feel that too. I feel amazing that I get that response. Being on The Block was huge for me.

It was nice to have Amy Shark choose a painting from my solo exhibition. She is really down to earth. My solo exhibition was about colour and how colour made you feel and I gave Amy a private viewing. And she was fantastic. She went around each and every painting and she just kept coming back to this one painting called, “The Theory of Everything.” It’s a predominately pink and green painting. And she said, “I’m not normally a pink girl, but there is something about this painting that draws me in. It reminds me of my childhood. It makes me happy. I have to have it. I love it.”

That’s amazing!

Yes, that was really nice. The fact that it made her feel all of these things was wonderful to hear. I often think, if you’re choosing art because it’s the trend of the moment or the colours of the moment, you’re going to get sick of it. Whereas if you choose a painting because it makes you feel something, you will love it for life.

You mentioned earlier, you wish you would have trusted yourself more. Any other advice you would give to your younger self as an artist?

Doing art and putting yourself out there, it’s just so easy for people to criticise and judge. At some point, you’ve just got to believe in yourself and believe in what you’re doing. If there are conflicting opinions about your art, then you know what – bring it on. It means you’ve created something that people need to think about and have an opinion on. I think that’s great. So believe in yourself and go for it.

What’s next for you?

I want to have more solo exhibitions overseas and go international. I’d love to have an exhibition in New York or London. I feel like my style is unique and I want to expand on that and expand on different colours and just keep pushing myself to do different things.

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