04 November 2011

tara marynowsky

i mentioned something about the work of tara marynowsky recently when i spoke about fashion designers collaborating with fine artists.  i contacted tara and asked her if i could interview her for my blog and was so excited to get some questions together for her.  when she sent them back and i read her answers it just got me so inspired.  taras work is to die for.  she toys around with both film and watercolour pieces on paper, the latter is, in my opinion, what she is best known for. her career has seen her involved in a number of exhibitions and film projects in australia and over seas, and more recently working with fashion label something else.  not only is tara an extremely talented artist, she is also a super sweet lady - the complete package!

chocky void, 2010
watercolour on paper

Hollie Martin: How long have you been creating?

Tara Marynowsky: Oh I don't know...since I can remember I have always been a maker of something or another, but we are all creative as kids. I got pretty serious about being an artist of somesort from about year 9 in high school, it was the only thing I cared a lot about as a teen. But really when I think about my actual commitment I reckon from about 2004.

HM: After leaving university in 2002, how has your style developed?

TM: I studied film and video (Time Based Arts) at CoFa. It was a really experimental course and I fell in love with film in particular. After uni I continued to make video's and worked on film projects. I was always drawing and doing watercolours as well, but kind-of on the side, and just for myself. At some point, much of what I was trying to do with my video work started filtering through to other mediums including my watercolour works. My watercolours are generally soft and intimate works though over the past year or so I have developed a slightly darker style in regards to themes and application of paint. I tend to work between both of these styles at the moment.

HM: In terms of your works on paper your medium of choice is watercolour. Why do you choose this medium.

TM: I enjoy that watercolour is a fairly instant medium, you really can't erase or delete marks, this can be frustrating though helpful in most ways because you are forced to progress and not work backwards. I have also always loved the bleeding and soft qualities of watercolours, plus it's a fairly hassle free medium that can be used anywhere, anytime.

godmonster, 2010
watercolour on paper

HM: How do you record your ideas?

TM: Not so well. I have lots of ripped up bits of paper with notes and scrappy drawings on them which I throw in boxes.

HM: Your drawings are very character driven and have a real theatrical aura. Who are the characters and where are they born from?

TM: Yeah, I have a bit of a thing for performers, costumes, props and staged scenes. I also have a fascination with nostalgia and archival images and hunt for a lot of my source materials and images at libraries and archives. Past lives can be so interesting, some of the stuff I find at archives can be really funny, my characters are usually based on these forgotten souls.

old timers, 2009
watercolour on paper

HM: Visually, the images are also very calming and I think the medium of watercolour contributes to this quality. Do you find the creative process calming as well? Why do you create?

TM: Being creative keeps me sane. I would surely go mental if I did not make work and I imagine this is the same for most creative people. Watercolours can be really calming to use, especially when working on a loose and watery image. It's a pretty nice way to zone out and forget about the other stuff around you.

HM: You work in a small scale. This means you can work from almost anywhere. Where are you based and do you have a studio that you work in?

TM: I work from home at the moment. I had a studio space for a few months last year but I found it frustrating to manage my time. I tend to work best in the afternoon's and night and find that it's better to have my home life close-by, that way I can eat dinner at a normal time and get back to work till late if needed. It's not always the best scenario, it's pretty hard to keep things neat, but it's working right now. Lately my work has been getting larger in size, so I'll be looking for a larger space or studio soon.

tales #22 (l) and untitled (r), 2009
watercolour on paper

HM: Which other artists are you most influenced by? Are you surrounded by a strong network of artists that you connect with?

TM: I think Jake and Dinos Chapman are pretty amazing. I also really like Russian artist Pavel Pepperstein, seeing his work at Venice Biennale a few years ago was really inspiring. There are lots of Australian artists that I admire as well, I try and get to as many show's a possible but it's hard to keep up. Overall, I think the scene in Sydney is pretty exciting and supportive as a network.

HM: Last year you worked with Australian streetwear label Something Else on their AW11 line. How did this collaboration come about?

TM: Natalie Wood bought some of my work from a show I had a few years ago and then a bit later after she emailed me to see if I was keen to do some artwork for her label. I jumped at the chance and have now been doing artwork on and off for the label since 2008. For collaborations, Natalie sends me photo's of her inspiration boards which are filled with beautiful collaged images, and some text or a detailed brief. For the AW11 line / Middle Of Nowhere collection, the plan was to come up with some messed-up watercolour digital shapes and a biosphere triangular design with an aztec/tribal influence. I do loads of experiments until I think I have something, then send the good ones through to Natalie and team who make the magic happen.
love triangle tank for something else, spring 2010

campsite top for something else, spring 2011

HM: In the past year we have seen fine artist Kate Rohde collaborate on a fashion line with Romance was Born and more recently Gemma Smith collaborate with Rittenhouse. How do you feel about the translation between fine art and fashion? 

TM: Kate's and Gemma's artworks both look stunning on garments. The designers of these labels have a good eye and an obvious appreciation for contemporary art. Something Else have also recently launched their new Summer collection featuring Ken Done and it's such an amazing collaboration, words can't describe how beautiful some of those clothes are. Personally, I would love to see more collaborations between fine art, fashion and other art forms. I've never really seen the point in restricting what you produce as an artist, I am a big fan of mixing it up to keep things interesting.

HM: You were also commissioned to do some illustration work for Sydney hairdressing salon Desmond & Molly Jones. How did you get this job?

TM: Through a friend of a friend, who is now a friend – Sally Steele. The salon were keen to find an artist to do illustrations for their new look (online and print) and I was recommended. I did individual portraits for all staff members and a bunch of images for a booklet they put together which is written a bit like a fairytale. I also did a few window displays for them for Christmas which worked out really nice – they were printed up nice and big.

desmond & molly jones staff portraits

HM: Do you have any projects coming up or that you are currently working on that you can tell us about?

TM: I just had a solo show at Helen Gory Galerie in Melbourne titled Wallflower. I also had a show coming up at Grantpirrie in Sydney this month but the gallery suddenly closed and so the show got cancelled. I'm having a little bit of a break at the moment, but the plan is to keep developing the work intended for the GP show and see what direction it takes now that I don't have a deadline looming. They are much larger watercolour works so they are a new and exciting challenge for me.

HM: What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far?

TM: Um, not sure, I guess the most exciting highlight was having my video work curated for a video festival called Hors Pistes at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. The best thing about video is that it travels well. But, also the first show I had at Chalk Horse Gallery exhibiting watercolours was really great because I really had no idea if it would go down very well, luckily it went really well!
red valentine, 2011
watercolour on paper

HM: How do you see your work evolving over the next 5 years?

TM: 5 years, gosh that's ages away.... I hope my work evolves and matures in relation to style and subject matter and that I am able to produce larger amounts of work and/or projects. However, most important to me is to keep experimenting and trying new things out, so who know's what the future will be!? Hopefully enough opportunities will come my way to keep busy, that's all I can ask for.

HM: What advice can you give to emerging artists who are trying to get their work out there and seen?

TM: Oh I don't know...just don't be shy about it and make sure you really enjoy what your doing. Oh and rejection is all part of the fun, don't let it get you down.

Thank you Tara!
coral goodness for something else, spring 2011


  1. your work is just so beautiful!!!!
    I love this T-shirt design!!
    fantastic!! I have a soft spot for watercolour!
    good luck for the Yen competition!!
    I entered too!!
    fingers crossed!

  2. thanks for your lovely comment lisa. the above shirt design isnt actually mine though. it is the work of a very talented lady, tara marynowsky. her work is A.MAZ.ING so check her out. goodluck to you with yen as well! x