For some, splashing the cash on a one-off art piece seems like a total pipe dream – for others, it’s a passion. We asked Burleigh artist Tania Blanchard what you’re actually paying for when you invest in original artworks.
If you haven’t heard of Tania Blanchard, we’re almost certain you will have seen her works – she’s the one behind the dotty dreamscapes that get snatched up from Miami store Kira & Kira faster than it takes her to deliver them, as well as the famous blue-hued confetti canvas that the contestants nervously stood in front of during the auctions of The Block 2017.
While she’s currently basking in the kind of success that very few artists get to enjoy, Tania’s journey has never been clearly signposted. It’s taken a visual arts degree, a diploma, a twenty(ish)-year career in graphic design, an interstate move and 10-year ‘hiatus’ (a.k.a. raising three children) to get to where she is today. Oh, and a hell of a lot of courage.
“I was working during the day as a graphic designer to make sure I had a stable income, and then exhibiting my artworks at night, right up until I had kids,” Tania recalls. “Art was always in the back of my mind, but I was inhibited by self-doubt and scepticism that I wouldn’t actually be able to make money from it.
“After my youngest daughter started school, something just told me to go for it. I invested in canvas and paints and became more determined than ever. I didn’t even really know what my style would be, but it was kind of like telling the naysayers to ‘watch this space’.”
Since then it’s been, in Tania’s own words, a “crazy, crazy ride” full of ups and downs and “pinch yourself” moments. But underneath all of the excitement and success is a deep appreciation for the people who continue to invest in her efforts. Because, for her, it really is an investment.
So what goes into an original piece of art, you ask? What is it you are actually buying? Just one of Tania’s signature artworks can take up to four weeks to create. She builds them up layer by layer (as many as 40 or 50 colours for some pieces), mixing acrylic paints with thickener to create the ‘blobs’ that eventually make up a stunning composite of colours.
“I want every shade to be pure, so I have to wait for the layers to dry before I build upon them,” Tania says. “Physically, it’s a really hard process to rush.”
Beyond the time and physical resources that go into creating an original piece, Tania recognises that the people who purchase her paintings are also paying for a unique connection with the artwork – and, in turn, with her as the artist.
“You get a kind of gut feeling about an artwork, and you can’t really explain why. It might be that the colours or shapes remind you of some memory or evoke a passion or feeling, and you form a connection with the work,” Tania says. “Beyond that, when you can touch every blob or stroke and envisage the artist painting them, you get a real sense of owning something that is truly one-of-a-kind.”
You really can’t put a price on an artist’s time and trouble, their victories and losses, and, above all, the leap of faith that allowed them to follow their passion – but that’s what you invest in when you buy their artwork.
ART FOR ALL BUDGETS
Whatever your budget, there are so many ways to decorate your walls in a meaningful way. Try these ideas:
$0: Yes, it’s true – ‘free’ art is a thing. Don’t discount those crazy and colourful painted kindy creations that your kids bring home. A small, colourful, cropped section of one of your child’s fave art pieces, mounted behind a crisp white matt board in an oversized white frame is a chic on-trend look. And did you know, haven magazine offers free wall art downloadables on our website! #yourewelcome – check out www.havenmagazine.com.au. Cheap frame options for both ideas abound at Ikea.
$100 and under: Loads of options for wall decoration in this category. Try online art havens like Yorklee (for monochrome magic), Olive et Oriel (nature lovers will unite over cactuses and palms, proteas and poppies), Alpha Board Co (use clever words and your creativity to inspire and delight with this ever-changing art installation) or Norsu (for gorgeous kiddie whimsy).
$1000 and under: If you’ve got a little more to spend, upgrade to a large scale, limited edition piece. At Blacklist, we love the moody abstracts on canvas. There are only 50 in each run and each piece is hand numbered. See also Lumiere Art & Co and Lola Donoghue for some extra special wall love.
Sky’s the limit: The sky really is the limit when it comes to art. Choose or commission an original piece that resonates with you and you will love it forever. Choose the right artist and it can be a great long-term investment. You will most likely pass down this art to your kids one day.