We recently interviewed local Melbourne Artist, Tiffany Blaise, in her Northcote studio on the benefits and challenges of having a creative space and what inspired her recent leap into full-time art practice. Tiff also delivered some hot tips on how to kickstart your creative journey, space innovation and decoration, and maintaining a creative routine.
Working as a full time artist is something I have always wanted to do, but never fully committed to until recently. After working for several years as an in-house designer creating visual displays I was craving some travel and new challenges. My partner and I decided to chase our passions and try living in a new country together, and Melbourne’s reputation as a creative hub put it at the top of our list.
I adorn my workspace with clippings of photos from road trips, inspiration that I find in books, magazines and online. I like to surround myself with imagery that is relevant to whatever work I’m creating so it’s constantly changing and evolving to inspire new work and color palettes! Natural light helps me a lot with my painting, especially because lighting is so important in my work.
I have been working out of different studios over the past 5 years. I’m totally addicted to having a creative sanctuary that I can escape to where messiness and experimentation are allowed!
The only sentimental items I keep in my studio currently are a few personal photos. I have a couple old school calligraphy brushes that I love, and would love to build a bigger collection of interesting brushes and tools from future travels.
Storage is such a challenge! I work on paper and have been taping everything up or sorting it into piles. There is also a built in cabinet at the front of my space that holds my tools and smaller canvases.
A tip I have for creating an inspiring workspace would be to curate your space with images, sketches and colours that work together so you can visualize everything that is inspiring you together to come up with new ideas and techniques. Recently I have been combining the ink I use for painting rough sketches with oil paints to create a layered result in my new pieces.
Thanks so much! A lot of my paintings use dramatic oceans and skies to express emotion. I’m constantly seeking the balance between calm and chaos in nature and in our own minds in my work. This fascination with the tension between calm and chaos results in paintings that show smooth and flat skies contrasted by rough textured seas.
My prefered medium is oil paint. I love combining it with impasto mediums to create textured pieces. I’m currently working on a big oil painting for The Mission to Seafarer’s Prize, which I’m really excited about as it’s the largest oil and wax painting I’ve ever created!
I picked up this book called Mystical Landscapes and am loving reading about all of the symbolism that artists from Georgia O’Keefe to Vincent Van Gogh used in landscapes. The way some of these artists depicted the spiritual connection between humanity and the environment is astounding. In regards to contemporary artists, I’m super inspired by Bobbie Burgers’ expressive florals and Pat Steir’s large-scale drippy abstract paintings.
My advice would be to reach out to others who have carved a path for themselves and are already doing what you want to do. When I was considering taking the leap into committing myself full time to my art practice I got in touch with an artist I really admired and she gave me a few really helpful tips and resources to get started. Also, read the Desire Map by Danielle Laporte! This book helps you tap into your core desired feelings, which will set the stage for your future decisions.
Routine! Establish a routine in your day-to-day life and you’ll end up finding the time to devote to your artistic practice. For a long time I felt crazily inspired and ready to create, but I could never start or finish anything. I was feeling overwhelmed by all the inspiration! I’d end up creating an art-MESS rather than an art-WORK! It wasn’t until I developed a routine and created structure around my creative process that I finally started creating finished pieces and subsequently arrived at finding my unique style and aesthetic.