Australia’s most exciting emerging contemporary visual artist; Lara Scolari’s gestural paintings have made a serious splash on the International art scene. Influenced by major artistic figures such as Brett Whiteley, Helen Frankenthaler, John Olsen, Hans Hoffman and Mark Rothko, Lara has developed her own distinct approach to the ‘abstract expressionist’ style where a variety of media, developed experimental techniques and processes are used to create depth through exquisite transparent layers that reveal hidden dioramas. Featuring organic forms and fluid shapes, her stunning works are inspired by memory, meditation, music and the culture and essence of Australia. Each of her eye-catching paintings feature a beautiful translucent veiled colour palette that reflects the natural landscape.
Lara’s coveted artworks explore multilayered organic forms, lines, shapes and composition that create an enlivening space for contemplation and a resting place for thoughts. Her use of tonal combinations with rich and luscious colours has been a particular hit with some of Australia’s leading interior designers including the multi-award-winning Greg Natale who has purchased Lara’s exquisite pieces for many of his A List Clients. From North America across to Europe, Asia and Australia, Lara’s Award winning art work is represented in public and private collections throughout the world.
What’s your artistic background?
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always been surrounded by paint. My father was an industrial chemist who made art supplies for a company that I still use to this day and my mother was an artist. They encouraged me to use as much paint as possible and experiment. I am an abstract expressionist, and I love immersing myself in colour. When I paint, I have Australian music playing in the background, and I let myself go and get the creative juices flowing.
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
Being able to express oneself without fear about what others may think is so important. As an artist, it is tempting to hope that almost everyone will love the work produced, but as they say, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!’
What role does the artist have in society?
Artists have the opportunity to inspire others and let them know that everyone has a creative gene in them somewhere. When someone says, “I can’t draw,” I reply, “Yes, you can!” Getting people to express themselves and interpret how they might see something on paper or canvas is very rewarding. Usually, they surprise themselves. They just needed some encouragement!
What art do you most identify with?
I am influenced by prominent artistic figures such as Brett Whiteley, Helen Frankenthaler, John Olsen, Hans Hoffman, and Mark Rothko. I have developed my distinct approach to the abstract expressionist style. Various media developed experimental techniques and processes are used to create depth through exquisite transparent layers that reveal hidden dioramas.
What themes do you pursue?
My inspiration comes from the energy and emotion of the surrounding Australian landscape. I very much try to absorb the essence, form, feeling and palette of the surroundings. I am also very interested in what you cannot see below the surface or within the subconscious. I try to display this through design line, form, and tone to create a visual image of my responses to my artwork.
What’s your favourite artwork?
My favourite work is Dust Storm in Menindee, which was a real breakthrough for me. It translates the energy and feeling of the natural forces of a dust storm. It is named after an iconic outback town in the far west of NSW, which in contrast is home to nine large, but relatively shallow lakes on the Darling River, about 200 km upstream of the river’s junction with the River Murray.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
Australian artist Brett Whiteley is a real inspiration for me. Despite his struggles, his work is absolutely amazing. I love his quote ‘Painting is an argument between what it looks like and what it means.’
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I’ve always been involved with art in some shape or form. I sold art supplies for a company in the central west of NSW for about five years and then worked in the Dubbo Regional Gallery, a magnificent art $12,000,000 precinct on the gateway to the outback.
It’s my passion, and I haven’t considered anything else because I am constantly drawn to it. I love creating art and something unique, which hopefully will bring joy to others when they view it.
What is an artistic outlook on life?
I think it has to be to accept that everyone has a different view and that we should respect others and the way they see things even if we disagree with them.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Fortunately, there have been many but perhaps one of the best would be the reaction to a commission work I painted for a hotel foyer in Orange. The Byng Street Boutique Hotel is a beautifully restored building that is high-end accommodation for those that want to treat themselves in a wine region. My work sits at the entrance. The feedback from the owners and guests has been very satisfying.
What food, drink, song inspires you?
I love Asian food, and there are plenty of great little eateries around Balmain and Sydney. Red wine is one of life’s finer pleasures as they say and any Australian songs from bands like Powderfinger blaring away in the studio keep me inspired.
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
Life as an artist can be lonely, but I counteract this by having my two companion Pug dogs, Barry and Betty by my side!
What do you dislike about the art world?
What do you dislike about your work?
Sometimes things won’t work out exactly as I planned, so I will either try to alter what I have done or start from the beginning. The nervousness about a client liking their commission as it’s being created can be taxing but something I have learned to live with.
What do you like about your work?
I love the freedom of expression and being able to create art for a living full time.
Should art be funded?
Absolutely. Particularly for those that may have talent but for whatever reasons have not had the opportunities.
What role does arts funding have?
Art brings communities together and seeing children express themselves with their art can round off their education nicely. Plenty of funding for art teachers should be a government priority.
What is your dream project?
My dream would be to create a massive mural for somewhere like Sydney or even Balmain, where I live. That would be such an honour.
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
Brett Whitely, Jackson Pollock, and Helen Frankenthaler.
Favourite or most inspirational place?
Having exhibited there quite a few times, Hong Kong is my favourite place. It’s vibrancy and culture is awesome. I do hope they get over their troubles.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Every single one of us has an artistic side.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
To continue to produce work, exhibit and travel the world. I do hope to become a high-profile artist of the 21st century.
I have a new range of works coming out by the end of this year. It is a different direction for me and I can’t wait to create what I have in mind – watch this space!