August 17th, 2020Bold and passionate
She also has a business brain and is already mentoring other artists keen to get their work out there.
Born and bred in Hepburn Shire, Tahlia said at just 18 months old she could be found in a corner in her bedroom painting circles. “Art is something I have always been drawn to and that I just love so much.”
Pretty much self-taught, although she did win an art scholarship to Ballarat’s Clarendon College at 15, where she spent all her spare time painting rather than other homework, Tahlia loves “anything that is bold”.
“You are able to express yourself in such a unique way when you combine the abstract and realist side of things, you can really capture who you are on the canvas.”
Tahlia said among her immediate family she was the only one immersed in art but there were some members of her family who used to work with Disney. And it was the movie The Lion King that really got her obsessed with the characters and painting. From there it “grew and grew and grew”.
Family has also been important, with unwavering support from everyone. “They have always encouraged me to do whatever makes me happy, as long as you are happy that is all that matters at the end of the day.
“Even as a kid they supported me and if they knew I wanted to try something they would save up and buy whatever art supplies I needed. I am so incredibly grateful for that. I have a younger brother and sister, 9 and 10, and we all live on the same big property on my grandparents’ farm so they can come down to the cottage my partner and I share and see what I am working on. My family is very close.”
And while President Trump may not be a fan, Tahlia just loves TikTok, a Chinese-owned social video-sharing app. Her siblings nagged her for ages to get involved and she now has almost 170,000 followers which she agrees is “pretty full on”.
“I just started commenting on my journey, showing behind the scenes processes, and running tutorials with tips for other artists and it has been absolutely amazing. Because of it I have been able to expand my business quite a bit, with two fine art printers in the studio, and it’s given me a world-wide audience. It is pretty overwhelming, but I just feel so grateful to have this amazing opportunity.”
Pandemic-wise, Tahlia said she had been able to dedicate more time to focus on the business side of things including offering advice to other artists on their commission structures and pricing, starting lower and moving up as they sell. “We need to make art more accessible.”
Tahlia said her future was bright but busy. “I have a habit of setting three-year goals and then achieving them in six months so it’s all pretty full on. For the future I can see myself starting an online course for artists, helping them start their business, and also expanding with opening a second studio and having more room to do prints.”
And when travel is up and running again she has invites from New Zealand, England and the US to do “meet and greets – just meet up and talk and hang out for a bit”. But as Tahlia says “who knows – everything is happening so quickly”.
And for anyone out there pondering a career in the arts, the advice is to “find your voice first”.
“Anyone can learn to paint, to be more skilful, but the questions you should be asking are what do you offer other people, what value to bring to others, what do you have to say to the world?
“That way, your artist’s voice will be with you no matter what you do, an artist, a music artist, a lyricist…there are so many things you can do but find your voice first, find what you have to offer and remain authentic and genuine.”
Tahlia also realises that she is lucky to wake up every day and do what she loves.
“I have a pretty amazing life and am so grateful. It is very overwhelming and very humbling that I get to do what I love each and every day, surrounded by amazing, inspiring and encouraging people. That is really powerful and if there was one thing I would wish for everyone, that would be it.”
You can see Tahlia’s work on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and at the Empress & Wolf in Daylesford.
Watch this space!
Words: Donna Kelly | Image: Contributed
(This article is supported by the Hepburn Shire Council’s coronavirus grants.)