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What makes an artist: Leah Mariani and her take on fashion

This article is extracted from the Bluethumb blog. Bluethumb is an online selling platform dedicated to selling Australian art to Australian art collectors. To see the full article go to:

Leah Mariani is a Melbourne-based Australian artist. Her thematic influence comes from children and fashion. She knew right from the start that she was a creative person. As a toddler, she drew anything she set her eyes on and kept drawing until year twelve. She had an overwhelming urge to create artworks after her pregnancy. “I had started to question what was really important to me,” says Leah.

But, Leah’s artistic influence is carefully derivative of her professional life as an accountant. “You could make more money as an accountant; I hadn’t thought about art as a career for a long time,” says Leah.

Leah likes to work with oil on cotton printed fabrics and canvas and alternatively, she uses a combination of watercolour, pencil, pen and collage on paper. “I like to incorporate some of my drawing techniques into my painting,” admits Leah.

Her oil paintings are about the over-sexualisation of fashion and women’s issues, structured with calculated patterns, reminiscent of her skills as an accountant. “Fashion is kind of sexist in a way,” explains Leah when talking about her influences. She talks about how in earlier times corsets, and now heels restrict movement and make a statement on how women should dress. “I’m just fascinated with why we are fascinated with fashion,” says Leah.

Leah’s artwork Freedom of Thought is our personal favourite. The artwork encapsulates a love of colour, paper, drawing, and of course freedom of expression which is represented by the butterflies. The colour palette is predominately cool greens and blues with a splash of orange and mustard.

Leah’s integration of drawing and watercolour; Disconnect

Leah’s favourite contemporary artist is Sally Smart. Sally’s style showcases collages and is representative of feminist issues and gender politics, much like Leah’s use of theme in her own artworks.

We asked Leah how she manages to integrate two opposite fields of careers and do them both so well. “Art and finance are so different but there is a good balance, like with Leonardo da Vinci, who was into art and math and science,” says Leah.

Unlike many artists, Leah doesn’t feel that the artistic life is lonely. She is currently working as an accountant, painting in her free time, raising two kids with her husband and is also doing a Visual Arts diploma from the Box Hill Institute. Talk about being multifaceted!

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