Artist Jennifer Lia on Her Latest Coastal-Inspired Wall Art Collections

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We caught up with contemporary artist, Jennifer Lia, to discuss her latest collection, her creative inspirations, and the unique appeal of the Australian art design scene…

Jennifer Lia’s artworks encapsulate the essence of Australian coastal living with their broad brush strokes and tides of oceanic blues.

She manifests the powerful sight and sound of the sea in her paintings, inspired by the landscape around her Manly studio.

The latest collections from Jennifer Lia include ‘Shallows’, ‘Beams’, and ‘Local’, which visualises scenes from familiar Australian coasts in new, artistic forms.

‘Local’ combines the grace and effervescence of the ocean with the familiarity and nostalgia of a day at the beach.

CROP Jennifer Lia Pic
Australian artist and designer, the ever-lovely Jennifer Lia… Learn more about her art here.

How did your study of textiles inform your visual art? What about your love of music? How do you translate that to paper?

It gave me an understanding of the intrinsic links between the senses and their power in triggering memory.

It was incredible to experiment with scents and scale when I was studying where now I translate that tactile sensibility into new emotive landscapes.

I’ve played violin since I was six and my husband is a musician so music and art have always been huge influences in my life.

They are a unique language in themselves – I liken staccato to brush strokes, or playing by ear as gestural instinct or intuition when I paint.

We both have our studios at home, so there’s always music around the house, which I love!

JLO02 - Icebergs Original
Featured: Icebergs Original Acrylic Framed Canvas Painting from Jennifer Lia. Available on Zanui.

What do you do when you’re painting? Do you have a special routine for getting inspired?

It alternates between having a defined idea, like the quick watercolour sketches I did of my favourite coastal spots that emerged into the ‘Local’ series, or just going for it – embracing mistakes, walking away and coming back to a piece.

I live in Manly and a morning walk to Shelly beach is my regular – a big dose of inspiration and such an incredible way to start the day.

Who are your art influences and your favourite designers?

I’ve got a lot!  I get inspiration from a big eclectic mix…

Fine Art:

Brett Whiteley, Ken Done, Helen Frankenthaler, Tracey Emin Mark Rothko, Picasso, Kandinsky.

Locally:

Anya Brock, Mia Oatley, Prudence Caroline, Jai Vasicek.

Designers:

Bonnie & Neil, Walter G Textiles, Soko, Milly Dent, Slow down studio, Ettorre Sottsass & McQueen.

Musically:

Bowie, Beyonce, Fleetwood Mac, Radiohead, Pharrell, Patti Smith, Jarvis Cocker and Hayden James.

JLCP03 & JLCP08 - Underwater Love & Boat Shed Canvas Prints
Jennifer’s studio in Manly, featuring the Boat Shed Canvas Print available on Zanui.

How would you describe your art style? What makes an artwork unmistakably ‘Jennifer Lia’?

It’s most definitely got a shade of blue – it’s my favourite hue!

The ocean is my calm and I strive to evoke this sense to the viewer in my work through my colour palette and sweeping strokes.

What is it about the ocean that sparked your inspiration for your latest collection, ‘Local’?

It’s healing, cathartic and magic – everyone has some connection to its awe-inspiring power, fragility and raw beauty.  I think people can be quite protective of and identify with their local.

It’s comforting and familiar yet ever changing so I want to bring something new visually with my interpretations.

JLCP03 Under Water Love Canvas Print
Featured: Underwater Love Canvas Print and the Sea Foam Indoor/Outdoor Cushion Cover (center) from Jennifer Lia. Available on Zanui.

Why is it important to feature Australian artwork in our homes? How is the Australian art scene different and unique?

Supporting Australian and local artists is incredibly important to me.  Choosing local fosters support and talent in the community that perhaps wouldn’t have the chance to flourish.

It’s something really close to my heart so I ensure all of my fine art prints, cushions and homewares are printed and manufactured in Australia with most in my local Sydney area.

I think we have an incredibly supportive art scene and community in Australia – I love Instagram and have found a lot of inspiring local artists that I follow through it which also gave me the confidence to give it a go.

There’s definitely been a shift in the last few years to interiors and homewares through social platforms.  The market is more accessible too and I think that’s a really positive thing.

I love the idea of everyone owning and enjoying a piece of art.

JLO05 - Past Life Original 1
Featured: Past Life Canvas Print from Jennifer Lia. Available on Zanui.

Do you have a favourite trend or style at the moment? Have there been any must-have pieces or design ideas you’ve fallen in love with?

I love the minimalist, mid-century look and the soft bohemian influence with tropical green botanicals.

I’m always finding inspiration and ideas on Instagram and Pinterest – I love seeing how people make new combinations with soft furnishings, fine art and bring the outdoors in.

What would you consider your biggest achievement/s thus far?

I’m proud to have had the courage to go out on my own and start my business.  It’s been a real dream.

I was a fashion buyer for 10 years and sidelined my creative until I felt I could do it on my own or just couldn’t hold it in any longer!

It’s definitely been a different challenge from the corporate world, but it is oh-so rewarding and soul nourishing.

Kyra Thomsen is a writer and editor from Sydney, NSW. She has experience in copywriting, blogging, journalism, and social media. After completing two degrees in Creative Writing and English Literature in 2013 she began work with the content team at Zanui. Kyra was the winner of the 2012 Questions Writing Prize and her work has been published in print and online for numerous sources, including Writer's Edit, Seizure, and Fairfax Media among others.