5 minutes with … artist Octavia Tomyn

Art has always been a passion here at Push PR, whether it be through exhibitions, connecting with creatives or celebrating creativity. This past year has been a prime time for many of us to work on our creative flair and bring our inspirations and stories from pen to paper.

For some ‘doodling’ is a hobby, for others it’s ‘exploring life with a line’. We spoke with Australian artist Octavia Tomyn, ex-fashion designer turned paint extraordinaire, about how she celebrates life through her drawings and the stories you can tell through one simple line …

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you go from fashion designer to artist?
I was on maternity leave from my job as a designer when I felt the need to create again. I decided to paint some art for our new home in the line style that I love and have practiced for many years. When I shared a few pictures on Instagram I was so encouraged by the feedback I decided to start sharing my work formally and the commissions started rolling in. I have not looked back and this has become my new career and absolute dream job!

What fascinates you the most about ‘line art’?
I love that so much emotion, movement and life can be expressed with a single line. There is purity in its refinement. For me, it is a direct expression of a thought or feeling, often communicating more than words can, digging in to a deep, subconscious place.

What is it about your personality that you think has helped you in your art?
Motivation. Every day I am excited and committed to working on my art. I love it and live for it. I am not the type of artist that needs to wait for a particular mood or inspiration to strike, I am ready to go each day and can’t wait to get stuck in to it. It’s also my break from full time stay at home mum duties!

Do you have a process when creating a new piece?
Yes, I have processes that I follow for commissioned work to give clients clarity and collaborative input. They are simple and usually include inspirational sketching for initial ideas, refinement sketching of those ideas and colour studies. These are then presented to the client and refined again. I then get started on the final piece, which I find is the easiest part!

When I have the freedom of creating my own work, I still follow this same process, but the ideas and concepts usually come from a very personal place and the process is smooth and organic.

Do you have a philosophy you live by through your art?
Don’t overthink it, create from the heart, the first idea is usually the best.

We’ve read that you pray and meditate over your work before you begin, tell us a little bit more …
My faith plays a big role in my life and work and provides huge inspiration for my art. When I pray over my work, whether it’s for the family that I am creating or simply contemplating and processing a thought or feeling, it is as though the prayer continues on to the paper, a subconscious dialogue that often surprises me with the outcome. I don’t overthink it and I enjoy the collab with God!

What message does your art say?
I want the viewer to feel understood and loved. I often create a lot of privately commissioned work as I love to work directly with a client to tell their story and capture what is most previous to them. I want people to be reminded of the blessings in life and to know that they matter.

Who are your biggest influences?
Aesthetically, I have always been drawn to artists like Picasso, Matisse and Le Corbusier, but my career in fashion and design has also had a huge impact on how I collect and process ideas. I am inspired by women, relationships and emotions, history, other creators and trends, but my greatest inspiration is my faith and my desire to share God’s love in my work and interactions.

What has lockdown been like for your creativity?
I think lockdown has intensified my need to create. It’s almost like a drug that I need a little hit of each day and I can’t stop! It has given me structure and sanity to my week and fuelled new inspiration in the form of ideas, the way I observe things. I am very thankful that the few services I need to run my business are still operating so I can keep manically creating!

And finally any advice for aspiring artists who are still searching for their unique style?
Having your own handwriting and voice is paramount. Explore, create, experiment, research, reach out to other artists, build a community, but don’t cloud yourself with comparisons and other people’s work. When you find your own, genuine form of expression, it will shine. Your authenticity will be attractive to others. I love doing fast exercises such as blind drawing or prayer drawing to get myself out of my head and into that deeper place where true expression lies. Also, buy yourself some quality art supplies. Nothing is more motivating!

Discover more of Octavia’s work on her website or via her Instagram page.

Push Team x

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