Creating magic

Lara Scolari paints because she has an innate need to do so — if her work sells, that’s a bonus. Darling speaks to the artist who still pinches herself when someone buys one of her pieces.

Being an artist can be a very vulnerable path. You make something deeply personal and then present it to the world with an open heart, not knowing how it’ll be received. This vulnerability doesn’t faze local artist Lara Scolari.

“It takes me a long time to dream up an idea and transform it into a piece of art. When I finally get to share it with the world, I’m just excited. I don’t worry if someone likes it or not, I just let go and the magic happens.”

And the magic happened in 2014 after a sellout solo exhibition at the Dank Street Gallery in Waterloo. Since then, Lara has exhibited at more than 75 group and solo shows both in Australia and overseas. After rave reviews at the Affordable Art Fairs in Singapore and Hong Kong and The Other Art Fair in Los Angeles, Lara was set to return in 2020. But then our borders closed.

“To say I was disappointed is an understatement”, says Lara. “My art is popular with international buyers (they love everything Australian) and to be invited back to Asia and the US was a great honour.”

Lara took what could have been a major setback and turned it on its head. She channelled her energy into new collections including Peoples, a collaboration with good friend and fellow artist Tara Eales and Flight, a celebration of our spirit bird.

Lara also refurbished her Beattie Street gallery and developed a new line of rugs for Designer Rugs Australia.

“Staying local gave me an opportunity to connect with the community and host smaller, more intimate exhibitions. I can’t express my sincere gratitude to our local community for believing in and supporting my art making practice.”

Named one of Australia’s most exciting contemporary visual artists, Lara still gets unsolicited advice regarding her art. “I’m often encouraged to create more works like this one or that because that’s what most people like – that’s what sells. I know the person is trying to help, but comments like these leave me perplexed. In my mind I’m thinking, don’t you get it? It’s not about what’s selling, it’s about the creative process. I love painting, it’s like meditation to me.”

Like most of us, after two years at home, Lara is looking forward to heading overseas. “Covid gave me a unique opportunity to bunker down and create. I’ve shared these new works with the local community and I’m now ready to share it with the world.”

48 Beattie St, Balmain

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