Contemporary artist Lara Scolari didn’t always paint as a career. The former arts administrator picked up the brushes full-time five years ago, after a life-changing placement as an ‘artist in residence’ in Sydney.
“Although I’m Balmain born and bred, I was working in Dubbo regional gallery in art administration and education when I went for the ‘artist in residency’ program,” says Lara who’s since returned to Balmain, and set up a studio filled with her brightly-coloured canvases
“The ‘artist in residence’ program actually gives you a house and pays you to make art. I thought if I get that I’ll move to Sydney and take 6 months off work,” she explains.
“When I went for it, I thought it would give me a taste of what it’s like being an artist full-time. I was lucky enough to win that and just fell in love with it”.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
These days Lara’s abstract works celebrating Australian landscapes adorn the walls of top restaurants, including Sails on Sydney’s Lavender Bay waterfront.
“I’ve also done Marina Mirage in the Whitsundays, so that’s exciting.”
“Really, my clients are broad,” Lara says. “I had a lot of support from my community starting out, now it’s spread to the interior design community”.
A chance meeting with multi-awarded interior designer Greg Natale became a turning point in Lara’s new painting career.
“A woman was walking past my gallery, and said ‘I like your paintings’, she came in and at the time I was working on a new series,” Lara explains.
“The woman told me her interior designer was visiting that afternoon and asked whether she could show him my work?” says Lara.
“So we packed the paintings into her car and she took them home. I didn’t realise at the time, but her interior designer was Greg Natale!”
And from that meeting forward, leading Australian designers have curated Lara’s art for interiors, exhibitions, and events.
“All these interior designers seem to be marked with the same cloth. They’re so creative and process driven and I really like working with them,” says Lara grinning widely.
And the accolades keep flowing. Lara was recently chosen to represent Australia at the Talented and Emerging Artist Fair in Santa Monica, USA to be held in October.
The fair showcases work by 100 talented and emerging artists, each hand-picked by a selection committee of art world experts.
And Lara has a new exhibition titled ‘Flux’ which opens at Sydney’s Maunsell Wickes Gallery in October.
“I’m very excited, very excited! The next 12 months for me are going to be amazing, I just want to paint, paint, paint.