Home is where the art is for Tsering

By Lana Guineay

“We’re creating something really exciting here at home,” says South Australian artist Tsering Hannaford.

The realist painter first picked up the brush after studying Psychology and Art History at the University of Adelaide, and has since refined her skills in some of New York’s finest art academies – but says she feels lucky to call Adelaide home.

“The creative community in Adelaide is a bit like a family, and that’s unique,” she says.

“Because we live in a smaller city in terms of population, it’s not hard to get to know everyone! SA has been home for some brilliant artists past and present… I think we develop an attitude here that we really can take on the world and achieve highly if we want it.”

Lex Stobie, Peta Mount and Tsering Hannaford (L-R). Photo by James Knowler

Lex Stobie, Peta Mount and Tsering Hannaford (L-R). Photo by James Knowler

Tsering has been ‘taking on the world’ with her photo-realistic work, which has been a finalist for numerous awards, including the renowned national Archibald Prize where she was a finalist in both 2015 and 2016 alongside her father, renowned artist Robert Hannaford.

The sense of community in South Australia has been invaluable in developing her practice, Tsering says.

“I feel really supported by my peers in the arts, painters and other practitioners, too.

“We all share the knowledge that we are really lucky to live in a state like SA, so seeing each other do well really gives a communal sense of pride! I also love the space and easy-going lifestyle here, having a big studio with lots of natural light that isn’t ridiculously expensive is indispensable.”

Composition with Green Glass Jug, 45cm x 60cm, oil on board, 2017

Composition with Green Glass Jug, 45cm x 60cm, oil on board, 2017

To develop community connections Tsering is a member of Well Made, an online platform marketing the work of SA creatives, providing access to the creative community and a one-stop resource of creative spaces.

“As a creative, you’re often much more focused on making the work, and putting yourself out there isn’t always at the forefront of your mind,’ she says.

“Well Made is such a great platform simply because it connects the artist with those in the community who appreciate the art! It’s a go to directory for the public to find a broad range of individual practitioners, arts organisations and spaces, and because it’s curated, there is a very high quality of work.”

Julia and Protea, oil on board, 2015.

Julia and Protea, oil on board, 2015.

Approaching her subjects with her own approach to observational realism, nature is the greatest teacher, Tsering says.

“For me, nothing compares to working from life. It is a visceral experience, and the process itself is just as important the finished product. The end painting is the product of a week of getting to know your sitter, your conversations, and your understanding of them as a living being.”

A careful balance between richness and tranquillity defines Tsering’s art – whether portrait, landscape, or still life.

“I love an ordered, tranquil and reflective mood,” Tsering says.

“Maybe it’s my way of creating order in a chaotic world, or a longing for permanence in a world of transience. My self- portrait work is a little different; here I’m interested in exploring my experiences as a young woman within our Western culture.

Whatever the subject, success is a matter of being truly engaged, she says.

“A successful artwork, no matter what form it takes, is a piece that is the best the artist can create. It is very clear when the whole of an artist’s being, focus and energy has been funnelled into their work, and it makes the artwork sing!”

Check out more Tsering Hannaford’s work, and discover more South Australian talent at Well Made.

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