At the top of the stairs of Galleria Vicino in Potts Point there are two artworks by Sydney-based artist Tania Mason. Before she commenced a guided tour of the main exhibition downstairs, she pointed to them and said they were a starting point for her in many ways. After the birth of her son a few years ago she was itching to create on a grand scale. The works marked the transition towards a new body of work, shown above.  The idea behind the exhibition, A story of an intelligent sleeping beauty, was triggered while Tania was on a residency at The Bundanoon Trust and discovered the book. She was compelled to illustrate the tale, and due to the nature of the original source, she has created illustrations and text for a book, as well as artworks and homewares accessories. Up until this exhibition Tania had a four-year break from exhibiting, but already she is preparing works for an upcoming exhibition at Arthouse Gallery.

Which five words best describe you? Child-like, happy, aloof, creative... I don’t have a fifth!

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Age 11, I watched a Sydney 1980s Les Miserable stage come to life and decided that was it; I wanted to make people feel that. I wanted to become a stage designer. So I worked very hard towards it. I was accepted into NIDA but went over at age 20 and found art! I thought why not learn my “stage design” craft via art, and ended up sticking with it. Since art school my career path has been about developing a practice, getting work out there and exploring what I enjoy; via meeting people, creating and enjoying life through making art.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Move on. Ask yourself true questions. And it’s okay to doubt yourself.

What’s your proudest career achievement? To be commissioned to respond to the centenary relationship between Ballet Dancers and Artists: I was commissioned to respond to The Australian Ballet's Fire Bird and other legends in 2009 Choreographed by Graham Murphy. An amazing and inspiring experience!

What’s been your best decision? I think the best decision I made in life are not one but many! Maybe realising at a young age I wanted to create things allowed me to be comfortable with the world around me. Another decision would probable be establishing an art practise after art school, having a child and being happy with the decisions I make, not regretting things. 

Who inspires you? William Kentridge. Christian Boltanski. Paper - I love working on and with paper; I have too many ideas and not enough time.

What are you passionate about? Raising my son, and the environment - cliche, I know, but I have even completed two exhibitions concerning the environment. It concerns me that we are not looking after it or looking after the future. Art-wise I am passionate about not producing work that is “fashion based”! But passionate about creating new works that inspire, relax and generally get people thinking but within an aesthetic way. I don’t believe we need to exclude people from art nor think the public is dumb when it comes to viewing art.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? William Kentridge. Christian Boltanski. River Phoenix (of course!).

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would love to travel a lot. At the moment all I would like to do is travel through Italy and explore its art, people and food. In relation to art, I would like to create works that move people the way that stage did many moons ago - to create something that people enter and are empowered by - that’s a dream I would like to fulfill and give.

What are you reading? Arthur Boyd: A life by Darleen Bungey.

images courtesy of tania mason