creative women series: the artist behind our sisterly collection
Photographer: Elizabeth Stafford
Our most recent release - the Sisterly Collection - was a product of creative alchemy, born from the collision of brilliant creative minds. One of whom was Bianca Balliro, the artist behind the printed illustration on our Sisterly Totes.
We have the pleasure of sharing Bianca's story and artistic practice behind her beautifully chaotic paintings & illustrations that embody a bold femininity with the balance of fine lines and thick curves.
tell us about your art practice and what inspires you
"I remember literally having a mental breakdown over a uni portfolio; the deadline looming & just not being able to wrangle a concept for the assignment; and from then onwards I swore I wouldn’t pursue a career in the arts. I finally settled into marketing, which is my second great love in life, however the 9 to 5 corporate life doesn’t always permit the opportunity to exercise a full creative license. So I decided to start practicing painting & drawing again.
Something that started as a bit of spontaneous fun, quickly evolved into an every-weekend affair of exploring new textures, mediums & styles, where I can truly ground myself & relax. I am inspired by the composition & diversity of the human body, faces, femininity & sometimes the odd fruit. I love working with wild/bold colour palette, but the minimalism trend has also inspired some work with neutrals, soft beiges & browns coupled with thin lines, which I thoroughly enjoy too. I love painting with acrylics mashed with a bit of impasto for texture. I draw with charcoals or inks; always on flat mediums such as canvas or cold-pressed papers."
Bianca Balliro & her Sisterly Collection illustration
you have developed a signature style that’s identifiable across your mediums. how has this come about, and have you looked to any particular artists to help develop your style?
"Thank you! I am always trying to explore new styles & directions; so it’s nice to know that there is a little bit of synergy somewhere in my work! I absolutely adore the Baroque, Classicism & Post to Mid Impressionism era’s of art. Of course the 'continuous contour-line' trend came from the likes of Matisse & Picasso, then the style was later resurrected & adopted by a lot of current artists. I’ve always loved the simplistic aesthetic of a scribbled thin line, so I guess I added my own flavour to that style.
It’s not uncommon for creatives to draw inspiration from the post-impressionist rockstars (it is why they are the greats after all); personally I like to take note of some of the whimsey colour combinations used in the works of Monet & Cézanne (ie; I love a soft beige paired with a bright cornflower blue), or the jarring tones used by Van Gogh. I also refer to compositions within the works of Cubism, I absolutely love a wild interpretation of form. My own style comes from quite a mish-mash of inspiration, which is the fun of it!"
what’s your earliest memory of your first drawing or painting? do you think that first experience influenced your creative side?
"I feel like the only hobby I ever had as a kid was drawing or creative writing. I remember my mum was quite creative and always encouraged it, and after she passed away I embraced my need for a creative outlet. In that time, I found it difficult to talk to my feelings but I could draw & write; so I attended art therapy & created short poems which really helped me express myself in a healthy way. Art really does heal the soul.
Creativity however, is fickle; we all have varied levels of it but if you don’t foster or feed it, it’s harder to utilise. So like your body, I’m a true believer that if you regularly indulge in an activity that gets your innovative-side ticking, creativity becomes much more effortless. I love that Covid has inspired people to tap into their creative outlets, we might see a huge wave of artists coming out of 2020; the more art in this world the better I say!"
tell us about the illustration you created for the Sisterly Tote
The artwork adorned on the lovely linen tote is a continuous-line, drawn in charcoal, of two women embracing; it represents diversity, empowerment & support, which I feel perfectly depicts the fantastic service that SisterWorks does within our community. I believe that all women should have financial independence & a support network; and gaining these fundamentals are so much harder for those women who have migrated to a foreign country leaving everything & everyone they know behind to provide a better life for their family."
Bianca with her Sisterly Tote in olive.
"My grandparents immigrated from Eastern Europe, and my Baba (grandmother) endured a very violent & toxic relationship. When they moved to Australia to build a more sound future for their children, my Baba never had the opportunity to assimilate into the community: she didn’t get the opportunity to properly learn English, therefore, it was harder for her to make friends. She also never had access to her own money. I later asked her why she did not leave my abusive grandfather; in which she would respond ‘where would I go? I had no money & knew no one’.
I established a deeper understanding & appreciation for organisations like SisterWorks who are there to truly help empower women, and empowerment isn’t just reserved for those in hardship, it should be in every woman’s toolkit no matter the life stage or circumstance. I wish my Baba had the same empowerment through such an organisation. It is so crucial that these services are accessible to women — so where I can do my bit to support, I will."