“I see music. When I hear music, bird song etc, I literally see moving colours, patterns and textures in my visual field. I have been seeing sound for as long as I can remember.” Tanja Ackerman’s upcoming exhibition “Art Symphony” is a series of works portraying ‘Synaesthesia’, a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.
What brought you to the Bellingen Shire Tanja?
The vibrant art and music scene and natural beauty drew me to Bellingen in my early 20’s. Attending the Global Music Festival being a highlight. As a result of numerous trips each year to Bellingen from the Northern Beaches of Sydney we decided to buy a property. A great decision as we now spend at least two weekends a month living in Bellingen and have done so for over 20 years now.
Has living in the Bellingen Shire influenced your work?
Absolutely, as a part-time local living in Bellingen for 20 years I have had a long love affair with one of the most beautiful places in the world. I have travelled and hiked extensively and Bellingen remains a favourite place. Solitude is powerful and essential for my creative process and the abundant natural environment of Bellingen and its surrounds allows me to walk, explore and create surrounded by nature.
How did you become involved in the arts initially?
Art has been a large part of my life since I was a child. Drawing as young girl, art as a subject in high school and discovering the beginning of my own style of painting when I was an adolescent. I am now 48 and have been involved in numerous exhibitions.
Was there life before your art?
Art and creativity is the fabric of my being. I have always been creative. Expressing myself through my art, music, writing, photography and composition. There is no before for me as creativity is a part of who and how I am. I lead a rich, full, active life. Never a dull moment.
How would you describe your style/ approach to your subject matter?
Being a multi-media artist I have a variety of styles. Fundamentally my style draws upon my unique way of viewing the world. I am extremely sensitive. This sensitivity allows me to translate what I see, hear, feel in a deep creative way through my work. I am highly attuned to my environment, in particular; nature, music, dadirri (indigenous concept of deep listening) and my inner world.
What is your favourite medium?
I do not have a long term favourite as I work in a variety of mediums. I predominantly paint with acrylics and some oils. I am passionate about drawing in pen, ink and charcoal which I find calming and meditative. I carry a camera with me most of the time and love macro, landscape and expressionistic photography. I often use emotions, themes and my own poetry to create unique photographs and series of work.
Has anyone or anything really influenced your style?
Music. Sound. Patterns in nature. The complexity, colour, movement, texture and sounds of nature. Haiku. Pain. I have overcome challenges and this has come through in my work as a means of expression, developing compassion and allowing me to let go.
Which artist’s works do you admire the most?
I love Frida Khalo. She overcame extraordinary circumstances through painting.
Have you got any other exciting projects on the horizon?
Always working on a project. I am currently working on a collection of drawings which are meditative, detailed pen and ink Mandalas. Secondly a stunning set of photographs entitled “Miksang I” which is Tibetan for seeing with a good eye. I look forward to exhibiting both these bodies of work soon.
“Art Symphony” is a series of colourful, patterned, detailed works of Acrylic on Canvas. The exhibition opens at The Little Red Kitchen in Bellingen on Sunday 12th February, 2.30- 4.30 pm. A wide genre of music has been portrayed including: Pink Floyd, Beethoven, Pearl Jam, Bob Marley, Thomas Tallis, Led Zeppelin and many more. Come and SEE the music.