We chatted with Tina Dinte about her painting and art:
How did you first get started in painting and art?
I started painting back in high school when I lovingly painted a mural on my cupboard door with extremely thick paint – much to my mother’s horror. I went onto studying graphic design and IT and spent over 15 years in this area of expertise. I also spent many years doing colour consulting, interior styling and renovating on the side. Fast forward to 2016, I had enough of being in front of the computer so I went back and did some refresh art courses and I haven’t looked back. Whilst I do still do some design work, most of my days are spent in my converted shipping container studio painting.
Why did you move to painting with squeeze bottles?
I consider myself more as an artist who draws instead of painting. I find the process of mixing colours, getting the right paint consistency and selecting the perfect brush frustrating. So after MUCH experimentation, I worked out a method that allows me to ‘draw’ with paint onto the canvas with squeeze bottles. Each set of bottles has different paint consistencies — thick/normal/thin.
The small nibs enable me to do all the fine detail, just like I would do with a sharpened pencil when finessing drawing. I find I can produce paintings with wonderful textures and depth using areas of solid colour, different line thicknesses, stippling and blending of paint.
What motivated you to branch out to cheese boards and tote bags?
Two years ago, I wanted to make everyone a Christmas present instead of buying something random in a big department store. I didn’t want to do a painting – I was conscious that if people didn’t like the painting, they would feel compelled to put it on display just in case I dropped over. So I made everyone a tapas serving board – a full painted board covered with resin that could have little bowls on it. If they didn’t like it, …. they could always store it in a cupboard. They turned out to be a huge hit.
Some people used them as tapas boards but most used them as artwork on their walls. There was a lot of trial and error getting the paint consistencies perfect and choosing the correct food-safe resin but I have found people love having a board with some colour instead of just plain timber.
The tote bags come from my continued desire to offer art that is practical and usable. Just like the cheese boards are usable, the tote bags are like carrying around a piece of art but it also holds your cans of baked beans!
What inspires your designs? Or who or what influences your art?
I enjoy creating bespoke pieces inspired by old books, textures in photos and the shapes in nature — sea life, trees, leaves, feathers, typography of landscapes, flow of moving water and animals running. These subjects are portrayed in my unique and colourful style. I also spend a lot of time just people watching and looking around me everywhere when I am out and about. It’s amazing how just the shape or texture of a building may inspire a pattern in a wing of a bird.
In regards to who inspires my artwork, I would say the theory behind surrealism and in particular, Salvador Dali inspires me. A lot of the fine detail work is purely instinctual. Once I get into the flow of painting, the shapes just happen even to the point that I see an artwork finished and I sometimes don’t remember doing some of the detail. My husband would just say that I am forgetful.
I also try to do most things in the opposites – green sea instead of blue or a blue flamingo instead of pink – colour combinations that just aren’t ‘normal’.
What message do you hope to achieve with your art?
It sounds corny but I just want people to be happy and smile when they see my art. I want to uplift people – if they have been having a bad day they can look at my artwork, it makes them feel lighter. That is why I use a lot of colour – some vibrant colour schemes and others more soothing.
Who’s your favourite artist?
I have more than one… Salvador Dali and Vincent Van Gogh are my two favourite famous artists. Closer to home, I love Amanda Krantz (Melbourne) and Scott Breton (Brisbane).
If you could tell your younger ‘artist’ anything, what would it be?
Don’t listen to the nay-sayers in high school that becoming a fine artist isn’t the best career direction.
What’s the most common myth about artists?
I think a lot of people think artists are just hobbyists and ‘play’ around with paint all day. And perhaps there isn’t really that much skill in creating an artwork – especially an abstract. There is a huge amount of thinking that goes into an artwork, and certainly a lot of work. Composition, colour combinations, technique, the interactions of shapes etc are all well thought out and executed.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
I have just completed a collaboration with a Brisbane based fashion designer. Barbara, from Birds on Bikes, creates bike wear for women and she asked me to create a new print for her upcoming range. It was challenging as I haven’t created textiles before but it was a fantastic learning experience.
I am also extremely happy that I have been able to donate to the Art for Bales movement (#artforbales) through the sale of my artwork. I have been wanting to do something big for the farmers experiencing drought. When I hear the stories about people committing suicide and animals dying, as a person who lives in the city, this is something that will never happen directly to me. Through Art for bales and a very generous purchaser, I am able to donate AUS$1,250 direct to Rural Aid. Whilst this may not be a career highlight, it has been a highlight in my life.
What are the plans for the future?
I would like to upsize my artwork – create paintings on a much larger scale. Who wouldn’t want to see a 2m wide flamingo! I would also like to continue creating artwork that is accessible by most people and has a practical use.
About Tina Dinte
Tina Dinta is an artist based in the bayside suburbs in Brisbane. Head to her website to see more artwork and shop online: https://www.tinadinte.com.au/