The art of living beautifully
Many artists dream of living an island lifestyle surrounded by natural beauty and making a living from their work. Sarah Elliott is doing just that.
Sarah Elliott is the Tasmanian behind the brand Elliott My Dear. Those who have picked up a whimsy brooch from the Brooke Street Pier on their way to the Mona ferry, or mulled over prints at Salamanca will know her style well. Gentle and understated, much like her illustrations, Sarah has spent most of her life painting in Tasmania, allowing the surroundings to influence her art.
“It’s such a beautiful and wild landscape to work in,” says Sarah. “The light changes dramatically and the weather can transform it. It’s remote and unhindered.”
Sarah studied at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne University, before returning home to Tasmania and having three children. For the past five years her livelihood has been her painting, with her work increasingly popular with locals and tourists alike.
It was Tasmania’s ever-popular Salamanca Market that provided the means to test Sarah’s dream of building a career as an artist, with some 25 000 potential customers estimated to wander through Australia’s largest outdoor market on a busy Saturday.
A growing reputation and strong online presence allows Sarah to share her art with the rest of the country while she lives, works and raises a family in Tasmania. Her work features locally in a shared shopfront on the Brooke Street Pier and at the Salamanca Market, as well as in shops and galleries across the country where she is well supported in design markets.
“I very much enjoy the market. I have great neighbours and a lot of real support from the public,” says Sarah. “I get genuine and open feedback on my work from people coming to my stall. It’s a great way to see what is working and why for different people.”
So what’s a typical day like for a stall holder? For Sarah, setting up is a relatively efficient process after years of practice. In typical market fashion, neighbours help each other, get each other a coffee, and then visitors begin to stream through. The market is open every Saturday other than Christmas Day and Anzac Day, and sits in the heart of a growing artistic precinct that spreads across Hobart’s waterfront.
Tens of thousands of cruise ship passengers disembark each summer and popular festivals such as Dark MOFO, Festival of Voices and the Taste of Tasmania bring huge crowds to the varied and exciting galleries.
For Sarah, Tasmania is a fitting locale to be an artist. There’s a strong and supportive artistic community, one she feels fortunate to be part of.
“It’s an easy place to meet artists and get connected with like-minded creative people and to work alongside each other,” she explains. “Also, there is a relatively affordable lifestyle here for artists, good studios are readily available and there are lots of great galleries. [To] those who might consider being an artist in Tasmania, I would say, it’s certainly a great place to support those pursuits.”
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Find out more about Elliott My Dear.
For information on starting a business in Tasmania look through our stories and visit Business Tasmania.