Could you please introduce yourself and share any hidden talents or something most people wouldn’t know about you?

My name is Inari, currently residing in Sydney. At the moment I am working as a tattoo apprentice and painting when I can. Never put me next to a cheese platter.

Where do you see yourself and your art headed in the next few years?

Hopefully moving well away from commercial jobs and enjoying the benefits of working solely on my own creations.

Have you been met with any challenges as an artist along the way? (Personally or professionally)

I guess that’s life isn’t it? Every challenge is a space for growth. Personally, as an artist, I see and feel my world so intently its difficult to explain what or why I do the things I do or feeling the things I do. I am also a self-crippling perfectionist so sometimes I find myself in tears trying to think of a concept. Professionally, I'm just sick of dickheads not paying artists or holding up their end of the deal.

What does body confidence mean to you? Is it something you’ve ever struggled with and why?

Generally I believe it’s people's confidence in their physical appearance. I really try to avoid thinking about my physical appearance but it’s always in the background of my mind, we have mirrors and cameras to thank for that. I don’t like to give power to “perfect” body ideals, it really is so insignificant. If you’re lying on your bedroom floor in a hot mess, really how important are your photographic angles when you can’t even get off the ground?

I exercise and eat healthy mainly for my mental health, looking healthy just comes with nurturing yourself. People comment on my weight a lot and I do get pretty self-conscious but I know that it truely does not matter. If my body enables me to complete the physical tasks I have at hand, then I’m happy, if not, I’ll make a mental note to train more and eat better.

Can you please share a little about how you go into creating artwork and how you’d describe your style?

I'll sketch out ideas that come to mind and create a plan to execute the painting - deciding on colours, mood and size. Usually I have little notes about the feelings I want to create, song lyrics or my own words. Then I'll photograph a specific person or subject matter. Prep the canvas, mix the planned colours and begin painting. As for my style, I’m still finding my feet.

Do you tend to create from personal experience or from observing the experiences of others?

Usually I will create from personal experience. I think this is why commercial work feels so soulless for me. For my personal work, I will create from experiences I have personally lived through or felt the heaviness of from a close friend or family member. My drive comes from my own story and I wouldn’t empathise with the subject matter if I didn’t feel the experience within myself. 

What’s it like being a woman in the creative industry? Do you find that it has its challenges at times?

Well it has its ups and downs, as for anyone. I don’t like to focus on the fact that things might be a result of my gender. I didn’t grow up being told I wasn’t capable because I was a female or that I had to act "lady like", so it’s not really at the forefront of my mind. I just create.

I could do without the stupid sexist comments when I’m painting in the street, comments such as, "wow, I didn't know girls could paint?!", or, "You did this? All by yourself? .... this whole wall?!" You’ve got to let these comments slide, or if you have the energy just smile and reply with blunt sarcasm.

What’s your favourite part about your body and why?

I like my legs, they're pretty smooth...when they're shaved.

What’s your idea of empowerment?

Having a voice to speak up and a body that can climb fences. 

What message do you have for those who are struggling with body confidence/self-love/weight or appearance issues? – What’s helped you in the past?

Get lost in nature. Destroy your phone.  Sitting in nature has a way of belittling you and fulfilling you at the same time. Sometimes we need to see how small we are (as well as our problems). We need to take the focus off the insignificant things in life that marketing and media tells us are oh so significant. But if you struggle daily, go talk to a good therapist.

Praise You isn’t just about raising awareness for eating disorders and celebrating body positivity – it’s also shining the light on female support in the creative community, in saying that, what does inclusivity and its importance mean to you?

 I think because of the rise of female issues making it to mainstream media in the western world, it has united women so much more or maybe just brought the community back. Seeing the #metoo posts online, I felt closer to girlfriends for sharing their vulnerability. It seems that it has moved women to defend and stand by their female friends and even strangers. Lifting another woman up changes her day, and all aspects of her life. As child bearing humans or choosing not to, we really need the female community support through all the wild changes in our bodies, so we do not alienated.

Maybe it’s an age thing, but it never really occurred to me, until I watched Mean Girls, that we really shouldn’t be calling girls "sluts". This thought just unraveled all these male ideals the world had taught me and as I learnt more and listened more to my mother, I thought, Fuck this misogynist, patriarchy bullshit, come on ladies! 

What inspires your style of art? What are the best ways you've found that have refined your practice?

Good letters, nice painting textures, urban erosion, classical paintings, going to classes, asking people for tips.

When it comes to female support – what comes to mind for you? Is it positive or negative?

This is a weary, mismatch in my head. The legal system is broken, globally. A lot of women are fending for themselves and also being judged for every choice they make along the way. Small communities are popping up more and more in the western world to provide support for women but most struggle to receive funding. There is a long fight ahead but I’m glad it has taken some big steps in the last few years.  Being surrounded by fierce woman who aren’t afraid of telling people to shove it really helps.

Do you have any mantras or words to live by?

Do what makes you uncomfortable.

What advice what you give your 18-year-old self if you could?

Ha! Oh god. Accept everyone for the way they are, if you don’t like it, let them go. You cant change/help anyone that doesn’t want it. But my mum use to tell me that a lot, so I don’t think my 18 yo self would even listen.

What the biggest risk you’ve taken to date? What were the pressure points and was it worth it?

Moving from Melbourne to Sydney, to live with my boyfriend whom I had known for 2 months.  Well you could imagine all the difficulties, but I've never broken through so many walls in my life and in such a short amount of time. Definitely worth it, I have him at the end of each day.

What’s been one of your most memorable jobs? cleaning.

How do you keep up your creative momentum? Where do you look to for the drive to create?

I’ve learnt to relax. I’ve read a lot on ‘how to keep the momentum alive’ and most artist just allow themselves space to have new ideas to flow. Music and enjoying the outside inspire me.

How has your work and practice developed over time?

I believe my skills are improving and my practice, believe it or not, has become more organised. 

What or who have been some of your main creative influences?

Graffiti has been a major part of my life and because of that I have idolised so many graffiti writers, especially those like John Kaye, Sirum, Dabs and Myla, Numskull, Askew, who have really found a nice place between fine art, design and straight graffiti skills. Most of the time their processes influence me more then their actual styles.

Who’s work are you currently loving right now and why?

Lou Ros. His paintings are just so loose but the right amount of refinement. 

Social media has been on a pretty interesting journey over the past few years - where do you see it now as opposed to two years ago?

I really don’t like it. It’s this weird bubble where your art skills really don’t matter in comparison to be more marketable and have a strong presence, I.e, constantly planning your feed, having a uniform page etc. I’d rather meet people in the flesh and see paintings/walls/exhibitions in real life. Also what are the effects on body image? It seems a “good” selfie with your painting in the background gathers a lot more attention then an incredible work of art.

Do you think there should be more talk on body image specifically in the creative industry and what do you think is missing when it is in the spotlight?

Ultimately, I believe we should normalise our naked, scarred, stretched, human bodies, thats why I love painting real people, not photoshopped models. Companies really should be the ones normalising “imperfections” but why would they do that when they make so much profit solely off peoples insecurities. 

I recommend spending more time with yourself. You do you. As I said before, get a hobby, get outside, turn the tv off and enjoy yourself. 

Instagram: inariariella