On show: Sarah Wallace-Smith in her commercial space at Art on View. Photos: SUPPLED

Local artist profile: Sarah Wallace-Smith

September 12, 2021 BY

THIS week we speak to multi-disciplinary artist Sarah Wallace-Smith


How and why did you initially get into art?

Art has always been a passion, but it wasn’t until my youngest child was at school that I was able to study visual arts at TAFE and continued to uni.

When I started, I had a go at anything and everything that was on offer, and it continues to be such a joy to learn more about contemporary artists, and art history.


How would you describe your artistic style?

“Watch this space” is how I’d describe it! I find that I apply different mediums and styles as I explore subjects that interest me. I’ve used everything from graphite to gunpowder!

Often my work examines stories from families of Veterans or life on the farm. Currently, I am busy working on a series of spring themed paintings for a September Exhibition by the Artists in Residence @Valentines.

I have set myself the challenge to complete each panel, using a limited palette of two colours (different each time) and inserting a bird or animal that I’ve spied in my garden.

Wallace-Smith’s work Off to sea.

Which painters/artists inspire you?

Well, I was inspired by the dynamic mark marking of the current Brett Whiteley: Drawing is Everything Exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery.

Other favourites would be Clarice Beckett. I don’t know what it is about her dreamlike paintings, but I am often left thinking about them, days, months, years later.

Joy Hester, another Australian, who danced to her own tune. I love how her paintings accentuate the emotions of the sitter.

My non-Australian pick would be Tala Madani. Oh my God! Her work makes me laugh out loud!


What are some highlights/fond memories you have from your career?

I was really honoured to be a finalist in the Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize and to be invited to judge this year’s RAW Arts Award.

Working with the Bendigo Pride team is awesome, and I’ve had a blast this year.

I am also super proud of my artwork being used for fundraising purposes for Bendigo Legacy.


How has your work been affected by COVID?

Unfortunately, I started my commercial art space, Art on View at the very start of the pandemic, so lockdowns and no tourists or Melbourne visitors has made it a slow burn!

The silver lining to COVID for me has been the chance to arrange for top notch local artworks to be hung in businesses around Bendigo.

Bathed in sunlight, soaked in rain.

What have you been working on lately?

A very nostalgic piece that tries to articulate the feelings children might have as their father goes off to sea. It’s basically a pencil drawing, with a watercolour sky…

Since COVID, I’ve found that drawing offers me a form of mediation in a way. It doesn’t need the big decisions required of painting.


Is there anything special coming up on the horizon?

The Spring Fling Exhibition between 10-20 September @ Valentines, 18 View Street, Bendigo.

I will have just created my very first Zoom class – cLay pLay, create your own perfectly imperfect creature/deity inspired by Thai born, Melbourne artist, Vipoo Srivilasa.


Most importantly, how and where can people see and buy your work?

Visit Art on View Studio Gallery & Workshops, 18 View Street, 10am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm, visit artonview.com.au or follow @art.onview on social media.

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