What Makes an Artist: Leah Mariani and Her Take on Fashion

Leah Mariani is a Melbourne-based Australian artist. Her thematic influence comes from children and fashion. She knew right from the start that she was a creative person. As a toddler, she drew anything she set her eyes on and kept drawing until year twelve. She had an overwhelming urge to create artworks after her pregnancy. “I had started to question what was really important to me,” says Leah.

But, Leah’s artistic influence is carefully derivative of her professional life as an accountant. “You could make more money as an accountant; I hadn’t thought about art as a career for a long time,” says Leah.

Leah Mariani_ProfileLeah Mariani in her studio

Leah likes to work with oil on cotton printed fabrics and canvas and alternatively, she uses a combination of watercolour, pencil, pen and collage on paper. “I like to incorporate some of my drawing techniques into my painting,” admits Leah.

Leah Mariani_The EscapologistLeah’s painting; the Escapologist

Her earlier artworks were about children and indulging in themes of innocence and carefree summer days spent by the water.

Beach BumsLeah Mariani’s painting; Beach Bums

Her oil paintings are about the over-sexualisation of fashion and women’s issues, structured with calculated patterns, reminiscent of her skills as an accountant. “Fashion is kind of sexist in a way,” explains Leah when talking about her influences. She talks about how in earlier times corsets, and now heels restrict movement and make a statement on how women should dress. “I’m just fascinated with why we are fascinated with fashion,” says Leah.

Leah Mariani_Freedom of ThoughtLeah’s bestselling artwork; Freedom of Thought

Leah’s artwork Freedom of Thought is our personal favourite. The artwork encapsulates a love of colour, paper, drawing, and of course freedom of expression which is represented by the butterflies. The colour palette is predominately cool greens and blues with a splash of orange and mustard.

Leah Mariani_DisconnectedLeah’s integration of  drawing and watercolour; Disconnect

Leah’s favourite contemporary artist is Sally Smart. Sally’s style showcases collages and is representative of feminist issues and gender politics, much like Leah’s use of theme in her own artworks.

Sally Smart_ArtworkSally Smart’s Boab Installation

Sally Smart_Artwork 2Sally Smart’s Choreographing Collage

We asked Leah how she manages to integrate two opposite fields of careers and do them both so well. “Art and finance are so different but there is a good balance, like with Leonardo da Vinci, who was into art and math and science,” says Leah.

Leah Mariani_2Leah Mariani busy with her latest masterpiece

Unlike many artists, Leah doesn’t feel that the artistic life is lonely. She is currently working as an accountant, painting in her free time, raising two kids with her husband and is also doing a Visual Arts diploma from the Box Hill Institute. Talk about being multifaceted!

“Painting is like meditation to me; it’s me time,” says Leah when talking about her artistic process. It’s a very busy year for Leah but she hopes to continue creating artworks that celebrates freedom of expression while integrating a sense of structure and tightness to it.

Support Australian artists, buy paintings by Leah Mariani online here.

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Icons Uncovered – A bluethumb Exhibition

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