06 Oct 2022Mont Marte

For mum and daughter duo, Aurora Art (@aurora.art.co), their creative journey began at home. Inspired by their family heritage and culture, mum Lani and daughter Zara always had creative energies but building Aurora Art was a way to connect as a family and discover their inner artists along the way.

When we discovered them, we loved their earthy colours and blends of bright pastels as abstract florals meet realistic, nature designs. We asked Lani and Zara how their culture influences their art, how creativity was encouraged in the family home and what’s next for the artists.

Lani and Zara sitting on the ground of their studio with colourful artworks hanging on the wall behind and on an easel with paints behind them.

How did your journey to becoming the art duo “Aurora Art” unfold?
Lani: Being mother and daughter, we have always enjoyed being creative together. Zara has a Fine Arts degree and has always had a passion for painting and drawing. I completed my first big canvas painting for our first house over 20 years ago and soon realised the importance of art in each room and creating a personal style. I recall fondly one evening when we decided to launch Aurora Art.

Zara: I completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts and since a young age, I have always done a lot of painting and drawing. Mum would often join me in her own projects when I was working on my course work [at university] and that’s when we decided to start Aurora Art.

Lani, your family are from Papua New Guinea, how does your culture influence your art?
Lani: Your surroundings and the people you spend time with can influence you throughout your life. My culture influences my artwork and personal style. Growing up, I did some of my schooling in Papua New Guinea and my family home was filled with beautiful artefacts, bilums [traditional woven bags], beads, weavings, carvings, and artwork which inspires me.

Zara: Our culture influences my art greatly from my use of colour, pattern, and the landscapes I paint. Every day I proudly carry my belongings in a Highlands bilum. In our house, we have carvings, weavings, Oro tapa cloth and bilums that inspire me.

Artwork by Zara of two PNG women.

Zara, what was it like growing up in a creative household?
Zara: Art and music are my passion, I wake up in the morning excited to create and experiment with new ideas. I’ve always been creative and involved in art and music since a young age. I am also a performer, I sing and play acoustic guitar at venues and functions around Melbourne and have done so since I was 14.

I am grateful to have a family that’s always encouraged and highlighted the importance of the arts in our home. Both my brothers are also talented in music, they play the piano and bass guitar.

Lani, how did you encourage creativity within the family when Zara was younger?
Lani: Zara has a natural artistic talent and enjoyed painting and drawing when she was young. I’ve always encouraged her to paint and create what she loves from her heart.

Colourful abstract artwork with pastel colours hanging on a wall next to two pink pillows and a green plant.

How do you work best?
Lani: We sometimes paint together and work on the same artwork, but most often we paint separately.

How do you both approach creating an artwork? Is it planned or intuitive?
Lani: We paint most days, however, it’s important to rest, reflect, recharge and be inspired. Our original artworks are created over a few weeks. We usually start with a base layer and then slowly build the details. I never plan anything unless it’s a custom commission ordered by a client. I like to paint freely and intuitively.

Zara: In my process I also paint in layers to build up details. Depending on how I’m feeling, I paint intuitively, however, I also enjoy the planning stages of an artwork by doing sketches, studies and creating mood boards. When inspiration strikes, I take note of it and I enjoy taking photos of things that inspire me in the everyday, such as different plants and flowers. I often use photos I take, as reference images for my paintings. I am a musician and inspired by the connection between music and painting, as they’re both my creative outlets. Songs I’ve written have inspired my paintings as well.

Lani sitting on a light coloured mat wearing a black dress and holding a completed artwork with pastel colours.

What’s your favourite Mont Marte product?
Zara: I use a lot of Mont Marte products in my painting process. I love Mont Marte brushes and satin acrylic paints. My favourite products are the Mont Marte pouring paints. I use pouring paints in the base layers of my artworks.

Lani: I really love the Mont Marte fan brushes.

Where do you create and what does your creative space look like?
Lani: We paint in our studio area at our gallery in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. We create a lot of our website and social media content there.

Zara hanging a nature landscape on a white wall with a cactus painting in front of her.

Who are your creative cheerleaders?
Lani: I really value the creative feedback and advice Zara gives me. We’re really lucky to be able to work closely together.

Zara: I always ask Mum for her ideas and opinions on artworks. She often gives me great ideas. I also discuss directions of artwork with my partner and other family members.

What does a Sunday afternoon look like for you both?
Lani: Sunday afternoons are usually spent with the family -- Zara is the eldest of five children and I really enjoy hanging out with the family.

Zara: On Sunday afternoon I enjoy spending time with my loved ones and friends. I like spending time in nature going for walks or going to cafes. I also often perform acoustic Sunday Sessions at different venues as well.

Zara and Lani standing in a gallery with their abstract landscapes.

What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
Both: A career highlight was successfully launching our print business and being featured on The Block.

What’s next? What are you most excited about for the future?
Both: We have so many exciting ideas for artworks in the future and we’d like to hold more exhibitions at our gallery.

We hope Lani and Zara’s journeys inspire you to create something. We’d love to see what you create, #montmarteart or tag us @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook, we’d love to see what you come up with. Or check out more of our feature artists here.