20 Jun 2022Mont Marte

From working as a zoo keeper in her early years to becoming a fully-fledged artist, life has been a wild, creative journey for Nardurna (@nardurna). 
Growing up near the Gulf of Carpentaria in the Northern Territory, the ocean has always been a source of inspiration. It’s this connection to Country, the faint sounds of waves and glimpses of family memories, that can be found in her works today.
Nardurna holding her baby in an art studio with a coloured artwork in front of her.

How would you describe yourself?

I am a super independent, self-motivated, creative who is never satisfied, I am often the first to show up and the last to leave, I hate sleep and never want to stop!

How does your connection to Country influence your work?

My work is my Country, every piece has my traditional land and stories in it. I am so fortunate to have grown up out bush on my Country, learning and going through ceremony, this is why I am allowed to paint.
Five swatches of various blues with waved patterns drawn on top in markers.

How did you first get involved in art?

The funny thing is, I didn’t start painting until the start of the pandemic, when a friend who knew I was creative with my graphic design background, had asked me to paint something from my Country for them. I had grown up watching my uncles and grannies paint our stories, so I knew what to do, I just hadn’t actually done it before. I asked my Granny who was also a Gudanji elder for permission, she said it was okay so I started that day.

How did Nardurna come to fruition?

A bit of the answer is in the last question but basically, as I painted and shared the very first artwork (Waterholes) to social media the response was instant, within hours I decided to give it a shot at making this a business. I setup a [online] store offering commissioned work and it has never stopped growing from that day!
Waterholes by Nardurna a colourful artwork on canvas painted with blue and pink acrylic paint.

Where does your mind drift to when you paint?

This is a funny one, I pretty much always have one of the Lord of The Rings or The Hobbit movies playing over the speaker or in my Air Pods. I have seen the movies so many times, I can watch them in my mind just from the sound, this calms me and it’s my go-to while I create.

What colour palette do you lean towards and why?

I don’t have a particular palette I go to honestly, it really depends on how I feel at the time and what is inspiring me. I have a lot of work that heavily features pinks and purples which are extremely popular but then I love works that are neutral and soft.
Fun fact: although my pinks and purples are my most popular, I don’t actually like these colours personally.
Water artwork by Nardurna of bold bright blue and orange circles and dots.

Where do you turn to for inspiration?

Instagram, Pinterest, architecture and nature are all the biggest players for my creative mind but I am very fortunate that it is extremely rare for me to be lost for creativity. I am constantly pulling out my phone to write down ideas in the middle of the night or even painting a random art swatch halfway through another artwork when a new idea pops up.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

This is a tough one, but I think to not undervalue myself. When I started I was so cautious with pricing and often lowballed myself. As I have understood the market a bit more, I have gained more confidence and I have since upped my prices for my work.
I would say to any artist that produces unique work that the days of the struggling artist are well and truly over! If you are prepared to put in the work and diversify your art and across all social channels, then there is no reason you can’t be a successful six-figure earning artist.

We are in the best time in existence to be creators, we have all the tools to reach millions of people, it just requires time. I work an average 10-14 hours a day, I’m pregnant, I still train and run a house, if I can do it, anyone can!
Ryhia in blue painting with pink and blue dots and waves on canvas.

Is there a place you like to go to outside of the studio?

The beach is my relaxing place, I love to get to the water nice and early, go for a swim and relax, it is so calming.

Do you have a favourite Mont Marte product?

Yep, I am obsessed with the 75mm Abstract Expression Brush. I use it for my swatches which are a customer favourite, selling out on each release within minutes!
Nardurna holding a Mont Marte abstract brush with pastel coloured paint on it.

What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on? 

I have a lot of amazing collabs. From being commissioned by Google for their Pixel devices, to working with Pinterest. My favourite project to date is one that I am working on at the moment, which is a children’s book I am illustrating and writing, that’s due for release early this year.

What are you excited about for the future?

The expansion of my creative mind and the many projects I have coming. I have a new business launching, new brands I am working with and a whole series of new avenues I am taking my company. The plan is to take Nardurna global with more than just art!

We hope Nardurna’s art and story inspire you to try something new. Show us what you create and share your projects with us! Add #montmarteart or tag @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook. Or check out more of our featured artists.