Contemporary First Nations artist Bianca Gardiner-Dodd is a Northern Rivers local and Kamilaroi woman living on Bundjalung Country whose work is inspired by the coastal environment, estuaries, forests and beaches she was raised and continues to live in. We spoke to the Pottsville local about her home in a picturesque coastal enclave, the area’s lifestyle, and her artistic influences.
First things first, introduce yourself — who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Bianca Gardiner-Dodd, and I am a First Nations Artist.
How did you become the artist you are today — where did it all start, and how has it evolved?
I found myself at home by myself one day without the kids (unusual at the time), and I was bored. I have always preferred to create things with my hands, craft, draw or paint, but after having kids, I had little time to indulge in such activities. On this day, I went out to the garage and searched for old paints and canvas. Previously I’d play with pop, abstract, Picasso-style art, but I thought maybe I would tap into my culture and try my hand at the Aboriginal style of art, just as I had watched my mum (a Kamilaroi woman from Goodooga) paint artworks for the past few decades.
Once I started, I loved it; it felt totally natural. A few small paintings in, my husband decided to show a local gallery my work and my journey in the professional art world began with an order for three large paintings. My first major work was based on the Pottsville estuary and my local community.
Since then, my artwork has evolved, however, I continue to paint our local coastal environment and focus my attention on its positive interactions on my community.
Sum up your painting style in three words:
Topographic, fluid and emotive.
What are you inspired by in your local community?
When we first moved and built our home in Pottsville, it felt like a little village, and I loved that we felt connected. As our town has grown, I also love the diversity we are seeing and the energy that new people bring.
What does ‘home’ mean to you?
Home means family, my safe place and the place my family is free to express themselves. My home can be a little bit of a circus; we are all so busy with businesses, study and sport!
What’s your weekend ritual?
We start most days with a walk to our local coffee shops, and we love to explore regional eateries. Most weekends, though, I am usually in the studio painting.
Which other local artists, designers or creatives are you most inspired by at the moment?
Local artist Corrinne Lewis’ paintings are exquisite. Corrinne’s husband Cameron stretches and frames for many of my artworks; together, they are Two Seas Creative. And Kellie North is an amazing photographic artist, and I met her through Quilla Design Emporium at Mooball, where we both exhibit. Her work is stunning. I definitely have plans to own pieces by these two incredible artists in the near future. Obviously, my mum, Gloria Gardiner, has been a constant inspiration, and I already own several of her works.
What’s up next for you? What should we be keeping an eye out for in the world of Bianca Gardiner-Dodd?
I have a current collaborative exhibition in Melbourne with Art Lovers Australia, called Unwrapped. Quilla Design Emporium at Mooball has some really exciting things happening soon with me. And I have some further collaborations in the works.
You can follow along on my Instagram, @bianca_gardiner_dodd