Miss Monica Balaz of ‘Balazovablack’ is a young Slovakian, Australian born artist hailing from Brisbane. Monica’s work is full of thin lines, wispy women, text, and the colours red, black and white. Reminiscent of old tattoos and early 20th century design, yet imbued with a knowing nod to the contemporary.
(Picture below of some art by Monica)
With a recent RAW show and collaboration with ‘Adorn Attire’ behind her, and lots ahead in this young artist’s future, now is the perfect time to get to know Miss Balaz, by reading the Art Talk below…
Basics/Getting to Know
Name + D.O.B?
Monica Balaz – 1996
City, State n Country you’re from?
Slovakian born and raised on the Gold Coast – currently living in Brisbane.
Describe a memory from three stages of yr life ….basically trying to piece together Ms. Balaz’s pivotal moments. Concerts, art, action-figures, boys, school, crime… ANYTHING ma’am.
* age 10 – beginnings:
I have the worst memory!
This was about the time when I went to see my family in Slovakia for the second time and it was so crazy.
That’s when I was really like wow there is so much in the world going on and I don’t even know a fraction of it!
Growing up in a developed tourist town with really strong Western culture then seeing this place where my family was from was so memorable for me!
My Grandparents basically lived off the land selling honey, rabbit skins and meat in a town of like 300 people (smaller than any school I’ve ever gone to). For me that was really crazy because I’d never known anything like that – plus I accidentally walked into the rabbit slaughter shed which had hanging skinned rabbits!
(Pictures below of Monica as a child)
* age 15 – getting serious:
At age 15 I was not getting serious! I was a gross teenager who needed to brush her hair.
I learned pretty quickly that becoming a hippie was not the career choice for me…
* age 20 – adult mode:
I’m not 20 yet!
I just turned 18 this October – finishing school was one of the most relieving things of my life (and then I started uni haha). But since probably last year I’ve been really trying to just concentrate on making better and better art and changing it from like a side hobby to something more.
The most exciting thing about turning 18 was being able to get access to my own domain and participate in 18+ art shows – I just showcased my work at RAW: Current.
It’s so common to hear at the moment – “Stay Gold”.
I really fell in love with The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, the book and the sentiment of the poem Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost has always stuck with me.
To me it’s a reminder to stay optimistic/ keep looking at the world positively and everything being young like a child is about because that mindset is so fleeting.
(Picture below of some logo work done by Monica for ‘Convict Town‘)
The biggest people for me are Lana Del Rey/ Die Antwoord/ The Doors / Brooke Candy and although I don’t listen to them much anymore The Beatles especially John Lennon changed my life forever.
Favorite TV show(s)?
The Hills // Life // Gossip Girl // The Block // Skins // NCIS // Daria //
Favorite sport(s) + teams?
I’m not a sport person!
Eight Miles High (Das Wilde Leben) // Almost Famous // Nowhere Boy //
(Pictures below of some in progress art by Monica)
Favorite books and comics?
The Outsiders // Secret History // Young Money // Russian Criminal Tattoo // The Feminine Mystique // The Beach // Hells Angels // Wolf of Wall Street //
Favorite ‘other’ artist(s)?
Worst aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
The “Art crowd”.
Best aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
The “Art crowd”.
Do you consider what you are making to be ‘art’, ‘design’, re-hashed crap?
A mix of art and rehashed crap – everything is a copy//of a copy/of a copy// of a copy.
When and why did you first start making ‘art’ (drawings, paintings, anything)?
My mum is a great artist so she always encouraged me really early when I was making finger paintings and stuff then I’d always look up to my older sister Natalie who would draw beautiful things and help me learn how to draw – without so much support from my family I doubt I would’ve kept going with it.
What did you draw as a pre-teen child?
Dumb cartoonish copies of other peoples drawings!
What did you draw as a teen?
I started making my own stuff and thinking of things myself rather than redrawing things and that’s my art now way better than the stuff I made a couple years ago which was uninspired / unoriginal!
Any pivotal artistic moment/influence?
Every aspect of my life has influenced my work really but definitely learning at the Gold Coast Art School with Bernelle Sole and Tony Champ helped me develop and learn so much!
Then in high school my art teacher Amanda Kellow helped me grow so much and really believe in my ability.
Why + when did you decide to go in on the art hustle?
Only last year because I’m way too into it to be a placid observer!
Describe the method of making a Monica Balaz work? (dot point all o.k.)
– Get some random idea while daydreaming / before falling asleep.
– Writing it down / remembering it.
– When I have time get the right paper and pens I wanna use for it.
– Start drawing and don’t stop until I finish or make too many mistakes and come back to it when my hand is more steady!
(Picture below of Monica’s work desk and some in progress art)
What are the best and worst parts of living and being an artist in Australia aka ConvictTown?
It’s the whole Australian art struggle – no strong national identity as a negative and a positive to creating. I think with globalization that will soon be the case everywhere.
What was it like collaborating with ‘Adorn Attire’ – were you created t-shirt designs and a logo?
I loved it! I think it was cool combining their wants with my wants to make a hybrid mix of us.
I can’t wait to do more collaboration with other friends in future!
(Pictures below of Monica’s work with ‘Adorn Attire‘)
How, in your opinion, has the rise of platforms such as Instagram and Bigcartel/Etsy impacted the life of an emerging artist/creative?
I owe the internet everything!
I don’t easily talk about my work and ‘promote’ myself IRL so it helped me actually get exposure.
How was your recent RAW show – held November 20 2014?
The show was an amazing opportunity to showcase my work and meet other emerging creatives.
RAW offers a lot of support for us as artists and I will be definitely excited to participate in more events.
I loved that they had a mixture of visual artists, crafts, musicians, dancers, film makers as well as designers and makeup artists.
Odds n Ends
What role did toys play in your childhood?
I loved toys as a kid because they were the friends that were always there – I used to make up complex stories of all these toy societies that would be split depending on my moods.
Who was your 1st crush and why?
A boy in my primary school because he was the class hottie and then I found out he picked his nose and I was like seeya later alligator.
Does sex change everything?
Not really! I think in some ways yes but it just depends on how much you let things define you!
Please describe your latest dream in detail…
I’m sorry I really have no idea all my dreams are blurry and vague lately and I hardly dream anymore.
(Picture below of a drawing by Monica)
Is there really an arts scene, or is it all just being seen?
No body really knows – especially not me!
You wrote for UK magazine ‘Jungle’ focusing on the fading art of Russian Prison Tattoos – why the fascination with that culture and aesthetic?
The aesthetic is so unique and the best form of art – it’s a mix of unappealing / terrifying / beautiful.
Also historically it’s pretty recent and I’m quite interested in the different effects of the Soviet Union.
If you were going to offer a crash course in the female body, to classes of 12-13 year old boys, what would it involve?
Do not tease – do not stare – girls and boys are different and changing just let it be.
Who would win in a fight and why: a twee as all hell indie boy Vs. an inner-city-coke-whore?
Inner city coke whore! Especially if the boy is coming between her and drugs.
(Picture below of a drawing by Monica)
You are currently studying – double degree of Fine Art (Visual Art) and Business (Marketing):
* how has formal stuffy impacted your practice thus far?
It hasn’t impacted my art making but it has definitely helped me evaluate my online representation (of course I’m still learning)
* what are your thoughts on AustralianUniversity life in 2014?
I personally really enjoy university – I think that if you don’t enjoy it you shouldn’t be there.
If you aren’t enjoying what you study but still want to get whatever job at the end your probably not going to get or keep that job because of your dislike for the content.
I think there is a lot of stigmatization that people apply even to themselves for out of school non-university people.
Uni was right for me and its helped me grow a lot and I love learning and my uni has a really good culture so I like it but it isn’t right fit for everyone and people need to accept that.
Any collaborations on the horizon?
Very soon something I’ve been working on under cover is coming out for Summer!
Keep an eye out on my social media!
(Picture below of a drawing by Monica)
Any major projects you want to hype ma’am?
I’m so excited that my online store has re-launched!
I’m really proud of the quality of these products that I have made and the effort I’ve put into them!
You can see my store via links through – www.balazovablack.com
- Monica Balaz – Site
- Monica Balaz – Instagram
- Monica Balaz – Online Shop
- Monica Balaz – Tumblr
- Monica Balaz – Facebook