Heart of Misery Exhibition Launches at Plaything Gallery

Heart of Misery

Heart of Misery - Tanja Thompson Closeup - Calypso PaoliThe latest collection of art work from kiwi wonder woman, artist and designer Tanja Thompson, opened as an exhibition to the public on Thursday. Showcasing at the Plaything Gallery in Auckland until the 29th of August, the exhibition entitled ‘Heart of Misery’ will bring Misery lovers only joy. Desgner Direction writer Hannah McArdle attended the media preview on Wednesday night and had a chat to the artist behind our favourite melancholy characters.

Candles and shrines. Illustrations of pretty, melancholic girls scrawled over sheets of music. Retro advertising for homeware products plastered with bright colourful washes. The Heart of Misery exhibition was a delicious array of illustrations that while serious also possess a cute and positive way of dealing with life. A happy go lucky and articulate artist is always a great asset to any show and Tanja proved to be just that and more.

Hannah: Tell us about the exhibition and whats at the centre of it all
Most of my work is quite sad and melancholy and the Heart of Misery shows things that I love. It’s a series of different images – alot of American folk art and blues inspired and also a series of illustrations of fonts and old school packaging. And I’m really into shrines! The shrines are a big part of the art show! For as long as I can remember I have always been drawn to tattoo inspired images, scrolls and shrine images, so this show I made a series of resin sculptures and arranged them like I would have the drawings. But they are 3D, quite fun to make.

Heart of Misery - Poster Wall - Calypso PaoliHannah: Quite exciting to see your designs come to life like these sculptures have! I guess we had always imagined what those characters would look like in 3D!
Yea! Generally my style is very flat and for such a long time I wanted to do something new. I can get quite impatient with my work and I always want to do something bigger and better! So last year I was lucky enough to work on a show with John Osbourne (another incredible artist) who works on props for films and he showed me how to do lots of cool things.

Heart of Misery - Sculpture Wall - Calypso Paoli Heart of Misery – CloseUp Sculpture – Calypso Paoli

Hannah: So what was process to create these cool sculptures? They are so flawless!
They are made out of a resin. We make a sculpt of what we want it to look like and make a mould, then fill that with foam.  Then it takes lots of sanding and moulding. It’s quite malleable when it comes out of the mould so you can bend it and shape it – that’s how we did the flowers – each leaf individually.

Hannah: That sort of nostalgic melancholy, where does that come from? Is it a personality trait or did you just wake up one day and it was there?
[laughs] People must think oh my gosh just wake up and be happy! I’m generally quite a happy person but maybe it is just subconscious release? I don’t sit there and think I’m going to draw pictures abut this, its just a natural process of what comes out comes out!

Heart of Misery - Sculpture Wall  2 - Calypso PaoliHannah: Alot of people are attracted that melancholy though?
Exactly. Everyone has a certain darkness or sadness to them. Alot of people in New Zealand battle with depression and I have so many friends who struggle with it. So I think that they can see that it’s beautiful but it touches them on a different level turning something quite sad and hurting into something quite beautiful.

Heart of Misery - Misery Print - Calypso PaoliHannah: The Heart of Misery show is part of Semi Permanent that’s on this weekend – whats the relationship with Misery?
I spoke a couple of years ago and became good friends with the church so having my art show at the same time has worked out really well! It’s an event that draws alot of people so I’m excited!

Hannah: Whats the next big dream?
Misery has to go overseas!

Hannah: Personally or your work?
Both! I have spent the last year working really hard on my website;Misery.com and that’s been my big achievement as of late and it will have prints and clothing. This is totally my home but I really need spread my wings!

Exhibition & Artist Details
The Heart of Misery exhibition opens as a side project to Semi Permanent at the Plaything Gallery in Newton, Auckland. The exhibition runs between the 13th-29th of August. For more information please email plaything.gallery@gmail.com

Check out Tanja Thompson’s amazing website http://www.misery.com

Photography Credit: Calypso Paoli
Heart of Misery Image Provided By: Tanja Thompson

2 Responses to “Heart of Misery Exhibition Launches at Plaything Gallery”
  1. Peap says:

    Great Show Misery 🙂
    Always the best!
    Great Interview!

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