Tania and Michael Chanter are the Australian couple behind Tania Chanter Art. Tania creates the impressionist landscape pieces, and Michael looks after the website and marketing. The work is inspired by Australian natural landscapes — the richness of color, the complexity of the sky, and the romance and drama of storms on the ocean.
Tania & Michael Chanter, what kind of art do you make? Tell us about your process.
I’m an Australian abstract artist living in the Yarra Valley, Victoria, creating mostly impressionist landscape pieces. I have exhibited my paintings throughout Australia and internationally. I’ve always had a desire to express the emotions I feel from nature. I compose works that convey the depth and richness of colours, the complexity of the sky, and the romance and drama of storms, oceans and sunlight. My inspiration is drawn from unique Australian landscapes, and I work intuitively, guided by my emotions and the inner peace painting affords. I hope that the resulting works are alluring, sensory, and full of energy, while at the same time creating a sense of peace.
I’m a graphic designer with a BA in Design. I spent the first fifteen years after graduation as a potter, creating one-off decorative Raku pieces. Raku is a technique that involves removing pottery from a kiln while it’s still red-hot and placing it into a sealed container. This process affects the colours produced in the glazes, leading to rich lustrous metallic effects. I moved into graphic design while working as a lecturer in design at Monash University. The transition from clay to digital art came at a time when working with clay was affecting my health. So in 1998 I set up a boutique design company, “Red Bilby,” creating websites, print, and video production.
You’ve got some powerful teamwork going on. Was it easy to take your art business online?
Yes, we do work well as a team! Tania creates the paintings and Michael looks after the website and marketing. Taking our business online was pretty easy, as a large part of the Red Bilby design work is creating websites. So setting up a website for Tania’s artwork was second nature. As far as getting Tania’s artwork online, that was also relatively straightforward, as there are a number of excellent online galleries that made it very easy.
Tell us about how you work together
Tania works in a small purpose-built art studio that is separate from our house, and Michael works in an office, also separate from the house. However, we spend a lot of time in the same rooms. When Tania is uploading her work to the online galleries, she does it from a dedicated computer in the office, and Michael will be sitting at arm’s-length away, using Canvy to create the in-room mockups of her paintings. We work well together, although working so closely can have its challenges! We get on each other's nerves from time to time, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
What do you love about your work?
The thing we love about our work is the freedom it provides to work at our own time and pace. We feel very grateful to be able to support ourselves through creative pursuits. Now that we spend so much time together, we feel closer as a couple than ever before, and that is also something to be thankful for.
What challenges have you had while developing your art/design business?
The biggest challenge we have faced is probably our own mental states. At times it’s easy to begin questioning whether or not we are doing enough, making enough money, or if we are going to be “successful” enough. I’ve spent a lot of my life in a persistent state of fear and self doubt (Tania). What we’ve come to realize is that these self-limiting thoughts need to be nipped in the bud right away, or this mindset can become debilitating. It’s also very important not to compare yourself to what other people are doing (although it’s important to learn from others), because this is when you start to feel inadequate.
When we find ourselves in this mental pattern it’s so important to realize that everyone is on his or her own journey. Being successful in your personal and professional life is following what works for you, and not in comparison with another person. Rainer Maria Rilke’s words resonate well: “No feeling is final.” Just make a decision, and then fine-tune your course along the way. Sometimes all you need is a little reassurance, and your biggest fans are the people who do just that for you.
What made you choose Canvy app for displaying your work?
When we began selling Tania’s art online, we realized that creating in-room shots would be a very important part of marketing the work. The obvious starting point was to use a photo editing app, buy some stock room photos, and get to it.
We already had a Photoshop subscription, so all we needed to do was purchase some images from Shutterstock. This worked well and produced reasonable results. It was, however, time consuming, and to purchase rooms on an ongoing basis also became expensive.
Enter a clever little iPad app called Artrooms. This app allowed us to upload a photo, drop it into a room, add a drop shadow and a frame, and voila — it was done. This proved to be a huge time saver, and at a cost of about $12 a month for the subscription it was well worth it. While doing Tania’s usual Instagram marketing, Michael stumbled across a new app — Canvy. It looked interesting and had some features that we felt were lacking in Artrooms. We signed up for a free trial and were immediately impressed with all the options for composing a scene.
What do you love about Canvy?
Canvy has some unique features that set it apart from the other apps we’ve used. The most useful is the ability to customize an image by changing the colours of many items within a scene. So not only can you change the colour of the wall, but you can also change the colour of furniture, pillows, lamps, etc. You can also select wall material types, including wood, concrete, and stucco. This means you can achieve a virtually unlimited array of scenes within any single image. The clever folks at Canvy have even gone to the trouble of placing certain elements on different layers within the image so that they can overlap your artwork for greater realism.
We know the power of being able to effectively display your artwork. How does it feel to be able to make those images and use them for your business?
Having a tool like Canvy to create images for displaying artwork online saves a lot of time and produces high quality images that result in greater creative freedom. It provides us with reassurance that our artwork is displayed in the best possible way, and the opportunity to create stunning showcases of our work to increase interest from potential buyers. When buyers see the artwork in a beautiful room, to the correct scale, it's easy for them to imagine the piece in their own home.
Why do you do this work?
We do this for the opportunity to be our own bosses and make a living while doing work that is fulfilling and gives us a great sense of accomplishment. The satisfaction of creating something beautiful, and the opportunity to share it and enrich others’ homes and lives is irreplaceable. Art feeds our souls and helps us learn and grow, while being able to enjoy sharing the whole experience with one another.
What’s coming up next in your business?
We hope to have another solo exhibition soon. We’ll continue to challenge ourselves to try different techniques and colours in the work. Most of all, we look forward to growing together as partners in life. Never stop moving. Never stop growing. And practice gratitude.
Find Tania and Michael Chanter here:
See Tania’s article about Canvy on her own site: