Creative Spotlight:
Life as an Artist in Residence at the SHAC with
Shaz Collyer

October 29th, 2020


Shaz Collyer is a local Artist and Creative, who creates stunning and evocative abstract paintings, and is also a valued member of the Suzie Anderson Home team. We had a conversation with Shaz about her creative inspiration and life as an Artist in Residence at the Southern Highlands Artisans Collective. 

In the 1990's Shaz studied at the Julian Ashton Art School, Tom Bass Sculpture School and completed an Associate Diploma of Colour and Design and Diploma of Surface Design and Decoration.  

Shaz's work is inspired by the colours, textures and patterns in nature, vintage textiles, buildings and found objects. Her work particularly reflects the ageing process, and the layering of colour and surface that is created through daily use, and the exposure to weather over time. She is currently exploring these ideas through abstract colour field painting.

When did your life as an artist first begin?

When I was 6, I won an art competition at school for my painting ‘Tree at Sunset’. I remember the magic of watching the colours change as I mixed them, and still hold that fascination today.

Have you had any formal art training?

Yes. I studied at the School of Colour and Design in Sydney, Julian Ashton Art School, Tom Bass Sculpture School and East Sydney Tech.
I also studied life drawing with Shanti in Sydney, who had been a close friend of Brett Whitely. 

What gives you the most joy in your day as an artist?

Taking risks making those first marks on the canvas. Playing with new colour palettes and materials. Using collage from the remnants of other people’s lives to tell stories. Being bold and free and then at the end, hopefully creating work that has some merit. Yum!


You have a great strength in layering and combining colour in your art. Where has this strength come from?

The Diploma course at the School of Colour and Design was based on The Bauhaus School in Germany in the 1930’s. It taught you the basic principles of mixing any colour you could imagine and was mind blowing.  I love observing the vastness of colour in nature and landscape. The subtleties of decayed flowers, stormy skies, and weathered buildings are terribly exciting. Being connected to, and staying open to accidents in colour mixing is terribly important as there are always new colours and textures to be discovered. 

What drew you to become an artist in residence at The Shac?

The Artists and Committee Members of The Shac were so welcoming and friendly. Watching them work in an open studio made me feel very safe to trust and explore my own creative process which was very freeing. 

How do you find having an open studio? Have you learnt skills to be in flow when your artistic space is open to visitors?

At first I was shy about being watched as I worked. Over time though, it actually became very freeing and enabled me to pursue the work in an unconstrained way.

I began to observe the quiet, true nature of people and how the studio, and the paintings allowed them to reconnect with themselves and their own stories of love, family and loss.

What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming Art Trail Event?

Styling and making the Studio an exciting and dynamic place to visit. Meeting new people, sharing ideas and stories. Visiting some of the of the studios across the Highlands and connecting with more of our local artists. 

CURIOUS TO LEARN MORE? 

The Southern Highlands Artisans Collective ~ is a not-for-profit organisation building a vibrant creative hub in the old potato shed (next to The Big Potato) in Robertson NSW, bringing together some of the most talented artists and artisans in the Highlands under one roof.

Opening Hours 
FRIDAY / SATURDAY / SUNDAY / MONDAY 10AM - 4PM (or by appointment Tuesday - Thursday)

Related Posts