Artist Tanya Chaly explores biodiversity loss through her art in this week’s AWNY Startup Stories

Australian Artist Tanya Chaly discusses the inspiration and challenges of being an artist in New York City.

Why did you come to NYC? 

I moved to NYC in 2006 after living in Dijon, France for 6 1/2 years where I had been teaching at an art school in Chalon-Sur-Saone. My husband’s work brought us to the US but we had been living away from home since 1999, the first move abroad was to the UK.  I feel like I’ve been a gypsy for many years but somehow New York was the first time I moved somewhere and it felt instantly like a home.

What have you been doing since you arrived? As an art business does this pay the way? What else do you do?

No, most artists I know are always cobbling together jobs as a way to earn a living. My first job when I arrived was working as a picture framer doing high end museum work. It was a great group of people to work with in a gorgeous studio overlooking Union Square. I was fortunate to have such a friendly and fun place to work as an introduction to NYC as well seeing all the beautiful work that came through the shop. I also trained and qualified as a fitness instructor and taught bootcamps and classes around the city in between my studio time to supplement my income.

Describe what the start of establishing yourself as an artist was like in NYC.

Hard, exciting and challenging. An artist who had lived here a long time once told me that NYC is like a crucible you either survive the challenges as an artist or you don’t. It definitely was a test of sorts, as you get exposed to so much brilliant, extraordinary work and exhibitions. It’s a great place to tone your work. There is a fierce amount of talent here that I find continuously inspiring. That being said it can be completely overwhelming and you have to learn how to balance it all.  The best advice I got from an artist when I first arrived was don’t expect anything to really happen for at least 5 years. New York is such a competitive and tough place, turned out she was right! I started to get work shown in 2011/2012 and then things just grew from that.

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What has been the highlight of work for you?

Without a doubt my highlight was in 2014, when I received the news that I had been awarded The Explorers Club Artist-in-Exploration-Award (Sponsored by Rolex USA). It’s a $25,000 award for an artist to do a project out in the field. It was an enormous honor and thrill to be selected and it gave me the opportunity to embark on a huge adventure and the most ambitious art project I had ever done. In the summer of 2015 I visited scientists working on restoration project in Gorongosa National Park in Central Mozambique and then I went on to exhibit the work at the Explorers Club in December 2015. I also gave a lecture there about my travels and research. From this experience I began to embark on more art/ science style collaborations and research projects that have involved travel and speaking engagements. I would also add that being featured in Australian Art Collector this year has been another real thrill, it’s been lovely to have some recognition back at home.

Do you have any mentors, and how have people been with sharing information and their networks?

I don’t have a mentor as such, lots of artists have inspired me and given great advice especially on how to navigate the art scene. One of the best parts of being based here in NYC is that I have had the chance to travel and attend art conferences/symposiums which has been fantastic for networking and meeting like minded people. It’s allowed me access to the University art scene and academic world which is a good fit for my work as I work from a conceptual base. I have also been on a number or residency Fellowship programs which have been crucial to the development of my work.

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a business/moving to NY?

Be prepared to work hard and in that process find out what you are made of!  Don’t expect things to happen straight away, learn to adapt and go around obstacles, that’s often where the magic is when you diverge off the main path. And never take for granted what a privilege it is to live in such an amazing city!

Other than yourself, what piece of Australia have you put into your business/work?

I think my love of the natural world came from growing up in Australia.  Somehow the natural world infuses daily life at home unlike NYC which is such an artificial environment. I am always surprised every time I go home how much nature is ever present even in the cities. The way the bush seems to try to engulf the suburbs, the insects and lizards running around the backyards and the cacophony of early morning Currawongs and Butcher Birds I hear at my Mum’s place.

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What are your favorite places in NYC?

The museums and galleries are all incredible but if I had to pick, my favorites are the Frick Collection, The Rubin Museum and The American Museum of Natural History.

I love to go to the Metropolitan Museum on summer Saturday evenings when the Museum stays open till 9pm. The rooftop has the best view of Central Park and the crowds have all disappeared so it’s the perfect time to visit and explore.

What is next for you and your work?

2016 was a really busy year putting together four solo shows and having work in five group shows. Over the last 6 months I have been on a residency at Brooklyn Art Cluster and I have just completed a big solo show there which is up this month that looks at the drivers of biodiversity loss, (habitat loss, invasive species and climate change).

So I looking forward to starting on some new projects that look more at some of these themes and the scientific community that works on theses issues. I hope to be doing some more travel to biodiversity hotspots and seeing what comes out of these experiences and watch how the work evolves.  Other than that I have a one month Fellowship coming up and after that I will probably be looking for a new studio space!

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Tania’s current show ‘Unravel’ is on display until April 1st at The Cluster Gallery.

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View more about Tania’s work at:

Website – http://tanyachaly.com 

Love this AWNY Startup Story? Want more?

Register for our monthly newsletter and be kept in the loop for our upcoming Startup Stories event where you can hear more stories like this first hand and meet some of Aussie women entrepreneurs.

Blog – https://australianwomeninnewyork.org 

Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/AUWomenNYC/ 

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AUWomenNYC 

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/auwomennyc/

Are you an Australian female who owns a business in New York?

If you do and you want to tell us all about it, email us at awny@aaanyc.org

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What’s on in New York, March 2017

It’s March already and it feels like spring. The attitude we have encountered the most this winter was a mix of regret about climate change, zero regret about the lack of snow. We’re already feeling spring weather and despite not having the usual display of flowers, bursting buds, and the general opening up of public lawn space, we can still rock through this New York March like the spring loving, jasmine smelling Aussies that we are. Just don’t attempt a dip in the Atlantic. Yet.

Here’s a AWNY’s curated list of great events for the month of March in New York City. Enjoy!

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Curating art with Gallery Cuevas Tilleard – AWNY Startup Stories chats with Caroline Tilleard

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Tell us about you, what made you move to the USA and what inspired you to start the business?

I moved to New York to get my Masters in Art History. Studying here lead to me work at MoMA, for an art advisor, and for an Upper East Side blue-chip gallery.

I saw the art world from many sides. This helped me discover what I really loved was working with artists of my generation – artists who were dealing with issues I was deeply familiar with. This love was shared by my work colleague Anna Maria Cuevas and together we started moonlighting – visiting studios and curating pop-up shows of emerging artists.

This grew into a full time gallery program in 2015, and now we are adding an artist residency program to the mix.

What has been your ‘Ah Ha’ / ‘I’ve made it in the USA moment’

I was thrilled when our exhibition of work by artist Alex Ebstein was reviewed in The New York Times.

Where have you been most successful in marketing your business?

Because art is such a visual medium, instagram is a powerful tool for us. It’s becoming increasingly common for people to buy work they saw an image of on our account.

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Do you have any mentors, and how have people been with sharing information and their networks?

I’ve recently been involved in helping to establish Art/Forward a collective of professional women in the arts focused on building relationships all to foster and advance career growth. It’s been great to be part of a group that is actively looking to share their knowledge and networks.

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AWNY Startup Stories: Natchie

New York-based Australian Nadia Ackerman started Natchie after 2 years on the flea market circuit in NYC. Now she owns and runs a store in DUMBO as well as ger growing online store. She talks to AWNY about how it began, her lessons, and shares her top Startup tips.

Tell us about yourself and your business, particularly what inspired you to begin.

My name is Nadia Ackerman. I am an Australian singer/songwriter. I moved to NYC from the northern beaches of Sydney, Australia in 1998.

After many years pounding the pavement as a professional singer I hit a wall and had an emotional breakdown. I was introduced to EMDR therapy and not only did it save my life but also opened up my mind to illustration and songwriting. I took art in high school but in no way did I ever consider myself an artist! 4 years ago after working hard in therapy I started to see my songs as drawings. It seemed odd to me but the images were powerful and fully formed in my mind. All I had to do was buy paper and pencils and get started. I began with one of my albums, “The Ocean Master” and started drawing every song on the album. I then came up with the idea of selling the images as greeting cards and prints. Each image would have the lyrics on the back and a free download code so you could own the song. Thus…Natchie was born! After two years on the NYC flea market circuit I opened my own brick and mortar store in Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY.

How long did you have the idea for your business?

There wasn’t really anytime between the idea and bringing it to life. It happened almost immediately.

Why did you decided to set up a store, and what made you choose DUMBO?

I really believe in connecting with my customers so the idea of just an online store didn’t interest me at all. I want to meet people, see their reaction to my work, and get to know them. Dumbo came about because I used to sell my greeting cards down here in a store. Every time I dropped off an order I would be like…hmmmm…this is a GREAT area!

As a very talented and creative person, what tips or tricks do you have for people like you, that might need to focus their efforts to achieve something big, instead of trying to do ‘everything’?

I think the best advice I can give is to have a GREAT idea and just jump in with both feet. Don’t overthink it or you will never get anywhere. As soon as you begin with your idea it will guide you to what you need to do and when.

What steps did you go through to launch your business? (logistics, marketing etc)

I secured the store in Dumbo, set it up, painted the walls, the floor everything! EXHAUSTING. I set everything up and just opened. I’m a big believer in Instagram as a marketing tool (@natchieart has over 11.8k Instagram followers at the time of publishing). Then pretty much all of the opportunities that have come my way simply walked in the door by chance.

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What has been your ‘Ah Ha’ / ‘I’ve made it in the USA moment’ 

Maybe singing at Carnegie Hall for Sting and Trudie’s Rainforest Benefit Concert? I am actually doing that again this year on December 14th with Sting, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor and many more special guests yet to be announced.

Where have you been most successful in marketing your business?

Instagram and word of mouth!

Do you have any mentors or groups that have been instrumental in their support, and how have people been with sharing information and their networks?

Yes, there is a fantastic blog in Spain called http://www.solaennuevayork.com/guia-personalizada/. The author, Bianca, stumbled across me at a market a few years ago and held onto my business card. A few years later she tracked me down in NYC and we have been working together ever since. She sends a lot of fabulous Spanish tourists my way and I just love it.

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a business?

Make sure you have a product that is unique and something that people will want to buy. The best research I did was the markets around NYC for 2 years. That enabled me to fine tune my product until I felt confident enough to open an entire store. And don’t think too much – just go ahead!

Other than yourself, what piece of Australia have you put into your business, and why – or if not, also, why?

A lot of my drawings have the ocean in them and headlands! It was not intentional – it’s in my blood and comes out unconsciously in my work.

What is next for your business?

Christmas! And preparing for Japan again (earlier this year I was picked up by an incredible Japanese Department store called “Loft.” They flew me over to launch my product in 10 of their stores throughout Japan. It was a great success and looks like it will happen again next year).

Do you have an offer or promo code you would like to share with the AWNY community?

Yes! Use the Online shop code AWNY for free shipping.

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Natchie’s SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

http://www.natchieart.com

http://www.facebook.com/natchieart

http://www.instagram.com/natchieart

http://www.twitter.com/natchieart

 Love this AWNY Startup Story? Want more?

Register for our monthly newsletter and be kept in the loop for our upcoming Startup Stories event where you can hear more stories like this first hand and meet some of Aussie women entrepreneurs.

Blog – https://australianwomeninnewyork.org 
Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/AUWomenNYC/ 
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AUWomenNYC 
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/auwomennyc/

Are you an Australian female who owns a business in New York? If you are and you want to tell us all about it, email us at awny@aaanyc.org

 

Recalculate your direction in the car and in life with ‘The GPS Girl’ – AWNY Startup Stories

From Mackay to Manhattan, Karen’s voice was catapulted across the world to all of our devices as the voice of the Australian GPS. Read how directions in the car led to directions in life and business in this week’s AWNY Startup Story.

Would you be able to provide us with some background information about you and the The GPS Girl brand?

From the age of 7 growing up in Mackay in North Queensland, my one and only passion was music. The most influential and important person to me was Olivia Newton-John, and she inspired me to become a professional singer and move to America. I would sing and play piano, be in the school musical and perform at any opportunity, and ultimately moved to NYC in 2000 specifically to build my singer/songwriter career.  Along the way I had a life-long love with personal development. In Brisbane, I studied at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, then moved to Sydney where I lived for ten years, speaking and singing on literally thousands of commercials, performing two to five nights per week in five star hotels and venues and performing on live television.

How long did you have the idea for this business and why did you decide to start The GPS Girl brand?

When I was 24, I attended a weekend motivational seminar which was life changing. The idea I could have something to do with the way my life would go was intoxicating, and from then on I was reading, listening to and surrounding myself with uplifting material and people.  In 2002, after moving to NYC I was asked to audition for a voice-over job. The client was looking for a native, Australian, female, voice-over artist living in the North East of the United States. I read the description and thought “this is a description of me.”  I went to the audition and booked the job on the spot. Spending 50 hours in the studio over a three week period, a text-to-speech voice system was created which has now ended up in over a billion GPS devices, smartphones, software programs, cruise ships and elevators around the world. As you might imagine, this was a totally unexpected development in my singer/songwriter career.

People would come up to me very excited to discover “I” was the voice in their car. It was clear to me there was something in this, but it took me a while to put it together. Ultimately I made the connection between directions in the car and directions in life and created the registered trademarked empowerment brand “The GPS Girl.” Now I travel extensively to work with individuals and groups who want to navigate change powerfully, by Recalculating when things do not go as planned. I have discovered this message is transformational, timely and universal. The kinds of conferences I keynote for are all over the map in terms of industry and location. It seems everyone is dealing with major disruption and need tools to manage change.

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What has been your ‘Ah Ha’ / ‘I’ve made it in the USA moment’?

What a question! In some ways I am still waiting for this moment. I have a national television appearance airing on November 29th which I have to say is a pretty spectacular experience. When it has aired I look forward to sharing all the dish on it!  It was surreal a couple of years ago when I was a clue in The New York Times crossword puzzle. Quite a lot of people tell me I had really made it then. I mean, how completely crazy.

What have been the hardest lessons in starting a business in New York?

Like most of us moving to the other side of the world, I could write a thesis to answer this question. Trying to get a grasp on the way things are done here takes time. One of the big pluses is the enthusiasm of New Yorkers. I find people in life and in business here to be extremely open and helpful; genuinely interested in making connections to help others succeed. On the flip side, not having the base network I had in Australia and having to start again has been major. In Australia I found it was not always well received to be a ‘go for it’ kind of person, so I held myself back, tried not to be ‘too much’. Here, this is embraced, and it has been quite the process for me to remember it is seen as a positive to be crystal clear, ambitious and driven. To sum it up, wherever you are in the world, it is our own limits getting in the way.

Where have you been most successful in marketing your business?

Social media has been heaven sent for me. I love to keep connected and Facebook in particular has been extraordinary for my business. I am able to stay in touch with Aussie clients and American clients wherever I am, and this leads to booking business so much more easily. When I am visiting Australia I let my community online know there is availability to have me speak or sing at events, and the process is infinitely easier than before SM. My media strategy has been key in building value in my brand and continues to be one of my favorite strategies of marketing my business.

Do you have any mentors, and how have people been with sharing information and their networks?

There is a long list of AWNY members who opened doors for me along the way. For someone wanting to come to NYC or new to the city, I would highly recommend plugging in with the Aussie network. It takes an extraordinary level of commitment and emotional work to not only come here but to stay and thrive here. Aussies understand what it can take, and I have found the support to be off the charts.

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a business?

Hire a business coach. Immediately. It has only been 5 years since I hired my first business coach and it was an absolute game changer. The one thing I would say to my 19 year old self is to do this pronto. I would also suggest always connecting with others with a view to what you can do to add value to their lives and businesses. Of course we all want to do well and forward our own business, but if you look for how you can be of service to others along the way, it is incredible how quickly people show up to help us in return.

Other than yourself, what piece of Australia have you put into your business, and why?

Being Australian is a huge part of my persona and business. My speaking voice and accent is key, so it is very important I maintain the Aussie accent and not let any Americanisms creep in, which, after sixteen years here can tend to happen. My brand is an international brand, and I am proud to be a walking ambassador for Australia wherever I go. Sometimes I teach my audience “Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi” and make them honorary Australians.

What is next for The GPS Girl?

On December 7th I am performing a holiday concert in NYC at Stage 72 at The Triad on 72nd Street.  This is one of my favorite times of the year and we could all use an opportunity to be together, share some beautiful music and be in the holiday spirit. Beyond this, I love creative projects and have quite a few on the go. I am working on a memoir-style business book, a one woman show “Mackay to Manhattan”, and a talk show project. For more information visit thegpsgirl.com and connect on FB, Twitter, Instagram with @thegpsgirl

Do you have any special offers for the AWNY community?

We have a fabulous special offer – AWNY members who get their tickets in advance and attend Karen’s Destination: Christmas Holiday Concert on Wednesday, December 7th at 9PM will receive an autographed copy of her Christmas album Destination Christmas on the night. Just mention AWNY after the show for your CD.

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TICKETS: – http://www.triadnyc.com/event/317969df47f8d5c25cc3da52d524f8db

Follow The GPS Girl at: 

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/thegpsgirl 

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/thegpsgirl/ 

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/thegpsgirl 

Websitehttp://www.thegpsgirl.com 

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Love this AWNY Startup Story? Want more?

Register for our monthly newsletter and be kept in the loop for our upcoming Startup Stories event where you can hear more stories like this first hand and meet some of Aussie women entrepreneurs.

Blog – https://australianwomeninnewyork.org 

Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/AUWomenNYC/ 

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AUWomenNYC 

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/auwomennyc/

Are you an Australian female who owns a business in New York?

If you do and you want to tell us all about it, email us at awny@aaanyc.org

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