MONICA BALAZ | ARTIST & PRIMARY ARCADE FOUNDER

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Monica Balaz is the owner, operator and founder of Brisbane/Melbourne based art collective Primary Arcade.
Monica is also an Australian / Slovak artist based in Melbourne who goes under the name Balazova Black and
gets excited by fine linepens, minimal colour and green tea.

Concentrating her practice to what she believe are the main aspects in life – humanity, death and regeneration,
her work uses simplistic illustrative techniques to explore these ideas. 

WHAT MADE YOU MAKE THE MOVE FROM BRISBANE TO MELBOURNE?

I came to Melbourne on a holiday and just really fell in love with the city, before I was in Brisbane I was on the Gold Coast so Brisbane never really felt like ‘home’ to me anyway and I wanted a change to a more creative city while still being able to complete my studies and be close to family.

WHAT MADE YOU TAKE THE LEAP AND START PRIMARY ARCADE?

I had a lot of creative friends and really wanted to be involved in exhibiting, when going to galleries I felt like there was boundaries and limits for artists. There were boundaries such as artists chosen to exhibit or to meet new people I found it was often based on existing cliques, education, social levels.

WAS THERE A PARTICULAR THOUGHT OR INCIDENT THAT LEAD YOU TO THIS?

I had an experience with joining an artist group which I was really excited to get involved; but on their initial meeting I had someone tell me something to the extent that I shouldn’t bother volunteering because I was too young and un-educated. I was maybe only two years younger then them and it made me really disheartened. I set out to do exhibitions with a group which was inclusive of all persons despite differences in background, education, art style etc.

 

 

 

IS WORKING FOR YOURSELF DIFFICULT AT TIMES?

Yeah working for myself can be really difficult but I definitely think it is great, especially since I work between events, commercial illustration, design, and business. For myself I also find working part time allows me to have a continuous income with less stress to make my art into money and I become more reflective of the projects I take on, rather than chasing jobs to pay the rent.

 

DO YOU ENJOY WORKING FROM HOME?

After around six months of having a separate studio I have moved into a new place and have moved my work to the home studio. I think sometimes working from home can be hard but it can also be really convenient. For myself I find that my schedule changes weekly and that working from home allows me more flexibility with my projects, although I miss the community aspect of working in studio.

 

BEING AN ARTIST YOURSELF, IS IT EVER HARD TO PUT THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME THAT YOU PUT INTO PRIMARY ARCADE INTO YOUR OWN PERSONAL ART?

This is one of my major difficulties, I think it is hard to keep a good balance because I am working with others and there is more responsibility to get those tasks completed first. I am still figuring things out and am willing to explore different ideas and make sacrifices!

FAVOURITE MOTTO, PHRASE OR LYRIC?

“Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.” – Donna Tartt, The Secret History

 


 

WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU LOVE AND HATE ABOUT THE ART CULTURE WITHIN AUSTRALIA?

I hate that art culture in Australia does not have adequate and enough respect to the Indigenous people and the amazing art history of both past and present Aboriginal persons.
I love that well-established Australian artists often work really hard for what they have achieved and can be really humble.

WATERSLIDE, WATER-HOLE OR WATERFALL?

Water hole because it is natural and calming.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR PRIMARY ARCADE?

Our next exhibition will be a pretty big event in Melbourne at BSIDE Gallery using recycled objects, look out for it in September.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR OWN ART IN 5 YEARS?

I would just like to work on developing a unique style and experimenting within different mediums and concepts – I have been saying the same thing for a while but I think I have a lot to grow and other things I want to explore.

WHAT’S A MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE THAT’S TAKEN YOUR BREATH AWAY?

This is going to be really corny but running up to/ jump hugging on my partner at the airport after being on other sides of the world for about five months.

 


Monica is the mastermind behind our “Young Hellions” advertising campaign and is a true wizard when it comes to both business and her own artistic talents
You can check out her work on her instagram and the work she’s doing with Primary Arcade on their website.  

 

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