I feel like I have to tone things down sometimes when I don’t like to. Sexuality, it doesn’t always sell. People love it and they look at it, but they get very scared in this country, ‘if I have that on my wall, I’ll look like a player, or my girlfriend or boyfriend won’t approve' Dina Broadhurst
You may know Dina Broadhurst for her eclectic Sydney-based interiors, but it’s ‘photographer slash collage artist’ the model-like beauty prefers these days, her creative mix-ups making it on Instagram and soon to the walls of an undisclosed underground exhibition space. We’ve got the spill.
“Art is something I’ve done forever, but until now I’ve never (considered) selling my work or making a business out of it, only in the last year has it become feasible,” says Dina over a glass of rose, Fratelli Paradiso-style.
And not unlike many a striving artist in the year 2016, Instagram was the instigator, the open and willing digital gallery for every visionary thrusting Dina’s work into the zeitgeist of fashion, design, interior and art enthusiasts across the country and abroad. Now Dina is in high demand for custom to commercial pieces.
“Instagram was how it happened, and without even thinking about it. It really underscores the idea that you don’t need to be represented by a gallery anymore to succeed as an artist. And you can see feedback – It’s fundamentally a feedback system – and people just started asking, ‘how can I buy it?’”
Collage art has well and truly muscled into the high fashion set – winning over the editorial direction of premium print magazines, defining the image and marketing-practice of premium boutiques and welcoming all-star Instagram followship (@eugenia_loli has 123K). So what is it, about these mashed-up makeshifts casting an incantation on fashion?
“I think it has always been around,” says Dina.
“Obviously digital aid has allowed people to manipulate imagery – do more with it – and I think photography has become more acceptable as an art form. Unlike traditional painting and sculptural art, now photography has become very valuable to collect.”
An image, photo or magazine tear-out is where it starts for Dina. The mother of 10 year old son, Leo, floats hundreds of potential images on her desktop – some may be sliced and digitally diced, while others may welcome a hand-done element; a street cast piece of glass for texture or hand-painted personalisation.
“I’m like a bower bird, I fort and collect things. I love trash, bits of glass from the street – I pick up everything and it all gets stored.” For Dina it’s all about layers … and ideally, a sexual undertone.
Inspired by the great Helmut Newton and locally speaking, the likes of our friend Jennifer Stenglein, Dina can find herself struggling with our country’s somewhat prudish perception.
“I feel like I have to tone things down sometimes when I don’t like to. Sexuality, it doesn’t always sell. People love it and they look at it, but they get very scared in this country, ‘if I have that on my wall, I’ll look like a player, or my girlfriend or boyfriend won’t approve.”
Interesting really, when art is all about being subjective – it should reflect us, our desires and what we find intriguing, not the person next to us, right?
Casting your eye over Dina’s work, the smooth Cali-curated hip hop sounds of Anderson .Paak fill the mind, perhaps a unique mix, dubbed with the classicism of Frank Sinatra and a flash of Seventies pro-surf commentary at intermission. It’s cool – streety yet all class – pared back, high rolling, sexy, pavement-ready.
“People are my ultimate stimulation and to be opened up by someone and be myself, as I am quite shy, is invigorating each and every time. Everyone’s differences, reactions and opinions are what stimulate. Both the good and the bad feedback. Who wants to hear roses and sweet music all the time?”
“I am grateful to every single person from every walk of life who has come into my world for a second or a lifetime. Everyone has something to inspire and to learn from. Everyone has such a different story. To watch and listen is my favourite thing,” says Dina.
And it’s working for her, with a series of commission requests filing in. Interior design house, James Lane is home to a 10-piece Broadhurst installation, while an upcoming communal office space ready to land in Sydney from New York will soon showcase Dina’s largest commission project to date.
“An artist needs to commercialise their work sometimes, because otherwise, how do people get to experience my other art which is wild and free? It’s good for everybody. To anyone who says ‘you’re selling out’ I think that’s really unfair because it’s those more commercial jobs that allow me to influence and inspire somebody else through works that don’t involve any money.”
But it’s the wild and free that will venture out of Dina’s Edgecliff work space and downtown Surry Hills into a yet-to-be-confirmed gallery space. This will be Dina’s first ‘mini exhibition’ and titled Love Triangle, promises a one-off journey of reflection and human emotions, or intricacies, and is a little to do with Dina’s personal expedition through life.
“… but that’s always in the background with me – love, beauty, women’s roles. Even though the title Love Triangle alludes to some kind of affair, it’s actually about an inner-relationship with yourself, too, the different personalities you battle with – child, partnership or falling out of love – it covers everything. And that’s where the triangle comes into play, it’s kind of like a circle – never ending.”