Dana Michalska

Dana Michalska

Danuta (Dana) Michalska-Tusz, born in Poland and living in Australia, has worked as a free-lance artist, graphic designer, fashion designer and advertising consultant. Her favourite medium is oil and gouache painting, and graphic art. She has been exhibited at over 25 individual and 40 group exhibitions and for her work she received many grants, awards and honours. Her paintings and prints are held in private and public collections across the world.

“Art has allowed me to overcome many difficulties and helped me survive times of sorrow and uncertainty. I am happy to find out that people take delight in my art and my pictures find their home in places where they bring joy to many.”

About my world
by Dana Michalska

Picasso once said that he paints objects as he thinks of them and not as he sees them. For him and for me, it is the artist’s thoughts and emotions that define the essence of artistic perception – the texture of human life and experience, the colour of sadness and joy, the shape of day and night, all forming a picture on the artist’s canvas.

Yesteryear’s paintings that crowd the walls of the world’s museums, no longer fulfil the role of a blueprint for the next generation of artists. Nowadays, there is no longer any need for the fine art to copy nature in attempt to constructing an accurate record of reality for the benefit of future generations. This function has been taken over by new artistic forms that include photography, film, TV and video.

Today, we expect painters to create forms of artistic expression that enable them to enlighten us on their personal reinterpretation of life, its changes and its pressures. This applies to all artistic disciplines – painting, graphics, sculpture, music, ballet, literature and poetry, as well as, industrial design, landscape design and architecture. At the times of immense advances in science, technology and medicine, the role and function for the arts has been redefined and greatly enhanced.

About creativity

Each one of us has the potential to communicate creatively about our own experiences and impressions, perceptions, world views and perspectives; and yet, few can achieve this artistic mission on their own. And so we have erected art schools, which lecture students in the history of the arts, which explain the use of tools and materials, and which elucidate the need for standards and conventions to create artistic artefacts. And still, at the end of their scholarly road, arts graduates stand lost at the intersection of textbook knowledge, many still hesitant to take their own path to artistic success. Many fail understanding that to create, an artist must move against the demands, commands and controls imposed on the art. An artist must be absolved from applying established canons, dogmas and opinions about art, which are commonly cultivated in the scholastic corridors and artistic institutions. Unfortunately for many, the road to success leads to the commercial pseudo-art, the road that is brightly lit and smooth, the road that is easy to take but very hard to turn around and return to the rocky paths of creativity. Regrettably, arts and artists are nowadays wrought by dealers and accountants, and the size of a golden frame encasing the art is often used as a measure of the artist’s grandeur.

The art today is a big business, in which the creator is considered a replaceable pawn in the game of art sales. The global trade in arts demands large capital to bring in the potential art sponsors, patrons and benefactors, to employ the commercial agents, pay art critics and auctioneers, and to organise events and carry out the advertising campaigns. And yet, at the grass roots, artists often cannot afford the basic tools of their workmanship, they cannot access the professional studio space, or even buy the staples of their daily living and survival. While it is true that Paganini could play violin concertos on one string after breaking the other three, so few have ever been able to replicate this feat of workmanship. In fact, it would be quite inordinate requesting that all violinists play one string all the time. And this, metaphorically speaking, is being asked of painters, sculptors and print makers. As a result of hardship imposed on artists, many become financially broken, disenchanted, depressive and ill; some turn to alcohol and drugs; and for some this disillusionment ends in suicide and death.

Artists are highly sensitive people, receptive to the life’s forces and stimuli, perceptive of the world’s qualities, and responsive to the inner drive for the creative action. Still, to be successful, artists must also be tough to survive and overcome their abasing living conditions, they must be militant to counter indifference to their work, doggedly consistent in what they do and always truthful to oneself. Is it possible to be sensitive and tough, responsive and rigidly consistent, receptive, perceptive and indifferent? Is it possible to be true to the arts and oneself and successful at the same time? I have often asked these questions of myself but the answers are not forthcoming easily…

About my aspirations

My small graphic forms and gouache paintings, which are full of fantasy, ghosts and birds flying over the abstract paysage, have kept me company all my life. They have let me live through many happy and tragic moments of my life. My fairies have flown in with me from faraway Poland and ever since they have been loved and accepted at my exhibitions here in Australia. They have also found their place in art galleries and at homes of my friends and family – all giving me a great sense of success!

Over the years, the pearls of my creative output and success had been threaded into a string of my artistic worth. Each year there were more of them – all growing in accolades and admiration. They provided me with the warmth of confidence, and radiance of satisfaction. One day, however, the news of my illness – CANCER – cut the string of pearls suddenly as if with the sharp blade, and the pearls scattered uncontrollably in all directions. The series of paintings “Scattered Pearls” represents my artistic attempts to deal with my illness, and echo my screams of fear and whispers of my meditation. Painting my abstract oil pictures, in entirely unique style and form, created for me the shield against pain and provided me with the peace of mind. It protected me from the ominous fate of illness. As many times before in my life, I have repealed a serious ailment by turning to my art for its emotional support and its medicinal powers. Once more art has proven to be my best friend to help me rethreading the pearls of my life together again.

About my pictures

My pictures, refusing to follow the fashions of the day, have always been true, authentic and reflective of my artistic psyche. In their unorthodoxy they still have found their way into museums, galleries and private homes. It is comforting to know that my artistic pearls scattered across the world bring smiles and joy to so many.

Danuta Michalska
MD of Fine Arts
December 2007.

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