Q & A with Diana Costantini


As Head of Creative for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Diana passionately leads a large team of mixed-disciplined creatives. Outside of her day job, Diana’s love of nature
provides inspiration for her art. In today’s Q&A, Diana talks about her love of earthy
colours, natural designs and patterns.  Zoom meetings are also part of her
creative process. Find out how…


For people who don’t know you: who are you and how did you get into art?

My name is Diana Costantini and I live in Sydney, Australia. I work as a Creative Director in broadcast media where I oversee a large (and fantastically talented) creative team who write, edit, shoot, design and generally create beautiful work.  My passion for art, in all its glorious forms, is expressed in my 9-5 job but we’re often creating work for a brand, TV show or product.  It was clear to me, early in my career, that I also needed to do my own thing on top of the day job.  So, I’ve played, dabbled, explored, and failed at a million different art forms but it’s the immersion, freedom and expression when doing my own work, that excites me.

Tell us a bit about your work. What, how, inspiration?

A few years ago, someone in our street poisoned 3 very large, old Australian gum trees. It was estimated they were over 100 year old trees and all three of them started to wilt, shrivel up and eventually die. I walked past these gentle dying giants every day and felt incredible loss and sadness. It was an act of vandalism that saddened me at a very deep level. The day the trees were chopped down, I started grabbing piles of smaller dead branches. I don’t think I really knew why but when I got home, I started painting the leaves. It felt like a way I could hold onto them for a bit longer and give them a new life, of sorts. The first lot of leaves and branches I painted were given to my neighbours and then I started painting them and putting them in vases around my house. They decompose, eventually.  The death of those trees gave me inspiration to forage, paint or arrange things I find in nature. 

Busy, 2022
Balance I, 2022
Balance II, 2022

Tell me more about your relationship with nature, especially with the Australian bush.

We live near the beach in Australia and the colour of the sea is always calming but it’s the Australian bush that inspires the colour palette that I use extensively throughout my abstract works. The Aussie bush is where you will find vivid oranges, sienna and punchy yellows all in the backdrop of earthy browns, soft pinks and cool greys.  I remember a commissioned work recently and the person wanted me to paint in blues. I tried and I tried but the work wasn’t flowing. When I deviate too much, it doesn’t feel like me.  So, I try to stay within the richness of Australian bush colours and that inspires and excites me.

Spending time in nature is said to have healing effects on human beings.
Do you feel that creating, as well as being surrounded by art, has a healing effect?

I’ve just returned from the Venice Biennale where I’ve longed to go for many years. I knew going there would fill the cup for me. Being surrounded by art is incredibly healing. Without wishing to sound too cliché about it, observing and creating art really is about being in the moment. And it gives me hope.

Ink & watercolour leaves, 2022
Flow, 2022

What do you think artists can learn from nature and what have you personally learned from it?

Seeing, being and touching. Nature offers so much design, colour and texture with an incredible array of patterns, design and movement. Creating work for me is all about movement. I love the way ink falls on a page, for example, and my recent works in acrylics are definitely more structured, but all painted with flow. I try not to plan the shapes and composition too much but rather keep things moving and let things happen. Nature, to me, offers imperfection, perfectly. I like to think my work is perfectly imperfect too.

30 x 40 cm

Flow Series
Acrylic on Canvas, 2022

30 x 30 cm

30 x 40 cm

When you look at your works, are you able to see yourself in them and if so, would you say that painting and creating has taught you things about yourself?

My artwork has always been quite feminine in its shapes. I don’t work with sharp shapes or geometrical structures. No matter the medium, there’s a flow and looseness to the work. If drawing a parallel to my life and my art – I think the work reflects the way I think.  I don’t like rigidity in thinking, particularly when it comes to creativity.

Tell me a bit more about your practical creative process- from an idea to a finished piece.

I spend a lot of time in meetings, now mainly on Zoom. I never head to any meeting without my notebook where I fill pages with doodles, scribbles, reflections and dreams. It’s like my subconscious working independently of the conscious.  I love pens and shapes of letters and shape making. From my pages of doodles, I will often get a good sense of an emerging design or pattern that I want to transport to canvas. This is usually where the idea will start and then I will paint variations on that theme until I get it to a point where I’m happy. Patterns excite me and I’ve tried to incorporate mark making in my acrylic works.

Flow Series, 2022
Flow Series, 2022

Any fellow emerging artists that you’d like to recommend?

I’m absorbing as much work as I can from all corners of the globe. Collage excites me and I’m really immersed in the beautiful traditional and contemporary practices of printmakers. Ceramics is my next venture and I recently came across the work of new artist, Alfred Lowe who is represented through Sabbia Gallery in Sydney. I adore the organic nature of his work and the colours are incredible.

What would be your advice for people who, like you, have a day job and would like to venture into the world of visual arts? 

As a Creative Director, I often recruit designers and visual artists. When hiring, I always ask to see examples of the person’s individual creative works as well as their portfolio. For me, seeing what someone does, outside of a creative brief, is a good insight and a way to get to know the person better. Of course, a great portfolio is important too (even if coming out of university) and the way to get that is to stay focused and never stay still.

Where can we see & buy your work and how to get in touch with you?

I sell my work through Etsy but it’s mainly through Instagram and people reaching out to me directly. Selling paintings online can be tricky as most works are so much better in real life so I also attend a large art and design market every year and this is where I sell a lot of works. The art and design markets are also very useful in getting direct feedback on your work.

Diana Costantini at the yearly Makers & Shakers art & design market in Sydney.

What are your hopes for the future?

I haven’t yet ventured into this space, but I hope to work with a gallery, eventually.
I would also love to carve out time for an art residency where I can really
immerse myself in my craft and explore and push the work further.
My number one aim is to keep learning and creating – every day.

Get in touch with Diana:

Instagram: @loveartaus
Etsy: Loveartau

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