My Design Journey: Tannya Harricks

my design journey Jun 22, 2022

This week we cheer on prize-winning painter, Tannya Harricks (who also happens to be our former creative director at Longina Phillips Designs). Her chunky acrylic paint application and bold colour choices will make you want to pick up a paint brush, pronto!  Scroll for her story and a timeline of creations.

Photo: This is from about 2014 I think when I did some freelance design work for Longina Phillips Designs.

I worked at Longina Phillips Designs in the mid nineties after studying graphic design and working in-house for a fashion designer. 

The LPD studio was an exciting place to work with an abundance of reference materials from around the world and plenty of space to create. No day was the same, every brief and every client was different. I think we only had one computer then and I mostly did the illustrations for placement print designs, storyboards and logos. I do remember the first print design I did that sold. 


Photo: This dog/houndstooth design was from 1996 or 97. It was my first design that sold.

It was a novelty print with dogs in handbags! Creativity and initiative was nurtured and encouraged by Lola and all of the designers. I made lifetime friends from my time working at LPD.

I have always been painting, drawing and interested in the history of art since high school.

Once my three sons were at school I decided to commit to my own art practice and explore painting under the guidance of established artists whose work I admired such as Jo Bertini. My style has always been expressive and painterly even when I was designing at LPD.

Expressing what I see and feel through painting is a compulsion.

I had so many paintings starting to fill up my garage at home, so I decided to select some to exhibit.

I sold my first painting sight unseen before my first exhibition opened 13 years ago, which was encouraging and an incentive for me to pursue painting. Being selected for art prizes and winning the Waverley and Hornsby art prizes gave me the confidence to stick with it.

What does a work day look like for you? 

My time is spent between creating art and writing proposals for exhibitions, art residencies, entering prizes and responding to enquiries. I am also illustrating children’s picture books, teaching art classes and talking at schools.

 I have to be organised in my daily routine to allow for long periods of painting. It requires deep thinking and immersion. 

My paintings are built up with layers of oil paint.

Sometimes two or three layers until I feel it is resolved. 

I love charcoal for drawing because it can be manipulated and pulled around the paper in a similar way to oil paint on canvas.

Do you have a good tip for us? 

Continue to learn, practise and push beyond what is comfortable at every stage of your creative life.

Find more of Tannya's work on her website.

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