Nora, an artist in her own right, is our Arts teacher and all-round creative angel. She works in a variety of mediums including photography, mixed media, painting, collage and printmaking.
Nora Hanasy-Cheers is an artist and has been a secondary Visual Art educator for the Rockhampton Girls Grammar School for over 16 years. She was born in Budapest, Hungary, but has lived in Australia for over 30 years.
As a Central Queensland Artist, Nora currently runs the Art House Art Gallery on East Street Rockhampton, where she conducts workshops and exhibitions. She works with found materials and discarded objects to formulate her creations.
Nora describes herself as a “jack of all trades” as she is interested in all facets of life and art. She is a member of the Rockhampton Photography Club and Print Makers Group, to name a few. As a teacher, Nora enjoys everything creative such as, painting, drawing, sculpture, and all different art movements.
Nora says, it was really difficult for her to focus on something as an artist, so she made a big decision to move to Central Queensland to work part-time, as she wanted to focus more on what she wanted to explore further in her life.
Nora had a conversation with Ken Done at the Rockhampton Art Gallery, which completely changed her outlook on life.
“I explained to Ken that I just didn’t know where to go from here,” Nora explained.
“Ken told me just keep on doing what you’re doing, whether its print making one day, photography the next, and take note of what you do the most of. Then you’ll realise where you interests and passions really lie”, she continues,
“It doesn’t mean you have to give up on everything else; you just exhibit the work you are most passionate about. ”
It was a simple and profound response that opened up her eyes to the fact that she didn't need to give anything up - she could incorporate all her interests into the assemblies and sculptures that she was working on.
Inspiration comes from everywhere for Nora, but most of the time its from the environment surrounding her. She has been a collector of discarded objects since she was a little girl,
“I remember getting my father to take me to the library, not to go in and borrow books, but to stand underneath the trees to collect the Galah and Rosella feathers in bags. I then kept them underneath my bed to use them eventually later on”, she explained.
As an Art teacher, Nora does a lot of research about artists to come up with new ideas for her students to create. She doesn’t want to teach the same thing every year, as she believes it would bore her to tears.
Her students influence and inspire her to push her work further when they create something that she’s never thought of.
In terms of where her discarded objects live, she keeps the cars outside and half of her double garage is dedicated to her studio space where everything currently lives. At the moment she’s acquired two large deer antlers and a goat skull, which sits at her feet – there’s so many things in there she can hardly move. Nora likes to sit and glance around her studio at her items and it often inspires her to put two objects together to kick-start a new idea and project.
All the materials she finds are within the environments around her, whether it be rusty bottle caps on the street or oddly shaped branches on her bush walks. Nora’s friends, family, colleagues, and students contribute to her collection by passing on to her any discarded objects they have laying around. Her students sometimes bring in bags of bones, cow skulls and once even a mummified rat.
Within her garage studio space, Nora likes to move around a lot to help form any sort of inspiration for her art pieces. She starts sitting down on the floor of the studio, then sometimes slowly moves out into the living room, on the dining table, coffee table, and even breakfast bench area. Nora explains that she has a very forgiving and patient family who don’t mind her having the bones and random things lying around the house.
“My husband is so tolerant,” explains Nora.
When creating art, Nora explains that it’s always important that her work is always in front of her – whether it is in the kitchen or living room, if it surrounds her it inspires her. She constantly thinks of the missing pieces of the art that she needs to collect to finish it off perfectly. For Nora, it’s important to live within your artworks.
When constructing her own installation of the gallery space, Nora believes it will be an emotive experience where she has the artworks in front her and she will have to decide in the moment where things with go and how they will fit.
“I don’t think I could preplan [the installation] especially not having seen the works in person just yet, it’ll be something that I will judge at the time”, Nora explains.
When speaking to the audience at the installation of her gallery space, Nora says it will be a little bit of everything - her practice, her pieces and her inspirations.
Nora’s contribution to the Girls Grammar community is immeasurable. From the Art show to mentoring, to inspiring, you can see her artistic influence throughout the school. Art class with Nora is truly a place to let the imagination run free.