Last spring, Tonia Williams, who was born in New Zealand of parents who had moved there from Great Britain, launched her rowing art at the Maadi Cup Regatta. In 1996, after her elite rowing career was over – among other things, she represented Great Britain between 1991 and 1994, stroking the lightweight four to British rowing’s first sweep-oar gold medal for women in 1993 – Tonia became interested in rowing art. During two decades, while she was pursuing an occupation in architectural and urban design, she was desperately looking for “art that captured the colour and vibrancy of our beautiful sport”, she writes in an e-mail to HTBS from New Zealand.
Once Tonia had decided to have a go herself at rowing art, she started o4rsom.com – ‘Artwork for Oarsfolks’ – in March/April 2011 to promote sales of prints and her original art. It is immediately clear to anyone who views her work, that it is created by someone who knows, loves and understands the sport of rowing. Her ‘Artwork for Oarsfolks’ really captures the essence of the noble art of oarsmanship.
To try to create international interest for her art, Tonia took a trip to the U.K. where, she writes, the “interest was fairly high, and I received an invitation to exhibit some of my originals at the Henley Royal Regatta Stewards Art Gallery.” They will be retailing her prints, cards, and postcards. Another outcome from her visit to Henley is that she has been given an exclusive exhibition at the famous River and Rowing Museum from May to August this year as a part of the museum’s Olympic build up, she also writes.
“Naturally I am keen to build on this momentum and am looking for further profile wherever possible”, Tonia mentions. She continues, “I currently have prints (on a variety of medium), cards and postcards available, and am always happy to discuss arrangements of mutual benefit.” So, if there is anyone who is keen on carrying Tonia’s beautiful art, do not hesitate to contact her here.
Now, what I personally think is a great idea is Tonia’s ability to customise ‘original’ art to incorporate club and crew colours to create a virtual original. This has been well received by some clubs and schools, “especially”, writes Tonia, “as end of year gifts for sponsors, coaches, and athletes”.
Although, Tonia retired from elite rowing in 1996, she did win the mixed double (with Richard Newey) at the world Masters Games in Melbourne, Australia, in 2002. Presently, she is Commodore of North Shore Rowing Club.
From now on, you will find a link to Tonia’s o4rsom.com – ‘Artwork for Oarsfolks’ – under Buy Rowing Stuff on the right. HTBS wishes Tonia luck in her new endeavour.