Okay Tara, you do not have anything to do with it, but I have to know before someone google your name and fall in love with you forever. Have you also been a model for a fashion house? Apart from the fact that you are gorgeous, has it to do with your artistic intentions or it was just a simple pastime? Speak the truth.
Haha, that is very sweet of you, thank you. In fact, my “modelling days” lasted a total of one day; a Korean friend, Baron Oh, had just launched her new line back in 2011 and so I had volunteered to model her clothes. However, my parents had always taught me: the most important beauty is that from within. A good heart is the most beautiful of all and so this is what I focused on, rather than a career in modelling.
Yeah, I did not just ask you because I’m jealous while I’m getting older and fat, but also because your own instagram profile offers an image that enhances not only your artistic production but your own lifestyle as a product of art. This process is becoming more and more common among emerging artists and an impelling necessity for affirmed ones, to offer not only their artistic product, but also themselves to the audience. What do you think about it? How much is natural and how much is needed?
A lot of my art is influenced through my travels. I want to share my inspiration with my audience and the world through my eyes from time to time. In our age, with so much social media at our fingertips, artists have many opportunities to “advertise” their work through various platforms and do not need to depend on galleries to do the sole promoting work. I feel it is important for artists to include themselves on their social media sites, not only their work, as it entices the audience to empathise with them and put a face to the name and see the creator behind the artwork.
Let’s go deep, I find your compositions very fascinating for the Byzantine references, and I think only a multiethnic personality like yours (Tara is a Serbian-British-Greek-Arabian Goddess) could be a believable medium between past and present. How did you know this primordial art form? What attracted you immediately?
I spent much of my childhood between Greece, Serbia and Saudi Arabia and thus I was exposed to ancient artwork and vivid colours from a very young age; ranging from Byzantine mosaics in ancient Greek cities to Serbian traditional clothing to Saudi Arabian desert roses. The craftsmanship, which has survived thousands of years fascinated me and inspired me to include it in my own art, through my own interpretation.
Tell me about your very beginnings, you had this inspiration, you watched this wonderful ancient color palette, you got the idea and said: “Damn, I have to…”. How did you started?
I have always been creative as a child, be it by writing poems or a screenplay for a film (which is still collecting dust somewhere in my bedroom!). When I started working in engineering, fresh from university, I felt the corporate world was a little too structured for me; there were so many processes and procedures which, admittedly when building a railway or city is vital, however I was unable to express myself all the time. Therefore, without ever having any art lessons, I decided to buy a canvas and some paint and the rest is history…
Watching at your paintings I’m pretty sure that the obsessive repetition of the gesture is an integral part of your art.
What do you feel during the production process, is it something extraneous or relaxes you? Do you listen to music to accompany your gestures?
It’s funny that you say that; I hadn’t realised I even had a style until a few clients pointed out my distinct patterns and repetitive movements in all my works, so yes, I guess it is an integral part of my work. I usually have a meditative yoga music or a Disney movie playlist/compilation…
Yeah, it’s a little embarrassing to admit but I find this music to be very calming and with it, I am lost in my artwork; I feel as if only my canvas and I exist… And, why not, maybe Ariel from The Little Mermaid… Nope, just kidding.
In one of your instagram posts there’s you while starting a new canvas and it’s titled: “Decisions, decisions..” I think it’s one of the biggest issue in the world of art, starting something new from scratch and every fucking decision you made determines what happens later, step by step, minute by minute. And you’ll never know when an artwork it’s really completed. How do you relate with it? It’s a sustainable pressure?
I totally agree; it is a real issue, especially when you’re using paint and can’t just rub out a pencil sketch. Sometimes when you’re halfway through a painting you’re like “I so shouldn’t have used this colour/done this line here etc” but at that point it’s too late and you have to work with what you have and try to cover up your “mistake”. However, over time I have realised that art is so subjective; something I really don’t like, someone may love and vice versa. It’s all about one’s interpretation and perception. It’s weird to describe, but when I start a painting, I do very little planning. It’s as if I have an “epiphany” and have to put paint onto canvas immediately, and the ideas just continue flowing. At one point, once the initial “epiphany” has passed, I then start assessing what I have done and this is the tricky part; you start doubting what you thought was a great idea at first and then wonder whether it will trigger the same emotions in the viewer as it does in you. I used to care a lot about what other people thought about my work and used to seek opinions from friends and family, whether they thought my work was “finished” or not. However I’ve realised it only further confuses me and art is so personal that each person will have their own opinion or view. Now, I go by intuition.
Please, don’t blame on me, but I found your “Hearts” collection the most focused and the most accessible gate to enter your world of art. It’s pure math, and it’s full of passion at the same time. It’s linear and it’s pure chaos, and I think the “Yin and Yang” piece it’s the finest expression of this series. I read you started in 2014 for this collection, is it an ongoing series? Please tell me something more about it, from the original idea to now.
Yes, the Hearts series probably took the most time and concentration. It is very meticulously done, all by hand, no stamps used, and is my “baby”. My first ever artwork was “Winter”, from the Hearts collection which I did when I first started in the corporate world in 2014. I hadn’t taken art seriously at that point and was only doing it as a form of escapism. Once I had completed “Winter”, the other paintings in the Hearts series followed. However, as people became more and more interested in my work, it gave me the confidence to explore different techniques and mediums. At the moment I am finished with the series, however I will be making prints of this work soon.
Tell me some about what excites you in the world of art today, give me three names in contemporary art that blow your mind, one for painting, one for design and one for photography.
I love Yayoi Kusama, the way she plays with dots and the optical illusions they give. I hadn’t heard of her when I had started my Heart Collection, however I can why people tell me how my work may resemble hers. I also find Chris Ofili‘s political-sexual-elephant-dung-infused paintings mesmerising and so powerful. Well, I don’t have a favourite photographer, however do like Jingna Zhang‘s work as well as Neil Bedford and Lee Towndrow. And for Designers: Hmm.. I like Juri Zaech, Alexandra Bruel, Jessica Walsh and Yurko Gutsulyak. Sorry if I can’t be concise, however graphic designers are constantly evolving, channeling their work and catering to clients’ requests, therefore I may like one campaign much more than another done by the same designer.
And what about yesterday, you have a ticket for one dinner out for two, and you can choose an artist, whoever you like, from the Egyptians through to the ’60s. Who’s who?
Gauguin. Hands down. His later works, for sure. His colours are just so vivid and his subjects so exotic. What fascinates and inspires me is that he was a stockbroker by profession and then decided to take up painting one day, he had this desire to travel half way across the globe to Tahiti which was not easily accessible at his time and explore different surroundings for his art. Although, if Gauguin were too busy to attend the dinner with me, I’d call up Klimt!
Damn, I guess our time is finishing, but I cannot leave you without the Proust Questionnaire. Here we go:
– Your favorite virtue?
Kindness. I strongly believe what you practice, will come back to you in one way or another.
– Your main fault?
I guess I am little impatient; from the small things like waiting for oil paints to dry to reaping the rewards for my artwork.
– Your idea of happiness?
Surrounded by those who I love, sipping a cappuccino by the Aegean sea. Whilst soaking up the sun, of course!
– If not yourself, who would you be?
My mother. She is the most amazing, kindest, smartest, funniest, strongest woman. I aspire to be even half of her.
– How you wish to die?
Very old, and painlessly! I wish by then to be successful in my career and have had a plethora of amazing life experiences.
– What is your present state of mind?
Work hard, believe it and you will achieve it!
Uhmmm wait, last question Tara, when you were 13, who did you want to become?
A teacher. Education and knowledge are the greatest gift you could give to someone.
Check Tara’s profile on Instagram