Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Art Space Talk: Tammy Bond

I recently interviewed artist Tammy Bond. Tammy is interested in exploring the emotive side of our lives. Her work is full of raw emotion and ideas. In a sense, Tammy gives visual form to these aspects of the human psyche. Her work reflects the brutal truth of our interpersonal connections.
Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "Really only a little over a year ago, I had work hanging, and was watching people react to it. I'm really pretty introverted, (an artist, introverted? Surely not.) so being able to reach people through my art was a pretty big factor for me."

Q. How has creating art shaped you professionally and personally?

A. "Professionally- it changed my career path to one that hopefully ensures I have time to paint, and of course, I've made monetary sacrifices to have that lifestyle. Personally- wow, it's who I am."

Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?

A. "It has and it hasn't. My subject matter is certainly influenced by the world around me, but I don't bend it to fit society. If I feel there needs to be nudity, I do it. (Knowing that it limits the places I can show) Social implications- if you mean going out on a Friday night, I'd rather be in painting. Oh, IN my art- sure, I'm pretty "in your face" with subject matter, it exposes a lot of what's behind my mask. It surprises people. They say, "but you're so sweet.""

Q. What are your artistic influences? Has anyone inspired you?

A. "Everyone inspires me. Human behavior fuels my work. My artistic influences grow daily: starting with Picasso as a child, to my current influences being Anselm Keiffer, Anne Leibowitz, Egon Sheile, Odilon Redon, etc. (today anyhow) I try to identify what strikes me about another artists' work and incorporate those elements in my style. I find it brings me closer to my truth."
Q. Tell me a little about your background. Are your past experiences reflected in the work you do today? If so, how?

A. "Background, hmm U.S. suburbia, moved a lot, graduated from a private prep school because the public school in my area was having skinhead riots when I went to enroll. Grew up wishing I could have been a hippie, but was living in a strictly Republican household that taped Rush Limbaugh daily. I was always either a nerd or a dark mysterious rebel without a clue as a kid, started smoking at 15.... attempts at college until my 80 hour a week salaried retail job at The Gap sucked the life out of me for 13 years. Burned out, I returned to school at 29 to attempt to find a new career before that one killed me completely. That's when I began painting.

Past experiences reflected in my work? You bet. My work is very therapeutic for me; exposing buried emotions, questioning what I think, and hopefully doing the same for the viewer. I find most of my work is inspired by some form of a relationship either beginning or ending, which always prompts me to ask myself the infamous question: "Who am I?", and 'poof' another series of paintings is inspired."

Q. How long have you been a working artist?

A. "I've been doing it in school now for about 3 years."

Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?

A. "I would say mostly younger, progressive "free thinkers". Things like Barbie tied to a tree naked with cute forest animals looking on with curiosity don't tend to appeal with a lot of the older generations."
Q. Discuss one of your pieces.What were you thinking when you created it?

A. ""Sadness Crept Over Me" is the name of the piece. The images for this series were inspired by photography from a book entitled, "The Children of Bombay". As you can imagine, the images are quite moving, yet beautiful in the rawness of emotion and innocence portrayed."

Q. What is your artistic process?

A. "It varies. Sometimes all of the pieces of a puzzle come together all at once, and I paint them immediately. Other ideas sit in my sketchbook for a while, if not indefinitely, until the rest of it comes to me. Example: for 2 years I've known I wanted to do something with corsets, the idea resurfaced just this week and I know what I want to do-the mediums, surfaces, style-the whole mental image. Of course, I have 3 other series of paintings I've already begun, so it'll be a while. Hopefully I'll still be interested in doing it..."

Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?

A. "For the mood they help to represent. Example: I work on tar paper with oils and charcoal when I want a darker mood, watercolor and prisma for a more classic look, a lighter mood. I have so many mediums and surfaces I want to experiment with, but the mood for the subject's got to match it. Right now I'm waiting for inspiration to strike for a painting on an A/C filter."
Q. Do you have a degree or do you plan to attend school for art? If so, how has it helped your art career?

A. "I'm in my senior year of my BFA. How has it helped? Surrounded me with others whose interests are similar, pushed me to work harder, dig deeper, and gave me the confidence to be as far along as I am today."

Q. What can you tell us about the art department that you attend?

A. "I go to UTA, and they have a surprisingly good art department. The teachers are top notch; they really care about the students' progress. The art department is housed in a brand new annex/Mecca with its own student gallery and the largest glassblowing studio in the U.S. They've got all the goodies you could want, from large print format printers, to print presses that are top notch, color photo lab, but I find the teachers are really what makes it."

Q. Where can we see more of your art?

A. "My Space:



(Under construction, but should have done by end of December as well as my ebay store)"
Q. Do you have any upcoming exhibits?

A. "Currently at Art is Art, Dallas, TX,

Upcoming exhibitions are Art Conspiracy II,
The Longhorn Ballroom, Dallas,
TX (Dec. 1),

FWCAC 9 x 12 Works on Paper Show,
Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Fort Worth, TX (Dec. 8),

The Kettle, Dallas, TX (Dec. 9),

Sub-Urban, George's Frame & Art Gallery, Dallas, TX (Dec. 15),

and an upcoming one person exhibition in early 2007 with Art Under Glass, Dallas, far anyhow, I'll try for more when I catch my energy back up."

Q. What trends do you see in the 'art world'?

A. "There is a book called, "Pop Surrealism" that sums it up, the whole retro look with very graphic elements. As in fashion, trends are dictated by the economy, the generation in positions of power and the state of the world. I foresee a very eclectic mix of arts continuing to become more popular as the next generations come of age. It seems as though the younger generations have a very broad range of interests, so the arts will reflect that."

Q. Any tips for emerging artists?

A. "Yes! Get your work out there! Just do it. Don't be intimidated by what you view the "art scene" to be or what an artist is "supposed" to do or be. Just be you to the nth degree, and remember, not everyone will like your work-that's why Baskin Robbins made 31 flavors. Each "rejection" is a learning process. Go to the galleries, see where your work will fit in and do it! Too many good artists aren't showing their work. However, I won't lie: getting your portfolio, artist packet, pics, etc. ready and keeping it up to date is not an easy feat, but well worth it in the end."
Q. Has your work ever been censored? If so, how did you deal with it?

A. "Yes! I loved it. Had some work up in a Starbucks, and a customer said a piece "scared her" so I had to take it down. To me, that means it was a successful piece, to have evoked that much emotion. My next goal is to have a piece stolen. (Hopefully a cheaper one though)
I know that there are many places my work will not be deemed as "appropriate", so I just don't attempt to show there."

Q. What was the toughest point in your career as an artist? Have you ever hit rock bottom?

A. "Rock bottom? Ouch, yes-twice. The first time was the first juried show I entered. I didn't make the cut, and it took me a while to shake that off. Still wonder why, it was good work and appropriate for the show. The second time I hit rock bottom ended up resulting in major artistic growth for me. My advanced drawing teacher challenged me and challenged me and pushed and pushed. I was in tears most of that semester. When I picked myself up, I recognized what I stood for in my work and fought back, ending the semester with the best work I've ever done. The teacher told me when it was all over that I was a real artist and I was pushed because I was believed in."

Q. In one sentence... why do you create art?

A. "I create art because I have an overactive imagination I've got to do something with combined with an enjoyment of the sense of power it gives me."

Q. Can we find your art on MYARTSPACE.COM?

A. "Not yet, I just discovered it, but it's on my to do list...."

Q. What can you tell our readers about the art scene in your area?

A. "Dallas, TX: The art scene here is growing. Texas is last in both $ and $ per capita in taxes towards the arts, so it's really up to the artists and their supporters here. A lot of new galleries have opened in the last year here, so it is steadily growing."
Q. Has politics ever entered your art?

A. "Yes, I have a few pieces inspired by hurricane Katrina-one entitled, "George and Katrina", another, "Red, White, Blue, Blacks and Oranges". I may go back into political art at some point.... it’s just so frustrating right now, hard for me to see a clear image of it."

Q. Does your cultural background play a part in your work?

A. "You mean the culture of Suburbia? Sure, well, really it's more the lack of cultural background that interests me."

Q. Is there anything else you would like to say about your art or the 'art world'?

A. "A little story to close with: When I was a kid, I was always daydreaming. Adults would tell me to, "put my feet on the ground" and stop daydreaming. One day I listened, and I died inside. It's only been since I began painting ~3 years ago that I let myself daydream again, and got my feet back up off the ground (where they belong)."

I hope that you have enjoyed my interview with Tammy Bond. Feel free to critique or discuss her work.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

1 comment:

Centuryhouse said...

Very cool, I enjoyed the interview!

I've liked Tammy's work since I first saw it a few months ago and have been intrigued by it, which makes this bit of explanation and background all the more interesting.

Daniel W.