Artist of the Month: Tara Krebs

 

Tara Krebs is a Toronto artist who paints storybook-style illustrations that explore her feelings toward the symbiotic ways of nature, and draw on her memories of childhood role-play and the impossible worlds made tangible by her imagination and natural settings.

 

1.       Inyour LaVaLab profile, you say that you paint storybook-style illustrations that explore your feelings toward the symbiotic ways of nature, and draw on your memories of childhood role-play. Can you tell us more about these concepts behind your work?


A few years ago, I became sort of frustrated with the way technology, and my fast-paced society had sort of taken over my brain. I found that I wasn’t sketching anymore, and barely had time to develop ideas because I always had to get on to the next thing. That sense of wonder, patience, and imagination between asking a question and finding out the answer had been depleted because the Internet could provide me all the information I wanted through a quick flurry of button clicks.

 

I started to recognize this same affect in the people around me, especially in children, who often in the present time aren’t playing, imagining, and role-playing, the way we did when I was little, because their devices offer immediate gratification for their minds. Playing in the park with my friends, and imagining ourselves into different worlds and fantastical situations was an important and fondly remembered part of my early childhood, and was so instrumental in shaping a healthy and silly imagination.

 

So when I started to recognize how I was being impacted by all this, I became very fascinated with the idea of recapturing the sense of wonder we tend to lose as we get older, and started developing these vague narratives that would force viewers to use their imaginations and “write” their own stories to go along with the images.

 

I guess it was sort of natural that my work would evolve into an intimate, illustrative style to tell these stories. People are often surprised by how small and detailed my paintings are in person, but I like that you have to draw in close to them to take in the visual narrative, similar to the way one would curl up with a picture book.

 

The hybridization of plants and animals represents my love of nature, and the belief that everything on Earth is connected, and essentially part of the same organism. That idea has always seemed at the same time so natural, yet magical to me, so it’s inevitable that this theme would find its way into the surreal worlds that I create.

 

2.       What types of media do you use for your work and why do you choose to use them?

 

I mainly work in acrylic, but I’m trying to use oil more. I like acrylic because it dries quickly and I can layer things, and sort of lean on my paintings to steady myself for those tiny details, which you can’t really do with oil paint. But I love how oil blends, and the richness of the colours. So there are pros and cons to each. Sometimes I combine the two.

 

3.       Who are your mentors? Has anyone in particular guided you through your process and professional art practice as a whole?

 

I had a few professors at OCAD University that inspired me and impacted the way I see forms, draw lines, etc. Otherwise I’m sort of a lone wolf when it comes to art, holed up in my studio all alone like a hermit, making these weird paintings *laughs*.

 

4.       What other art forms are you interested in that inform your creative process? Any that you admire or would like to learn?

 

I love writing and taking photos, but I don’t know my way around a camera very well yet. I just really like making compositions and fitting subject matter into a

frame in an interesting way. But I’d love to learn a never-ending list of creative processes. I believe that when you acquire new skills in your life, art or otherwise, these things inevitably impact and evolve the work that you create. There’s a lot I would do if I had the time and resources; wood-working, sculpture, print-making, pottery, sewing, acting… they’re all different forms of telling a story, whether it’s a fictional narrative, something descriptive of that place and/or time, or an autobiography. And that’s what I’m really interested in - sharing stories.

 

5.       What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

 

Find what inspires you, and take it in frequently. The more art you create, the more you will develop your skills and personal style. Draw inspiration from the art you connect with, but never try to copy other artists - they're already doing that thing. Find out what your thing is. Welcome critiques about your art, and consider the feedback because it can open your eyes and help you to strengthen your work, but at the end of the day, you have to find that balance where you stay true to who you are as an artist.

 

6.       How can we learn more and keep up with your latest work?

 

You can stay tuned by following me on Instagram (@tarakrebsart), Twitter (@tarakrebsart) and Facebook (Tara Krebs Art), where I post a lot about my work, process, upcoming shows and projects, life adventures, etc. You can also visit http://www.tarakrebs.com to view the online gallery of all my work. If you'd like to contact me directly, I can be reached at hello@tarakrebs.com.

 

See Tara Krebs’ LaVaLab profile at http://lavalab.ca/artist/291.  

Images:

Tara Krebs, The Secret, Acrylic on Masonite Board, 18 x 24

Tara Krebs painting The Secret

Tara Krebs headshot


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