Artist Feature and interview in Issue 27 by Jordan Hatch. Read the transcript below!
Tara McPherson Re-Inventing the Heart By Jordan Hatch Streetwear Today, Issue 27 2009
You've probably, at some time, in some way, been introduced to Ms.Tara McPherson. Wether you've seen one of her paintings, been to one of her art exhibitions, passed by one of her rock band posters, watched her band play at a cool little bar, or met her at San Diego Comic Con, Tara has her artistic hands into all things good.
And she's cool. And she's been doing it for... like forever... I mean, she's ancient! Okay well, not ancient, but Tara McPherson is not newcomer. From a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree to making posters for all kinds of cool bands to her latest solo exhibition at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery, and all kinds of other stuff in between and on the horizon, it's hard to imagine that Tara has time to make this interview. But, she's got that covered too...
Posters, books exhibitions, traveling... what's Tara up to these days?
Well, I've been painting so much lately, preparing for this next show at Choque Cultural Gallery in Sao Paulo, with Doze Green and Jim Houser. I will have ten new pieces finished. I want to get back into making the posters, 'cause I love it and it's been a few years now since I could focus my attention on that. But I did just finish a new poster for the All Tomorrow's Parties Festival (which is curated by The Breeders), and I have a handful of other prints and posters that I will be working on. But mostly, I'm working towards my deadline for this show in Brazil in January.
How did you get into doing band posters anyway?
When I graduated from art school, I finally got into a band, and being the artist in the group, I had to work on the bands' flyers. I've always loved rock posters, so it was fun to make the flyers, but I never thought of it as a profession. Eventually, through the Knitting Factory in Hollywood, I got more poster jobs. Then later, with Goldenvoice, I was introduced to some good bands. I was always able to pick and choose which bands I wanted to work with, and now that I know a lot of the bands, I work with the ones I like.
You had one book published in 2006, and now another one on the way. Can you give up some details?
Well, both books are published by Dark Horse. My first book is called 'Lonely Heart' and is a collection of everything up to that point; paintings, prints, posters... everything. With the release of that book in Fall 2006, I made an 8-city European book tour. My new book will be released this April and it's entitled 'Lost Constellations' after my solo show at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery last February. It basically starts where I left off with the last book, showing more prints, posters and sculpture work, but the main focus is on my paintings. As with the first book, I will do a European tour, this time 12 cities in June/July.
Living and working in New York, you must meet a lot of creative people. Do you hang out with a lot of artist, designers, musicians, etc.?
I generally gravitate towards artists and musicians. When I'm in work mode, I don't really go out, I'm just super into my work. But, if I do get out of the studio, its for a gallery openings or preview, so I do get to connect with a lot of other artists.
How about you describe for us a typical day on Planet McPherson...
Hmmm. Yesterday was actually a nearly perfect day. I woke up. Fed the bunny. Got my morning coffee. Then I went into the city, ran some errands, like getting supplies at the art store and such. Then I spent some hours at my studio. After that I had two hours of band practice, which followed up with going to see a friend's band play. Then it was back to the studio from midnight 'til 4 in the morning (I think its important to take a break between studio sessions). Then I went home, watched a movie, and fell asleep. How about music? What are some bands that you can't stop listening to right now?
I like These Arms are Snakes, Battles, Zozobra, Baroness. A friend just introduced me to Cult of Luna, which I've been listening to a lot. Hmmm. Whitest Boy Alive, Yeah and I still listen to a lot of Against Me...
Okay how about some of your favorite things?
My bunny. My Rickenbacker... I have this really awesome '74 Rickenbacker bass guitar. My toys... I have a pretty big toy collection. I went to Japan last June and found some very cool Kaiju toys. Sitting on the fire escape and watching the city. Travelling. I'm addicted to travelling. As an artist, I think its important to travel. I carry this book with me and write all kinds of stuff down in it. Observe and absorb. And music. Pretty much when I leave the house its either for the studio or music.
I heard something about you playing in a new band with some friends...?
Yeah, the band is cool, and a lot of fun. We're called The New York Times. Its indie rock. Really for all of us it's a side project. We're focused on our careers, but still make time for the band. I don't care how busy I am, but I have to make music. It's essential. You can find some of our songs on MySpace: www.myspace.com/nytmusic
Cool, thanks Tara. I'll keep a lookout for your new book this summer.
For a very detailed and organized portfolio from Tara McPherson, including archives, tour dates, blog posts and cool new work, you only have to go to her website. Maybe she'll be coming to a city near you!