Interview in Destroy All MonthlyDestroy All Monthly
Published on 8/01/2002
Full page interview by Calixto Hernandez. Destroy All Monthly
"An Artist Interview with Tara McPherson"
Story by: Calixto Hernandez
Tara McPherson is an inspiration to anyone who dreams of making things happen. That may sound corny, but please do yourself a favor and read on. Born in San Francisco and raised in Los Angeles, she didn't start taking art classes until her second or third year at Santa Monica Community College. "Actually, for the first two years I was an astronomy major and I wanted to transfer to U.C. Santa Cruz to get my astrophysics degree." Art apparently has a gravitational pull of it's own and luckily for those who have seen Tara's work, she opted to follow that urge and transferred to Art Center in Pasadena where she honed her skills and graduated having scored a number of freelance gigs in the process. Tara's fine art caught the eyes of some heavies in the lowbrow scene where she is quickly stepping it up and hanging tough in group shows that include the likes of the Clayton Brothers and Frank Kozik, to drop just a couple on ya. Folks, that is no joke. And I'm not even talking about the New Detectives.
Toys are childhood themes that find their way into much of Tara's work. "I like to paint about people, their relationships and interactions. Toys have a way symbolically standing for people's relationships." Some of her studies imbue the viewer with a sense of innocent longing and others with a suspicion that these might be the kinds of playmates who would torture your cat with vacuous smiles pasted on their ashen faces. Indeed, one character she calls, "Ace" is a curious little dude in a teddy bear costume who pops up here and there, sometimes smoking cigs or holding sharp objects in his cute little paws. I like Ace. He's real. " It's kinda like he is a toy, but subtly has human qualities. I'm doing a new painting with him right now. It's a Madonna and child but instead of baby Jesus, she's holding him. He has a bandage around his leg.
I asked Tara how she gets ideas and inspiration. " You know, what I do is write. my old roommate is a writer and I used to go through her poems and take certain lines that I liked. Or sometimes I find them in music lyrics or books. I'll take that and I'll write it on a page and then I'll just brainstorm and write down anything that pops into my head that's related in any way. Then I'll make little doodles and I'll connect. Usually I'll go through like two or three pages. Then the idea really evolves into a concept of what I want to do. I'll start drawing sketches 'cause by then I really have it pictures in my head. I do that for almost every painting that I want to work on.'
Tara wishes to thank her husband, friends and family for their love and inspiration as she gears up for her fourth and biggest show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Feliz on Friday, Aug. 2. She will share the walls with Tim Biskup, Craiger, and Jeff Soto. I'm sure it will be quite a shindig. A a recent show, one of Tara's paintings was purchased by David Arquette, to drop another. "When I sold it, they're like, 'guess who bought it... David Arquette!'" I'm like, cool! which one is he?!!" Tara knows funny.