Full page feature by Molly Simms in the Feb/Mar 2007 issue. You can read the transcript below.
Bust "Owner of a Lonely Heart. Tara McPerson's world of whip- smart pop art" Article by: Molly Simms Feb/ Mar 2007
The characters that populate 30-year-old New York-based art star Tara McPherson's work have a pop sweetness that calls to mind sugar and spice and everything nice. But look a little closer and you'll find that in her dreamy pastel-colored acrylic and oil fantasy scenes, the coy teddy bears are cigarette-smokers covered in sailor tattoos, and the smirking girls are bleeding from the incisions where they have neatly removed their own hearts. "I follow the themes of love, loss of love, hate, envy, and feelings that can build and also destroy a life," McPherson says about the subtext of her adorable-yet-sinister characters. Clearly, sometimes a teddy bear is more than just a teddy bear.
McPherson recently released the book Lonely Heart: The Art of Tara McPherson ( Dark Horse), the latest addition to her rapidly growing empire that includes a line of stationary, an upcoming graphic novel for DC's Vertigo Comics, and an ongoing series of beloved rock-gig posters. A bass player in her hometown of L.A. since age 15, she combined her two greatest childhood loves, music and art, to launch her career. "I started a band after college, and I made all the flyers," she recalls. "Then I asked some local venues in California if they needed posters, and I'd go down the list of upcoming shows and pick bands that interested me." From those humble beginnings, McPherson made a name for herself in the rock-poster world and now has designs for artists like Beck, Kraftwerk, and Sleater-Kinney under her belt.
After seeing photos of McPherson, it's easy to see the traces of her mouth and eyes in the women in her paintings. When asked about the similarities, she just laughs. "It's not intentional!" she says. "But sometimes I have to look in the mirror for the reference. I try to make them not look like me, but it still ends up that way." Though she works exhaustively at her craft, it's all worth it for McPherson once she can revel in her final products. "I get such personal satisfaction from making what I love," she confides. "After I finish a painting, I could stare at it for, like, a day straight." She's not the only one.