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Interview in Royal Flush
Royal Flush
Published on 7/08/2007

This is my new favorite magazine! Music, art, comics and silly stuff are in this cool ass issue. I have a 2 page feature as well as a free fold out Mastodon poster. Interview by Josh Bernstein.

Royal Flush Magazine
"Tara McPherson: She's the Owner of a Lonely Heart"
Interview by: Josh Bernstein
Book 4, 2007

"Doing art is fun for now, but my real passion is tartar sauce." says renowned rising art star Tara McPherson with a giggle. The truth is she's only half kidding; this lady takes her tartar sauce very seriously, closely followed by her famed guacamole. "People always want to add all these crazy ingredients. The key is keeping it simple."

The same could be said of Ms. McPherson's ever growing collection of art which seems to be popping up everywhere from DC Comics to Fanta to Spin Magazine to international gallery shows to her own line of stationary. Most recently, Tara released her first book, Lonely Heart, The Art of Tara McPherson through legendary comics publisher Dark Horse. This stunning tome chronicles McPherson's work from the past few years. It's all here- the mystical paintings, the delectable pencil drawings and the ethereal rock poster for such high profile bands as Green Day, High on Fire, Shonen Knife and Beck. We caught up with McPherson recently in her new hometown of New York City over mini tacos, illegal cheese and dirty martinis.

So tell me about your early art influences...

Are you really going to ask me that? Haha.

Uhhh, no, I was just uhh kidding. First of all you look way too young to have a retrospective book of your work. (She just turned 30)

Haha, Thanks. I'm so happy the way the book came out. It actually has sold out of the first run and now has gone into a second printing! I'm very proud of the book and the positive response it's had.

You just completed a European book tour. What was the response like to your work over there?

Oh my God, it was great. We went to so many different places: bookshops, galleries, museums. Met so many great folks at all the signings. I have many photos [laughs].

I love the way the work is shown in stages with different papers.

It was important to me to have that in there. I had a very specific was that I wanted my work displayed, Dark Horse was very accommodating and cool about it.

This book really captures your artistic evolution over the past few years. How did this book project with Dark Horse Comics first come about?

When I was living in Portland, Ore., I visited the Dark Horse offices for a project I was working on. I wanted to release a stationary set through them. Then the talk shifted to releasing a book. I told them they'd have to wait a year until I was ready. When I felt the time was right, I put the book together. They were great. They gave me the freedom to design it the way I wanted, and I am thrilled at the end result. Hopefully it's the first of many books!

You have a busy year ahead of you, I understand. What do you have cooking?

I'm in the midst of doing a 100 page graphic novel for Vertigo comics called Donor. It's going to take a year to complete. It's fully colored and everything. I have a few group shows. Then I have a solo show at NYC's Jonathan LeVine Gallery in late 2008. So my next 18 months are pretty booked! Also I'm working with Kid Robot on some great stuff that'll be out this year. I have a five-year plan in place.

A five- year plan?

Yes, I plan out years in advance- big projects that I want to accomplish and I go for 'em. The book, toys, and my art gallery shows were all part of that plan.

You seem to move effortlessly from poster work to comics to painting to playing bass in a band....

Yeah, I like to try all those things and more. I like the freedom to jump from one project to another without getting pigeonholed as one type of artist.

You've done so many posters for so many different types of bands. What music are you listening to when you create this?

Oh, there's so many, Slayer, Mastodon, Isis, High on Fire, Melvins. The list goes on.

Does that influence your bass playing?

Well in my current band, we play some great stuff, but I have some amazing Neurosis riffs that I want to bust out. Haha.

So, on top of all this, where do you find the time to teach illustration at Parson's School of Design in NYC?

Haha, I love teaching. I recently had a fun project where I taught the kids how to separate color for silkscreens. I can't wait to see what they come up with.

Now for the million dollar question: Tara, how much ya bench?

Hmm, I'd have to say 37 pounds, hee hee.