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Interview in Candy
Candy Magazine
Published on 5/31/2007

Here's a direct link to one of my favorite interviews by Bren B.
Or you can read the interview below!

Tara McPherson
Writen by BrenB
Originally published in Candy Magazine


Have you ever read an interview with a tattooed astrophysicist bass playing metalhead who draws comics and makes the coolest rock posters all whilst dancing the cabbage patch? No? Well I'd never conducted one... Until now that is!
Stand back in awe and wonder... It's Tara McPherson!

As a teenager I would roam my home town high on was and artificial coloring agents (from eating the crayons I drew with) trying to interrupt arguing couples. I've always wondered should I have been a therapist or a TV char show host. Has making art always been your ambition or have another passion that you wrestle/have wrestled with? Do you wrestle?

I like wrestling in the morning, but I never watch it on TV. In an alternate universe I am definitely an Astrophysicist. When I started community college, all the art classes were full, so I took this Astronomy class and simply fell in love with it. It piques my curiosity so much I wanna scream and shout theories of relativity and super string theories to everyone. But seriously, really, I really was the Vice President of the Astronomy Club on campus for over a year, changed my major and was super duper into being an Astrophysicist. Then one day I had an epiphany... I didn't think I'd be happy in the long run with that as a career... You know, working long hours into the night observing and analyzing data. So I decided to really focus my college courses into making art again. You know, it's a scary decision to tell yourself, and your friends and family, 'Hey! I wanna be an artist!'. Most of them just smirk and think you can't do it successfully. But I knew... After taking more art classes, I knew that this is what I was put on this planet to do. Make art. So now I sit in my studio working long hours into the night observing and analyzing my own work.

I had been doing some illustration jobs around town for a while before I received my big break. Fortunately the illustrator originally planned for the job had a nervous breakdown and was hiding under his car. I know, lucky me! Is there a job, event or person (apart from yourself) you hold responsible for putting you on the path you are now on?

Well one day after eating this amazing chinese food, I got this fortune cookie that said 'Your talents will be recognized and substantially rewarded'... So that's when I totally knew I was going to be a successful artist. But really, I think with my career it was a series of events all leading in the right direction, not just one particular thing, that helped me get where I am today. Honestly within the art world I feel genuine success has to do with talent, hard work, and a little luck.

Does your day have a ritual? A routine, a mind-numbing repetitious day-dream filled stab in the heart kinda thing? Or, is it an ever-changing, inspirationally challenging and creatively rewarding 'slap me I can't believe it, so happy!' kinda thing?

No ritual in this studio for sure! Sometimes I dream of having a normal schedule! Coffee at 8:45, board meeting at 10, lunch at 1, home by 5...Just kidding! Well except for the going home at 5 part. That would be sweet... But there is now way I could ever survive in the normal world of regular people with routines. It's just not me. There are constantly new and exciting things that happen everyday that keep me inspired. And my schedule varies so much that I'm always entertained with what I'm doing. Or it I get bored with one thing I can switch to another. Its great and it works with my personality perfectl- I am an Aries after all.

Original concert posters are a phenomenon we don't have here in Ireland. Up until recently, they were number 5 on the church's list of banned art, number 1 being portraits of Sinead O'Connor and number 2 the depiction of animal auto-eroticism! Can you shed some light on this art poster world, how it works- screen prints or digital- is it band or venue commissioned ect?

That's amazing! Really? Posters are and have been so popular here in the States. Well, the way I do posters is through a few different avenues. But number one- I get the band's or the band's management's approval before doing the poster. Sometimes I work through the venue, or the promotion company, or the tour manager, or directly with a band member. All of the above, but I always make sure the venue gets posters, the band gets at lease 30 to 50 posters to keep and sell, and then I keep the rest to sell on my site or at events. I have a publisher, Diesel Fuel Prints, who take care of all the printing and shipping for me. They are fantastic to work with and are very good friends as well.

Do you listen to music while you work? Do you hum along, tap your toe? When you are concentrating to you stick your tongue out?

I definitely listen to music when I work, and I have been known to tap a toe or two. Sometimes I whistle while I work. I've noticed that I hold my breath when I paint delicate parts. I'd probably be good at snorkeling.

There is a recurring motif of cute Goth girls in your work. Was this a deliberate attempt to get work for Vertigo Comics, or is it, as it seems, just a perfect marriage between artist and client?


They're more like cute strange women from another world. I was never goth, so I just don't think of them that way. I never set out specifically to work for Vertigo, I mean I loved comics, especially Vertigo, but it wasn't a conscious intention of mine. So one day when I got an email from one of the editors it was kind of like a jump around the house giggling with joy type of moment. I've painted a lot of witches for them, so apparently I fit good for that! But yes, it perfectly makes sense, and I absolutely love working with them. My editor, Shelly Bond is simply great to work with, and now since I have begun painting the sequential interior art she has pushed my art to a new level. I think it was destiny.

Tell us about some of your favorite work and if you could do anything what would be your favorite project?

My favorite works are always my newest ones. But I have soft spots for many, many of my pieces. They are like little children. How do you pick favorites? I shape them, give birth to them and then set them free into the world. As far as dream project... Hmmmmm... I'd like to have a show at The Gagosian or The Whitney someday. That's the 10 year plan I'm trying to focus on. In the end I just want to paint.

Sometimes I can struggle being an illustrator with my passion for collecting miniature porcelain dolls. Ebay is both a blessing and a curse. How do you divide your time between your many projects? Do you "Struggle to Juggle?"

I just try to correctly estimate how long it will take me to finish a project. And I work long hours. And I work on multiple things at once. But the secret we all know is... all work and no play... So I find time to unwind. I have to play bass, just like I have to paint. I have always played in bands and the one I'm in now I'm really happy with. We actually have a show tomorrow night and I was just taking break from working to practice before doing this interview. I close the curtains in my studio so no one on the street can see me jumping around in here! Bottom line - You make time for what is important to you. And there are things that you can do that will inspire you so when you do go back to the project you were working on, you come at it with artistic fury. But the main thing for me is that they are all fun projects to work on a the more skilled you get at time management the more you accomplish, and the more trust you have with clients... And yourself.

You are sailing down a stream when you come across a seriously injured dolphin. You approach this beautiful and intelligent creature to see if it's still breathing and if there is any way to help. As you lean towards its face, it whispers through the pain, "To save me you must never daw pictures again!" What would you choose as an alternative?

Sorry, but that dolphin is goin' down! I could never not draw! But hypothetically speaking... If I had to choose an alternative, I'd tour the world in a metal band. Yeah! Maybe I'll do that anyways....

What is your favorite a. item of clothing, b. Ice cream topping, c. ethic musical instrument, d. dance move, e. method for staying awake all night?

a. My Slayer shirt
b. Smashed oreo cookies
c. sitar
d. The cabbage patch
e. Yummy coffee!