11 questions with artist Tallulah Terryll

I am happy to announce the next artist  interview. The 11 Question Interview Series will allow the Featured Artists’ at pivot art gallery to share their thoughts on art, work, and life in a way that can extend our understanding of the work and background of these remarkable artists.

Learn more about artist Tallulah Terryll and visit pivotartgallery to see her featured portfolio.

1. Could you please give a brief bio about how you became interested int he arts?

blue panel

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in the arts. My family really encouraged me from a young age to be creative. I remember my parents put a greater value on creativity than doing things the right way. For example my cousin would spell words wrong all the time but there was this method to the way she was doing it. She was really figuring it out on her own. And my parents seemed to think that was better than just doing it the normal way.

2. Do you have artistic/creative role models? If so, who are they and how do you relate to them?

The most influential role model for me is probably Kathleen Rabel. She was one of my print professors at Cornish. She really instilled a love of paper in me, and a love of the print making process. I’ve always had a strong work ethic, but Kathleen was the first artist I’d met who had that same type of work ethic about making art. I still keep in touch with her. When ever I go up to Seattle I visit her and her husband, Stephen Hazel, at Studio Blu, their print studio. There is tea and cookies, we talk about how our art is going and the state of art in general. They are both so articulate and their ideas have influenced me alot and probably in ways I’m not even aware of yet.

3  What is most satisfying to you about the creative process in general?

I love getting to that space when I’m making art and time stands still. Sometimes I’m being super productive, sometimes its very slow going, but either way I have no idea how time is passing. I’m just completely absorbed by the act of art making. I often say it’s like swimming. It’s usually when I’m making my best work.

That said, the end product is really the most satisfying thing though. Having an object that dazzles and confounds me. The ability to make something that is beyond my everyday understanding of the world.

4. What has been the biggest challenge in your artistic career?

I tend toward modesty, so it took me a long time to just tell people that I was an artist. I’d be very shy about it. I might mention that I made art, but I wouldn’t claim to be an artist. When I finally started to really own it and use that label I was able to take myself more seriously and I think that’s  really helped.


5. What do you learn through your work?

The importance of taking risks. It’s easy to make a drawing or a painting that looks pretty. But to push it past that. For it to be ugly for a while. It needs that before it can really be interesting or beautiful. And embracing the unexpected. What I may have thought was the most interesting passage often has to be destroyed for the overall composition. Something that strikes me as ugly or a mistake is often the most attention grabbing.

6. What are your goals as an artist?

That’s alot like asking what my goals in life are. I’d like to keep up a vital practice. I’m curious to see how my work will change and evolve over the years, what will influence me.

Of course I’m also interested in showing my work more and to show in more places. I’m making it for people to see, experience and interact with after all.

7. You work primarily with mixed medias like ink and paper. What is it about these mediums specifically that you are drawn to?

Even though most of my work is technically painting I’m trained as a printmaker. And printmaking experiences have really formed the way I think about making things. With paper and ink and stencils I feel like I’m able to be in both worlds (painting and print) at once.

8 Your work is visually very rhythmic, are you influenced by music?

Yes and no. I don’t listen to much music when I’m working, and I don’t have the same analytical skills with music as I do with the visual world.

But I’ve always been a bit jealous of music as an art form. Music has never had the restraint of being representative. It has so much to do with patterns, repetition, math, themes… It seems to be more of the mind

9. How do you feel about contemporary art in the east bay area?

I feel lucky to be in such a rich nurturing environment. There is so much here and not just the murmur, or young people, but there is a really rich history and so many artists of all ages and artistic persuasions.

10. What is the most important thing you want viewers to come away from your work with?

A little break from thinking with language


11. What can you add that would help us understand you and/or your work better?

I thinks it’s more light hearted than some people would like to think.


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