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Meet Tara Blackwell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tara Blackwell.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I was raised in a household, as well as an extended family, filled with artists. When I was a kid, I didn’t think that being an artist was anything unique. It was just a regular part of my life. I remember one day when my mother picked me up from school, my teacher asked if she could speak to her. She showed her a picture I had drawn and waited for my mother’s reaction. When my mother didn’t respond in the surprised or impressed manner she was expecting, the teacher explained — “I think your daughter has a gift for art.” I remember my mother laughed and said something like, “yes, there are a lot of artists in our family.” Observing this exchange was when I first realized that making art was something that other people found to be special or fascinating.

I spent a lot of time in the high school art studio and my art teacher began to encourage me to think about an art career. She suggested, if I wanted to make a stable living as an artist, to consider going into advertising and I enrolled in Emerson College in Boston as an Advertising major. My creativity was really nurtured at Emerson. I felt like I had found “my people” where as in high school I often felt like I didn’t quite fit in. I was beginning to discover my own voice as an artist. However, after graduation, for a variety of reasons, I stopped painting.

Years went by, and it wasn’t until I reconnected with an old friend, NY-based artist, Guy Philoche. He had blunt but necessary conversation with me and after so much time away, I started to paint again. I had my first solo show in 2017 and am currently working on new work out of my studio in Connecticut.

Please tell us about your art.
Having studied advertising, I am fascinated with logos. I love the imagery, symbolism, and seeing the progression of a logo over time. I specifically like to explore retro logos of popular products which tend to evoke a strong sense of nostalgia for viewers. Most of the commercial images I choose are from my own childhood memories. Some of my paintings are light and fun, other times I might utilize a vintage pop reference as satirical social commentary for current events. Consistently, my paintings are colorful and sort of child-like. I work mostly in acrylic but also experiment with mixed media to create layers and texture.

Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
Do whatever you need to do to make it happen. If you need to have something else to pay the bills so that you could be creative, do it, but don’t let it take over to the point that you lose your purpose. Never let yourself get too comfortable. You will have to take risks and make difficult sacrifices. Stay hungry and focused. No matter how much you might want to make the quick sale, do not undervalue yourself and your work. Not everyone will love your work, but someone will. You need that one person, who the work speaks to, to find your piece a new home. Keep at it. Don’t stop creating.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Another blessing in my journey has been the opportunity to collaborate with amazing women artists: Dorota Matys, Maddie Mauk, Agi Zweriz and Ellyn Stewart. We collaborate and exhibit together regularly.

You could view my work on my website www.bwellstudios.com. It is always a joy to be able to share my work in person. To see what I have coming up, follow me on Instagram @taramariebwell. I am looking forward to exhibiting in Boston, my old stomping grounds, in the near future… Stay tuned!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photo Cred for first picture; Wioletta Lesniewski.

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