Hi Tara, thank you so much for letting me to feature you on here this week. I am still mesmerized by your works and today, I do have some questions to ask you. So, why were you attracted to the illustration industry? If you weren't an illustrator, what kind of job do you think you would have?
I consider myself more of a painter right now, but I am definitely going to do more illustration in the future. I never really let go of the attraction I had to picture books. When I was a child, I definitely judged a book by its cover. If I didn't like the imagery, colours, layout, I wouldn't read it because I found I couldn't get lost in it the way I could with those I was drawn to. Or maybe I was just a little snob!
If I wasn't an artist, I probably would have done something nature or animal related. Dian Fossey was my idol growing up. I wanted to move to Africa to study gorillas and continue her legacy. I also dreamed of being an actress. I had no desire for the fame part that comes with it. I just wanted to step into and transform into different people/space aliens the way I did with my friends on the playground.. Primatologist/actor. That was the plan.
That's interesting! I would definitely want you to become an actress so I could see you in alien outfit. I think that would be interesting. Let's get back to your illustrations right now. How will you describe your illustration style? What is the specific element you have that sets you apart from other illustrators?
Oh man, that's always the hardest thing for me. I have trouble placing my work (and the work of others) in a specific category, because I don't think it's always that cut and dried. I've had my work described by others as pop-surrealist, lowbrow, illustrative, and "Wow Tara, that's weird."
The scale of my pieces are often quite small and intensely detailed. People are always surprised when they see it in person because I think it is a much more intimate experience than when you view it on a computer screen. The themes I explore -such as our connection to nature, the imagination, and adventures of children- are not unique subjects, but mine come from my own personal experiences, feelings and memories.
"Wow Tara, that's weird" is probably my favourite description of your style and I think I will use this phrase from now on! I really enjoy exploring your imaginary illustration world. In your own words, how will you describe this world? Do you think modern technology would exist in this imaginary world?
This world is for the most part vast and open, but not barren. It's a stark contrast and escape from the city-dwelling world that I live in, closely surrounded by concrete, pollution, towering rectangular structures, and geometric shapes. It's somewhere that I/you can escape from this world and breath a deep long breath. I don't like to give too much away, as I employ my viewers to reach into this place and find their own stories within it. It is a public world that I invite people into to build their own narratives within. If your vision of this space happens to have modern technology associated with it, then I think that is appropriate because it means you're using your imagination to find something meaningful within the work.
I would say technology does not involve in your imagination world because everything subject and object you illustrate are more or less from the nature. Whenever I look at your works, I feel like I am sucked into a twisted fairytale world. Well, out of all the works you have done so far, which piece can fully represent your illustration world? Why?
I suppose they all do in their own different ways. Each piece is like a little puzzle piece that comes together to slowly tell you a story about a place. I'm doing a lot of paintings right now with themes of children on journeys (for example, The Mission is What Matters). I think these pieces strike a deeper chord with me because of my vivid recollections of the fantasy roleplay I used to indulge in as a little one. I have a terrible memory, which is really unfortunate. Not only because I keep setting different passwords for everything and then can't remember what they are(why do I keep doing this? Why don't I just have one??!), but because I wish I could remember more of my life. But memories of playing -not necessarily who I was with, but of who I'd become, and how deep into that world I could get- these memories keep coming back to me, more and more as I dig deeper into the world of my art.
I have to agree each piece actually represents part of your evolution and honestly, if I were you, I would not be able to pick my favourite piece either. Speaking of your works, what was the strangest comment you have ever received from people?
Someone gave me the strangest (albeit positive...I think)critique at a recent show that was so bizarre and abstract that I can't even quote it. But I love that sort of thing. There was also a small child who wanted to talk about my work one time. His face got all serious and he kept zipping back and forth from piece to piece talking about the connections between everything in nature. He was like "Yeah, I totally get it". It was awesome.
Hey, I think I will have to meet that small child since I want to know his insights on your works! Last but not least, if you could create the ultimate creature, what kind of animal's features would it have?
I think it would just sort of look like planet Earth. Also, it would have mushrooms growing out of it's butt.
------------------------------------Now it's time to ask Tara some trivia questions!
Mountains or Sea?
Is this about which I prefer? I guess mountains. I am terrified of the sea. Who knows what's down there.
Owl or Dolphin?
Green or Blue?
Both. They're my 2 favourite colours!
Pancake or French Toast?
I'm supposed to stay away from wheat.....But I don't! Pancakes!
Wood or Canvas ?
Toronto or Vancouver?
I haven't been to Vancouver yet, but I hear it's lovely.
Chocolate or Candy?
You know, I don't really like either! I guess if I had a favourite though, it would be those green sour apple rings.
Orange Juice or Lemonade?
Moleskine or iPad?
I prefer my dog-earred sketchbook and the occasional napkin.
Pencil or Pen?
Thank so much to Tara for taking her time to answer my questions today. I am hoping I will be able to see more of her new works soon! All images are courtesy of Tara Krebs and you can visit her website to see more works from her.