Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Close Up Interview with Artist and Writer Tamara Moan

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I'm a painter and printmaker; I support myself also through teaching art (children and adults) and working as a massage therapist and freelance writer. I live and work in Kailua, Hawaii (Oahu island).

Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?
Oahu/Honolulu has a vibrant arts community. It's not necessarily a great market for sales, but the family of artists is tight-knit and very supportive. I've found a group of friends who are all making it work in one way or another and their dedication is inspiring for me.

Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36

Where do you get your inspiration from when you design and paint and write?
Much of my inspiration comes from the landscape and culture of Hawaii. The natural world has always been a deep source for me. Hawaii is surrounded by ocean and made up of spectacular volcanic mountains, very dramatic and deep resources. Hawaiian culture is full of myths and stories and the language is multi-layered and metaphorical.

 Kiama, Wollongong NSW Australia

What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?
Quiet, creative, smart, diligent, generous.

How did you know when youve found your passion for Art & Writing?
I came to that knowing over a long period. I always loved drawing and writing from small kid time and those pursuits have always been present, if only in the background. In the late '90s I began to actively change my work situation so I could devote more time to art and writing. Since 2011 it has really been a strong focus.

Acrylic on board, 36 x 36

Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
My first jobs after schooling were in the graphic design field (my BFA is in Graphic Design). After five years of that, I took a break to pursue a master's in Creative Writing. I've worked in libraries, bookstores, and publishing but in 2011 when I completed my license in massage therapy, I began fitting lots of part-time jobs together so I could pursue a bit of everything. I'm much happier with this job buffet and the variety it offers.

Describe your day in your studio space?
I tend to work best in the morning. I usually work on several pieces in rotation, starting in on the most difficult and challenging and then switching to something less demanding when I get to a stopping point with the first piece.

As an Artist, what is your biggest frustration?
Making time for the work. It's so easy to get sidetracked by the details of everyday life. If I don't start with the art, it's easy for the whole day to go by without getting back to it.

Tell us about how you prioritise your work.
If something is a commission or paid work, that gets the top spot. After that, if I have a show coming up and need to submit new pieces, that work gets attention. If nothing has a pressing deadline, I work on the most challenging piece and try to bring it to resolution. I often fill in with collage work that lets my mind do its own work while my eyes and fingers are busy creating compositions.

 Watercolor and ink on paper, 22 x 30

Tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)? 
I'm an active member of two local arts groups, Honolulu Printmakers and the Hawaii Watercolor Society. I also attend and model for figure drawing groups and know a lot of artists through that. My customers are often friends or family, also a couple designers who find work for their clients.

What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?
For me one of the best motivators is the pool of other artists in my community. They're a great resource for sharing ideas, discussing work, and just getting emotional support for following a creative path. I tend to be a quiet introvert but these friends are really invaluable.

  Handbound book with drawing, 5x5 (folded) 

Tell us about your world trip that you are doing at the moment with your husband Steve?
My husband and I are currently following a joint dream to travel around the world on our bicycles. Our trip start is in Australia. We've barely begun but are enjoying everything new that we're encountering. I'm looking on this year as a great gathering mission for the art I'll be doing for years to come. Along the way I'm also producing small-scale mail art for a handful of customers back home.

Steve on the way to Wollongong NSW Australia

What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?
I would love some day to publish a volume of my poetry.

What is your proudest moment so far?
A year or two ago in a single evening I was awarded Best in Show for a watercolor painting and First Place in Poetry in a local writing competition. It was a big night.

Who do you most want to meet and why?
I always love meeting other artists, to find out how they work, what excites them, what they're trying to say through their work.

Isabella's Dream       
Watercolor, ink, colored pencil on paper, 12x12 

What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?
Take advantage of the present moment. Pursue your dreams now because we only get one chance at this life.

What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?
I'm reading Bob Dylan's Chronicles I which gives an interesting peek into his creative process and what his passions were when he was first starting out and trying to make a name for himself. Recently I read a terrific novel by Israeli author David Grossman, To the End of the Land.

Watercolor and pastel on paper, 4x8 ft

Where do we find you and your products?
You can see my work on my website: www.tamaramoan.com. I believe some of my work is still on the Cedar Street website (www.cedarstreetgalleries.com), a gallery based in Honolulu, and the website for Fine Art Associates.

Woodcut, 7.5 x 7.5

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