Happy Feature Friday!
This week we bring you artist Tara Steinmetz. We love her style and how she has woven together both her yogi lifestyle and artistic talents to create her pieces. She also does artwork on Starbucks cups! We’ve always followed Starbuck’s various “cup contests” since people can do some pretty amazing things with a simple coffee cup, and Tara is definitely one of them. Tara also has a great perspective on how to grow as an artist, simply put it’s to keep at it. The more you create the better you’ll become. To see Tara’s work and learn more about her, read on!
: Tell us about yourself and how Tara Dawn Art got started.
:The past five years have been kind of a whirlwind for myself and our family. Art seemed to be a way for me to relieve stress and bring myself back to neutral. Not to sound cheesy, but it was a great coping mechanism and helped me get through a lot of tough moments. About three years ago I realized that my artwork was something I wanted to take more seriously and improve. Beside as an elective in high school, I have had no art training or schooling. “Tara Dawn Art” really got started through Instagram. I started posting some of my daily sketches/paintings/doodles. I slowly started receiving requests to design things for people as gifts, greeting cards, and tattoo designs. It’s been slowly building more and more over the past few years. I am truly grateful and humbled with every kind comment, follower, request and inquiry I receive. Where I’m from: I was born in Portland,OR where I lived most of my childhood. I moved around a couple times, once with my family to Medford,OR where I graduated high school. There was a small blip in Chicago,IL but I soon found myself back in the Portland/Vancouver area. My boyfriend Trevor and I currently reside in Spokane,WA. As long as I’m with him and in the Pacific Northwest, I’m happy.
:I really started figuring out my art way and what I enjoyed doing the most when I started creating Mandalas. Making a Mandala to me, gives me a sense of calm and peace. That was around the same time I started practicing yoga on a regular basis. That whole lifestyle really changed me as a person as well as my artwork. As far as my technique, I love to draw. But I love to paint as well. The technique I use now allows me to have the best of both worlds. I see it as: Ink for serious/detailed side and paint for my fun/colorful side. This aesthetic allows me to enjoy what I’m doing to the fullest. I have grown so much over these last few years. Sometimes I’ll go through old sketches and doodles or look all the way back at the beginning of my art page on Instagram and compare where I was then to some of my work now. It’s encouraging in a way. I can’t wait to see where I’ll be in another three years!
: The most challenging part about commission work and selling is having a full time job at the same time. Unfortunately, my art world can only be part-time at the moment. I have to limit myself so many commission/custom requests and projects per month. Art work and the creative process take time and energy. Sometimes I feel like there is just not enough time in the day for what’s going on in my head. But I can’t complain…I have two jobs that help pay the bills, keep me creating, and doing what I love.
:If it’s a mixed media piece on paper, it’s watercolor and ink. For me, the best of both worlds. I can put down the detail with ink first, and then add color with splatters and a sense of abstract. That’s my favorite part. If it’s a mixed media piece on canvas, acrylic paint and paint pen. Kind of the opposite but same concept. I’ll water down the acrylic and canvas and let the flow of the water and paint combine and do its thing as I guide it with my brush. After it dries, (which is the worst part of everything-waiting for paint to dry) I start creating the image and detail with a paint pen. That technique, for the look I go for has more substance on the canvas. Plus, a micron ink pen on canvas will come to a quick death…Which I have found out the hard way.
How do you come up with the concepts and color palettes for each piece?
: It really comes down to what the piece is for. Is it one of my “sketch of the days? A custom request? If it’s a custom request the client will usually have an idea as to what they want and I’ll put my own twist on it. If it’s for a daily sketch “sketch of the day” I’ll just go with what I’m feeling or any inspiration I had that day. (where I hiked, what I saw, who I talked to, what I ate/drank) I get inspiration with every interaction of my day. The other day I decided to ask Trevor, my boyfriend what to draw, and the first thing that came to his head and out of his mouth was “Hamster”…It’s now framed sitting on his night stand… I try to make one 6×8 piece each day. The original piece (no prints) will be available for sale that day and is usually $27-$30 including shipping.
: There have been a couple unique and fun commission pieces that first come to mind. I recently did an acrylic on canvas “Pet Portrait” that I was able to add my abstract stamp to. Pet portraits completely take me out of my comfort zone but make it that much more rewarding. I’m not going to lie, they do make my eye twitch in the moment though. It can be stressful, you don’t want their pets’ face to end up looking like “Ludo” from the Labyrinth… Another fun and unique piece I am so grateful for being able to do is an album cover for a friend and very talented singer/songwriter/producer out of Portland,OR “Berahmand”. He gave me a couple ideas of what he wanted and then gave me free reign. It is now the cover of his first album. Great guy with a great sound. There are also t-shirts with the image!
: I love drawing on Starbucks cups, I need to start doing that more! I was actually one of the winners for the “Red Cup Contest” on Instagram. I did an abstract cityscape of Seattle,WA. Unfortunately, all of the Starbucks cups I’ve done are not for sale. They reside on a couple top shelves in my studio at home. I have been approached about purchasing custom designed reusable cups. So that might be in the near future.
: I have a lot of ideas for my art in the near future. It’s just a matter of timing and what to do first. I’m currently working on setting up a website where I’ll sell art work, accept inquires, and blog about my pieces and inspirations. The first project I hope to accomplish after the website goes live, is an adult coloring book. Which I’m super excited and passionate about. It’s going to mean much more than just a coloring book.
: First off, draw. Draw every day if you can. (yes, doodling counts as drawing) Your drawing technique and passion are like muscles. The more you use it, the bigger and better you’ll get. If you want to sell your work, be organized. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start off slow. Try to sell a few pieces here and there and gradually more. Be sure Art is a passion of yours. “Passion” seems like such a cliche’ word, but that’s really what’s behind it all. I love to draw, love to paint, and love to create. I’m just doing what makes my soul smile. And if you happen to make a few bucks along the way because people enjoy your passion, then there’s nothin’ wrong with that.