We’ve been having some very talented artists contact us recently at Art Marketing Secrets. One of them is this weeks featured artist, Tanya Mikaela.
I can best describe my feelings about Tanya’s work by my experience today. It was – in all honesty – one of those days that we all have periodically! I had a mountain of marketing work to do and it was just too much to even think about. On top of that I knew that I also had to prepare this article – a task that I normally love to do – but today it was like the straw that broke the camel’s back!
After many hours of doing everything else I finally sat down and started work on the article. I was in the midst of resizing some of Tanya’s images in Photoshop when I found myself looking into the deeply smiling eyes of Mother Teresa in Tanya’s collage, “With Great Love”. It was one of those moments when you truly connect with a great piece of art. She was smiling at me, and I was smiling back. The stress of the day melted in a moment and I found myself swept up in a symphony of rich experience.
That is the power and awareness that art can bring in any age and that is also why we chose Tanya Mikaela as this week’s featured artist.
I am sure that you will have a range of different experiences with her work, but for me her gift is the ability to portray the beauty and strength of the feminine principle.Â There is also a deeply meditative quality in her work, and a strong undercurrent of compassion.
Last week we specifically asked you to look at Zeph Farmby’s answer to the question, “What would your perfect artist’s life look like?” because it was such a great answer. Well – its possible that Tanya has outdone him! I would be very happy to enjoy her version of the perfect artist’s life as she describes it below in Question 4. Please enjoy Tanya’s work and share your thoughts in the comments.
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Note: Use the slide-show controls to pause or go to a specific image. Mouse over the images to see details about the artwork.
Tanya Mikaela grew up in an environment where her artistic talent was both appreciated and encouraged.Â Surrounded by artists, inventors and creative thinkers in a thriving artists community in Connecticut, she was exposed to a wide variety of artistic mediums throughout her childhood.Â Of this she took full advantage, exploring not only the visual arts, but immersing herself in dance and theater as well.
Tanya attended Syracuse University, and went on to receive her BFA from Parsons School of Design in New York.Â It was at Parsons, in an attempt to free her artistic voice that a visionary professor encouraged her to experiment with collage, which soon became her medium of choice. By tearing paper and applying it to canvas as a painter would apply strokes of paint she found a freedom of expression that has continued to evolve over the years.
While living the artistâ€™s life in the East Village (showing in galleries, communing with fellow artists, eating pasta with cheap wine in a rent-controlled apartment) she married actor Al Rodrigo beneath a star show in a planetarium on the Hudson River.Â With their wedding â€œnest-eggâ€ in tow they traveled throughout Italy and Greece, gathering wonderful and creative ideas along the way.Â The couple eventually returned to New York and sold their possessions to buy a car, which they drove cross-country in search of sunlight and adventure.
Now living the artistâ€™s life in L.A., Tanya continued to create and show her collages, while her latent passion for interior design quickly became a thriving career.Â Over the years, Tanya has designed homes, furnishings, and unique living spaces for many of Hollywoodâ€™s notables.Â She recently completed her most personal project to date â€“ designing and building a dream home for her family, which now includes two fantastically creative daughters, Maya and Daniela and their dog Bodhi.
It is here in her Treetop Artist Studio that Tanya has finally returned her creative focus to her collages, and she is thrilled beyond measure! Environmentally conscious, each and every collage is comprised of â€œfound materialsâ€, old magazines newspapers and more, which she then crafts into highly textural and passionate works of art. As an artist, Tanya Mikaela is pleased to be a continuing and dedicated part of the Green Movement on this planet.
The Art Marketing Secrets Signature 6 Questions
1. What led you to become an artist?
Everything in my world led me to become an artist! I had the amazing good fortune to be born into a family of artists and art appreciators. They taught me that I was capable of anything I put my mind and heart into. My father was a brilliant, creative man whose mottoâ€™s were â€œwhy buy it when you can make it yourselfâ€ and â€œthere is no such thing as â€œ I canâ€™tâ€ â€. Though often frustrating, this empowered me to use my imagination, to try new things and think outside the box. I was also fortunate enough to be born at a time when art in schools was still revered, and had teachers who were inspirational and allowed me to explore! I have always been happiest when involved in a creative project of some kind, and my greatest pleasure comes from creating beauty all around meâ€¦on a canvas as well as in my surroundings!
2. What happens for you and what do you feel when you are in the creative process?
The creative process for me looks and feels like many things: exhilaration, frustration, avoidance, inspiration, procrastination (fear of the blank canvas), meditation, dancing, reading, day-dreaming, walking in nature, snuggling my dog, letting the sun warm my eyelidsâ€¦Â All of this and more must happen for me in order to fill my soul and let it flow back out again onto my canvas. It is not direct, nor is it linear and I know much of it doesnâ€™t look at all like making art but all of it is necessary! Then, in my sacred space filled with sun and music and good energy I can surrender and create, and it feels like I am home. I know enough now to prepare and plan and then let my art be what it wants to be. The collage technique I create with is very forgiving and allows me the freedom to tear and to continuously layer the paper until the image fully reveals itself. My collages are always most successful when I can just â€œget out of my own wayâ€ and let them evolve as they will. It is a very organic process for me, making art. It is the most grounding and soul-satisfying thing I can do!
3. What is your favorite piece of your own art and why?
There are two pieces; â€œFreed Spiritâ€ and â€œWith Great Loveâ€. The first has become my signature piece and is used in my logo. It is a self-portrait that really captures how I feel when I create. The second collage I did earlier this year after reading a book about Mother Teresa. I was working on a series of great leaders who have created change in our world. This piece just makes me happy!Â I love her crinkly face, her smile and the joy and wisdom in her eyes. Note: “Freed Spirit” is the image at the top of this article and “With Great Love” is in the slide show.
4. What would your perfect artist-life look like?
Ahâ€¦I am working on manifesting that!! Well, in my perfect vision I have the freedom to spend my days making my art and feeling blissful (of course this means that I have a fabulous art rep to do all the marketing and negotiating so I am free to do what I do best). My financial needs are easily met from simply making my art and I have plenty of time to enjoy my family, to travel, to spend quality time with my amazing and artistic friends and to inspire each other creatively. In my vision I summer in Tuscany or Provence with family and friends, making art and enjoying sumptuous food and wine, and I also travel to my New York loft where I continue to create, soak up culture, eat delicious food and enjoy friends. As for my main residence, I am fortunate enough to say that I do love my home in L.A. (I spent many years visualizing this into my reality) where I have a fantastic studio to create in, so that part is already perfect!Â Also, in my vision I am giving back to the art community, funding arts programs in the schools and inspiring young artists to find their voice and make their dreams a reality.
5. How are you marketing your art?
I am experimenting with a variety of ways to market my art: my website: www.tanyamikaela.com , mailers to galleries, juried contests and exhibitions, online gallery sites for artists and artist directories, local gallery shows, artist groups and press releases. I just took a seminar on licensing art for the giftware market, so I am now exploring that as well. I also need to give enormous thanks to Daniel, whose â€œArt Marketing Secretsâ€ blog is my go-to source for new marketing ideas!
6. What else are you busting to tell the world?
I really believe that everything happens for a reason! We canâ€™t see the big picture so we just have to go out on faith and say â€œYesâ€ to all the opportunities that come our way, no matter how crazy or daunting they seem. I can honestly say the best things that life has handed me have never looked like what I expected them to, but have always been better than I could have imagined!! This year has been about saying â€œyesâ€ for me. I closed my interior design business after 13 years to follow my passion and devote as much time as I am able to making my art (this was incredibly scary, and I am beyond grateful for the support and encouragement of my family through it all). Because I just said â€œyesâ€ to it all, I have received 12 top art awards, my collage of Obama was included in the Manifest Hope show in DC for the inauguration and is now part of a fantastic book by Shepard Fairy â€œArt for Obamaâ€, I am working on ideas for a series of childrenâ€™s books with a writer friend who wants to collaborate, and I am planning a solo show of my collages at a huge spiritual center in LA this spring to coincide with earth day. The best part is that I am more grounded and centered than I have been in yearsâ€¦life is good!
Please share your thoughts on Tanya and her work in the comments below. And take a look at her beautiful website for some inspiration!