Tara Lee Bennett
i. I work as an artist.
ii. I do this creative work because:
There is absolutely nothing else I would, could or should rather do.
iii. A ‘typical’ day for me in the pandemic involves:
My days start late and begin with tea for me and coffee for my girlfriend (who is also an artist) in bed with usually both the dog and the cat. We head into the studio generally when most people are wrapping up their work days. The world is quieter making it easier to think and also be socially distant. Then it’s time to spend hours and hours with my paper- drawing, cutting, shaping as much as I can.
Thankfully my girlfriend makes sure I eat and our little dog Frida reminds us that breaks are important so I’ll stop from time to time thanks to them. In the early hours of the morning it is time to tear ourselves away from our work and then we’ll head home for chats in our pink chairs, maybe I’ll have a bath or we will watch a show. Then it is bedtime.
The Garden. 2020
iv. Personal qualities that help me in my work are:
If I’m interested in something I am hyper focused, obsessive and driven.
I seem to find infinite patience when it comes to small pieces of paper.
I like to follow my own path.
v. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
My work is meticulous, elaborate and requires a level of detail that is extremely time consuming.
There is value in things that take time, in quality, in passion and beauty but I find it a challenge to ignore outside pressures of “now, now, now, more, more, more…” It is an exhausting way to work and live so I choose instead to follow my own path and believe in my work and where it is taking me.
vi. Creative childhood hobbies:
Drawing was big for me, I drew ladies with glamorous hairstyles and dresses when I was very little and later really got into drawing house plans. A lot of house plans for imagined lives.
vii. Show, podcasts, books that I’m into right now:
Podcasts keep me company while I work. I love when someone tells me a story, makes me laugh and gets me thinking. A recent find that checks off everything in that list has been “You’re Wrong About” – they cover everything from the Exon Valdez oil spill to Jessica Simpson.
I also couldn’t be happier about the new season of RuPauls Drag Race. So much talent! So much glitter! So much heart!
viii. Training that has helped me in this career:
I learn best by doing. The best learning experiences I’ve had have been when I’ve been given a challenge and a deadline.
ix. A common trap that can hurt people in this career:
The worst thing that can happen for artists is when they stop making art. This happens for countless reasons and where I found myself for a few years, I was only creating a little bit here and a little bit there.
Ars longa, vita brevis (translation: art is long, life is short) This expression came to be at the forefront of my mind in 2020. One truth I have seen is that if you are called to be an artist, you must follow that call. To live a creative life takes a lot of courage but to ignore that call is ultimately harder and much more damaging and so mid last year I went full time with my art work.
Work in Progress
x. Some proud career moments:
I think every time I put art first is when I feel most proud. It’s all those seemingly small things like staying up late to follow an idea, investing in tools or materials, going for studio visits, saying yes to the most random things, that lead to a full and interesting artistic life.
xi. Upcoming shows or events include:
I am part of a group show at Gallery Jones starting late January.
xii. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you:
At least learn how to draw proficiently. It’s an important skill for a solid foundation as an artist.
Beyond that I think everyone has such different paths and there really is no one formula that works. It’s a field where you’re on your own. How scary, how marvellous!
xiii. A professional goal I have for the future:
I love that my work keeps getting more intricate, complicated and bigger. More of that please.
Header: Detail from ‘The Garden’. 2020