Tamara Grand is an abstract artist based in Port Moody, BC. She creates art that’s “vibrant, joy-filled, and magical”. Check out our interview below to learn more about Tamara and see pieces from her latest collection.
Tamara Grand Port Moody Artist
How would you describe your artistic style?
Contemporary abstract expressionism with a focus on vibrant, saturated colours and layered, organic shapes.
What’s the main inspiration for your art?
When I first began painting, I took my inspiration from the landscape; the beautiful mountaintop views and coastal vistas of my home province, British Columbia. As I ventured further into abstraction and started to understand my real reasons for making art, I realized that what inspired me most was what happened once I started laying down colours and shapes on the canvas. The feelings of excitement and discovery began to drive my studio practice as I’m constantly on the look-out for unpredictable and magical moments in my work.
What is the biggest goal you try to achieve with your art?
For me, painting is a form of play and exploration. It’s a way to tap into my creative spirit and let my imagination run wild. When I’m painting, I’m fully present in the moment, focusing on the brush strokes and the colours on the canvas. It’s a meditative experience, a chance to tune out the noise of the world and connect with my innermost self. When I’m fully in the moment with my work, I’ve achieved my goal.
Why abstract art and not other styles?
I’ve only been painting seriously for about four years. Initially, I was drawn to abstract landscapes. But as I’ve become more confident with my materials, the work has become more abstract. I enjoy exploring the medium and pushing boundaries with my choice of colours and organic shapes.
What’s your favourite thing about being an abstract artist?
My work is only limited by my imagination and my willingness to experiment, play and explore!
What’s one thing people might not know about you and/or your art journey so far?
Unlike many of my artist friends who’ve been painting or drawing since childhood, my educational background is in the sciences. I have multiple post-secondary degrees in Biology, Zoology and Evolutionary Ecology and worked as a research scientist for the first half of my career. I discovered painting in my late 40’s, after the death of my 13-year old daughter, Clara. Making art was a positive, soothing and healing use of my time. And it gave me something new to move towards.
Did you always know you’d be an artist or how has your art journey progressed?
I did not. And I only really began to think of myself as an artist once I’d taken several online workshops and started to interact with the online art community. Reaching out to other artists, sharing techniques and experiences and talking about my art with them has really allowed me to embrace the title ‘artist’ and given me the confidence to apply to shows and sell my work online.
In your opinion, what’s the most important personal characteristic needed to embark on a career as an artist?
Being an artist and having an art career are two different things. The first simply requires that you love the act of creating, while the second necessitates the wearing of many other hats. I’ve found being an organized, big-picture thinker to be helpful characteristics. As well as the ability to not be overly concerned with what others think about my art or how I’m sharing it. Easier said than done!
What advice would you give up and coming abstract artists?
Be careful about spending too much time looking at other artists’ work. While it’s good to understand a bit of art history and know enough about colour, shape and form to assess your own paintings, too much time scrolling Instagram can make it hard to develop your own, unique artistic voice. I’ve certainly been guilty of ‘compare and despair’ and try to find the right balance between knowing what’s going on in the art community and keeping my work from being unduly influenced by others.
Do you have any favourite podcasts or books that you love and that have contributed to your journey as an artist?
I listen to many art and creativity podcasts (mainly at the gym, rarely in the studio). I’m particularly fond of Art Juice (Alice Sheridan and Louise Fletcher), Art to Life (Nicholas Wilton), Magic Lessons (Elizabeth Gilbert) and The Honest Art Podcast (Jodie King). I co-host a weekly Instagram Live with fellow Canadian artist Barbara Reade that I’m partial to as well (Tuesdays at 11 am Pacific time 😉 ).
What’s your most fulfilling and enjoyable experience as an artist so far?
That’s an easy one. The week I spend in New York City last fall with four online artist friends attending a two-day art workshop with Robert Szot, going to the Museum of Modern Art, attending art galleries and a Broadway show and basically talking all things art 24/7. It was like summer camp for artists!
Where do you see yourself and your art in 5 years?
Although I have a reasonable size home studio, like most artists, I seem to be running out of space to create and to store my creations. I see myself in a huge, naturally lit, wide open space, making colour-filled, wall-size paintings that make me, and others smile.
What do you love most about abstract art?
Do you have any favourite quotes?