Member Spotlight: Myrna Tatar
May 27, 2020
This month’s first member spotlight is Myrna Tatar, a San Francisco-based artist working in a multitude of mediums, primarily oriented by assemblage. Her work is spontaneous and optimistic, with layers of personal narrative and meaning woven throughout.
I’ve been an artist as long as I can remember. As a child, I realized my love of textiles by cutting up my mother’s sheets to make clothes. I didn’t know how to sew; rather, I worked intuitively. I painted on buttons and pockets using watercolors, diligently repainting them after they went through the wash. At 9 years old, I had no clue that this was unusual, until my mother started asking “where have all my sheets gone?” This instinctual impulse has remained central to my work ever since.
Like my work, my art education is quite the patchwork of experiences. As a young mother, I enrolled in art classes part-time, but never completed a formal art degree. It was during these early classes that I encountered a teacher who told me to go home and “just work from the heart.” Perhaps he sensed I wasn’t suited to an academic art program; for years, I grappled with a sense of inadequacy when I thought of my hodgepodge training. It is only with time that I’ve come to appreciate his suggestion as a recognition of my innate artistic intuition and a vote of confidence in my natural curiosity. Since then, I have continued to seek out educational experiences in the form of workshops, residencies and classes, as needed, prompted by my own needs. For years, I’ve participated in two long-standing critique groups that meet regularly to share our work and provide feedback. Surrounded by my peers, I’ve learned to present, defend and own my identity as an artist.
My art is very spontaneous and optimistic, with layers of personal narrative and meaning woven throughout. I never plan or sketch anything out before I start. It just evolves and changes until it’s done. Although I work in a variety of mediums, my art is primarily oriented by assemblage. My studio space in San Francisco is a chaotic variety of many found and collected treasures that constantly inspire me to put unexpected objects together. For me, it is important to see and touch all the possibilities I could use. Tactile intuition guides my art-making.
Collecting found objects, candy wrappers and scraps of anything that have a private meaning and connection to someone else; everything is rescued and has been stitched back together. Torn paper, crushed cans, discarded plastic- these are my treasures. If I find objects that look too new, I put them under a board on the road and drive over them with my car. Rescued remnants as opposed to found objects. The debris of modern life. Nothing should be wasted.