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May 2011 Art Show Preview: Interview with Tamara Staser-Meltzer

May 10, 2011

Collage "Morgan"

REVEL: How did you get started, and why collage as a medium?

TAMARA: My background is kind of sporadic, [collage] is something I’ve done my whole life, I was really looking for something with elements of lots of things in it so I wouldn’t get bored, and do the conceptual/intellectual side, something that’s fun to make, with a broad interest. A lot of elements of my education is there, there is a lot of thinking about politics, a lot of world historical context. It was great having them be political and religious, it has feminism and reconstitution of advertising, a lot of color, [collage is both] really personal and incorporating what I have been doing all along.

Being from the Midwest, being bred into catalog shopping, and a kid of the 80’s there were a lot of images of what older and younger women were interested in. I was also interested in what religious people know that I don’t know. For this whole series, I do a lot of research, on religious icons, spiritual practice, looking at stories that we tell each other.

A couple years ago, when my mother passed away, I got back a lot of collages I had done through my younger years.  [They had] a nice aesthetic quality, a lot of political , issues popped and it just seemed like a perfect time to do something very structured.

How do you decice which Goddesses to use, and how do you start from that first concept and turn it into a fully-executed piece?

I will start with the research, sometimes I’ll have a list of things that different entities feel like, or something I’m in the mood to work on. Other times I’ll just run across something that really hits a chord. Regarding a new piece, I am looking to do something Shinto, because I think it’s a beautiful religion, there are very good stories about human relationships, how they relate to each other, how they worked with each other as a team.

With the Morgan piece the research, the feedback was really mixed [basically] she’s a sorceress that got too big for her britches, but she wasn’t necessarily pure evil, just not listening to her teacher. I started that before the oil spill [editor’s note: BP Oil Spill], and worked imagery from the oil spill because it seems to appropriate .

What’s your ideal Saturday?

Being in SF definitely something outside, possibly a museum, talking to my friends from out of town. I have lots of good long-term friends that don’t live in CA and I find a great deal of strength in staying in touch. My ideal Saturday would include haning out with husband go to museum, have a nice lunch maybe in The Avenues, but somewhere in there is talking to someone I’ve known forever who really understands me, that’s totally key.

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