NEST HQ was created with the intention of being a platform aimed at promoting and encouraging the growth of artists of all genres and mediums. While we’ve worked mostly within music up to this point, we are expanding on a new content series that will showcase multimedia artists of various backgrounds including painters, graphic designers, architects, and others of the sort; this is installation. Every two weeks, we’ll post hand-selected pieces from our featured artists via our Instagram @nesthq, along with excerpts from the full interviews.
This week on installation, we present graphic designer Tara Wells.
Why don’t we start with a bit on your history as artist, and how you began?
I started doing what I’m doing at the moment because of Instagram. I joined the community, started to see people doing really cool stuff, and thought “how can I do that?”
I feel like most of the artists that I’ve been talking to recently got their starts in graphic design because of Instagram. Speaking to that, I personally found your art through RSA_graphics on Instagram. These Instagram collectives are really creating new avenues for people to get involved in art.
Yeah, I think it’s really cool. I probably wouldn’t have ever been inspired if I hadn’t seen those tags and found those artists. It’s an inspiration. I also think it’s really cool that this globalized group of people can connect from across the world to collaborate over one platform.
What medium do you usually work in, and why?
I guess it’s just a form of expression… I’ll have a play around with Photoshop and stuff from time to time, but I mainly work on my iPhone. I really enjoy mobile editing. Visually, I really enjoy being loud. I want to be as expressive and loud as I want.
I think the loudness is obviously apparent in the colors you choose to work with. I think that they’re very emotional and enticing. Is there any specific symbolism you hope to add to your art through colors, minimalism, and simplicity?
I think it’s up to the viewer to understand my art; but to me, it’s about expressing a kind of happiness through simplicity and color. It’s just about being happy with the simplicity in things. You know?
Absolutely. Are there any thoughts on expanding out of iPhone editing, or do you really enjoy the space?
That’s where my comfort zone is. I do really enjoy other people’s work in graphic design, but I think that working in mobile forces me to keep things simple. If I sit down on Photoshop, I think it complicates my process and I currently just want to keep things really simple.
It’s a cool new medium. I think at first there was definitely tension towards mobile designers. I spoke to artists who were graphic designers who didn’t really think that mobile editing was a recognizable thing. Or even in mobile photography, professional photographers were upset that there were so many profiles getting millions of likes and followers for taking pictures on phones. But I think that’s bogus! I once saw one of my favorite photographers post a series of remarkable black and white pictures, only to reveal several weeks later that he had taken them on a 5$ disposable camera. His point was that the tool doesn’t make the artist.
I did notice that as well. People felt like their work was being undermined by it, but it wasn’t like that at all. I think it takes a lot more skill to use the more advanced programs, but it’s not about that. Whatever makes you happy, that’s what you should be doing.
I agree 100%. It bleeds into the music world as well. There are still many opinions on what the “right” way to produce music is and there’s a lot of critiques towards people who work entirely on their laptops for example.
Yeah, I mean who’s to say what’s better? Digitally speaking, they can both be as good as each other.
Going back to RSA for a second, do you want to talk a little bit about what they are and how you got involved with them?
I feel like what they do for artists is amazing. They give so many people a voice and they’re not picky about who they showcase. I get a lot of inspiration from their artists.
Is art now a full time thing for you?
I feel like it’s kind of in between. Generally speaking it’s more than a hobby but less than a career at the moment.
I think we all kind of go in and out of that in the freelance world haha. Have there been any “a-ha” moments where you realized you wanted to take this on professionally?
A couple of years ago Instagram featured me on their main page and that really gave me motivation to push deeper within the industry. It gave me a vision, and the reassurance that if they can believe in me then this could be more than just a hobby.
What do these 3 pieces mean to you specifically?
This piece is one of my favourites because of the tones I got out of it. There’s so much you can do with the colour of water, it’s actually so fun to tinker with. I love how this one came up a bit more washed out than my usual images, but with such an array of different colours still present. I also have a soft spot for this because it was taken while I was on holidays with my family, and the vibes of it kinda match my mood that day. This one has a tethering of happy memories to it. I think there is a sense of that that comes through, which I love.
Roses always fascinate me. I love how different they all are, how colourful they are, how they smell, how the raindrops gather on the leaves after a storm, the juxtaposition of the thorns… There is so much art within a rose… So I always find myself talking shots of roses, I have so many. I don’t always share them, but this rose was kinda perfect. I knew I had to do something funky with it so I tweaked it up and gave it some 3D edging, set it off with my background gradient and I really love how it all came together.
Palm trees are by far the coolest of trees. They are the James Dean of trees, let’s be honest. I like to bring a kind of tropical vibe to a lot of my work through gradients; it’s a pretty consistent theme in my work. Playing around with palm trees is a lot of fun because of the colours you can get from the leaves, depending on lighting. I’ve got a few palms in my portfolio but this one is my favourite, the composition of the shot is a little abstract as I usually I go for symmetry – so I like the off-kilter, rebelliousness without a cause of this particular number.
What do all of these pieces represent for you as an artist?
I feel like all of these as a whole showcase what I’m about artistically. I think I’ve covered the whole spectrum of the rainbow with all of these, haha. I like to use colour to elicit positive emotions. I want people to see my work and come away from it feeling brighter for it. I feel like bright and bubbly is probably not how people would describe me as a person, so it’s a bit strange that my work comes out so vibrantly, but I like to create things that are visually pleasing and eye catching. I guess for me that’s always been colourful things. The minimalism in what I do I feel serves as a juxtaposition for the boldness and loudness of the colour. I like the subject of the picture and the shapes/lines etc. to be as basic as possible, so that the colour can take over for what is missing.
Find more from Tara on Instagram!