Jessica Tatara

 MFA candidate at Tufts University and Boston-Based Artist

Tell us about yourself.

"It’s 1993; the desks are arranged in a circle for art class. I’m drawing a pheasant with colored oil pastel cray pas. Though the pheasant is still, it is after the whole class is finished drawing that I learn each student has a unique perspective and the bird moves and all sides can be seen as all the pictures are put on the wall. It is from this day I learn to be open to constructing connections with classmates, artists, teachers and that more than one perspective exists simultaneously. Flash forward to 1996 and 1997 after I qualify for the Jr. Olympics in figure skating, years of training eye and body co-ordination with arts, athletics and math that I begin to realize planning long term goals is part of achievement. Little did I know in 2008 I’d be hired as a Figure Skating Instructor by the San Jose Sharks, teach in over 3 rinks to over 2,000 students, and joined Oakland Tech's "Thriller on Ice".

What I had learned in the spotlight on ice, I brought to UC Berkeley and learned the art of New Genres and Interdisciplinary Academia in the Kitty Klub directed by Kevin Radley. It’s from this platform and having an interdisciplinary mindset that I proposed a modern day camera obscura to Eclipse TV and became the “Girl in the Box” aka "The Seen" at Squaw Valley’s 48 Straight. The science and technology of the obscura was made anew. TV monitors and camcorders were set up inside the transparent box so the view from the outside and inside could interact with each other as I made drawings, read poetry and performed for 48 hrs. Straight. Who could have guessed this project would be televised and I'd be interviewed by the Olympic Skiing Champion, Johnny Mosley.

By being open-minded and able to draw connections between many perspectives I've grown as an artist. I’ve challenged colleagues to be part of “New Color” an art show I curated and suggested to showcase your new invented color, co-curated for Haas School of Business with Oris Buckner IV, was in Too Short’s music video, and recently was selected by Pat Oleszko to be a “water sprite” at the ICA in her performance piece... officially becoming a museum artist. I cherish working with multiple perspectives, collaboration and learning from many brilliant and dedicated people, or shall I say stars… and that is how I’ve been shaped by the person I am today."

What is the inspiration behind your work?

"Every project idea has started from brainstorming, day dreaming, listening to music, art or conversation. I’ve kept a journal since age 8 and often re-read old pages. I’m driven by the concept, the connection with my collaborators and the audience. In the Solar Art Show, “Light To Light”, the interdisciplinary mind set was in full swing as well as collaboration. The Physics and Art students at UC Berkeley, where I attended undergrad, came together to curate a show where the art would be digitized and then powered by the sun’s energy. I was the IT specialist and translated analogue oil paintings with a digital camera into digital files on a flash drive that could be read by the physics students and converted into digital projections. 

Today I’m researching the conductivity of holograms and mirrors as well as lenticular imagery. In my upcoming thesis show in 2016 with Tufts and the SMFA I’m proposing a walk through interactive Art/Science installation and memorial piece about Art and Safety in Education where the hologram will be projected. I've worked as a Wayfinding Specialist/Arts Coordinator Intern for the MBTA since January 2015 and feel grateful for this opportunity to be incorporated in projects that involve Art, Architecture, Design, Construction and Engineering. The passion to create and work together with talented people keeps me motivated to work hard and shine like the stars I look up to."

What does being a gique mean to you?

"A gique may mean you know that mirrors are conducting electricity, where electrons are not bound to respective atoms, electrons can vibrate in unison with incoming light waves and reradiate the energy they absorb, and become fascinated with researching mirrors... It might mean you research colors, read the dictionary for fun because you think bringing attention to buried words is chic gique. Being a gique means you do you, be it an inventor, a math wiz, a potter, somebody who can draw from real life or you are still a genius and yet undefined."

What's your best advice for aspiring artists out there?

"A great photographer Robert L. Jones and also a teacher said, “If you can’t make it good, make it big”. That applies to ideas, goals and dreams, make the dream BIG. I turn back the pages in journals and art portfolios or videos from sports and learn about who I am becoming, starting with an idea and then turning it into something BIG. Start with a touch of inspiration, your favorite colors to create with, copy a master and turn your learn on. It might be a sketch, or maybe you've just made a masterpiece meaningful to you or someone who was meant to experience your work. Some ideas can start from within yourself and some can come from someone else. Keep persevering and realize your goals with the courage to connect with another perspective. Remember, you just might invent something new under the sun."