We had the good fortune of connecting with Taryn Okesson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Taryn, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Creativity was never a choice it is a compulsion. I remember other kids in my elementary class trying to get me in trouble for doodling while the teacher was talking. I am compelled to create no matter what environment I’m in. Eventually I gave up on other majors in college and realized the only way I’d finish my BFA was if I went to the visual art department. I needed a major that I had a passion for to see me through to the end. At this time in my life, I can focus on my creative endeavors, put some extra effort in and see what happens. Each time I’ve said yes to art I’ve been rewarded.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I had a lot of starts and stops on this path to being able to call myself an artist. And I can say art saved me. I, like many people, had family troubles and being able to focus on art helped. Later I returned to art as a young adult in college. I think I would’ve been lost without that creative outlet, it was a bonus that I could finish my degree in something I loved.

I feel like I am in the middle of my story. I am still polishing my website and working to get to a point I can sell my work online through it. I have a lot of goals. Ideas for paintings big and small. I’m researching art fairs, residencies and galleries. I’m excited about the possibilities. I’m excited to share my images and paintings.

I wish I learned earlier in my life to go be a part of the crowd I wanted to be with. I remember wanting to show my art in a gallery when I was 15, I wish I’d known that I could’ve gone to gallery openings. Met the people, the local artists. It never occurred to me then that there would be piles and piles of books on every aspect of being an artist. Maybe that is a part of growing up in a very rural area, lack of arts access.

I switch between media, I am focused mainly on acrylic painting and digital photography. Each practice informs the other. The main intent of the photography is to collect my own source images to work from, but they often stand on their own. I collect textures both photographically and physically. I like to build unique textures in my paintings utilizing found ephemera, string and fabrics. Symbolism is an important subject in my work as well.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’d bring them to the Phoenix Art Museum and directly to the Kusama installation. The Salt River Wild Horses in the Tonto National Forest would have to be on the list. Organ Pipe National Monument. Some of the back roads in and around the Grand Canyon and the Navajo lands. And we’d stop to eat at every food truck.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My Mother always encouraged my creativity, no matter what. I had several great teachers who were either very supportive or didn’t put up with my challenging nature or both. My college advisor/professor. Several key friends who supported me at just the right moment, when I needed it the most. My husband.

Website: www.TarynOkesson.com

Instagram: @taryn_okesson @taryn_okesson_art

Facebook: @tarynokessonart

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