Artist Statement

Art to Connect With

I think it probably started with cats, but I don’t remember the first subject I ever tried to capture on paper. The process and materials have evolved since I picked up that first pencil, but cats still speak to my artistic sensibilities. We humans have layered symbolism onto animals and natural objects, imbuing them with our emotions. I’m looking for the series of connections the viewer makes with the subjects of my work, from that connection with the symbolism to me, and from me back to the natural source. To me the bones, skulls, snags, rocks and driftwood that we see as lifeless have just as much life and activity surrounding them as the living form. The energy may be changed, same but different… still beautiful. They are worthy of our admiration. There’s a secret to life there that I want to reveal, a connection. My intimate experiences with the end of life stages left me with the feeling that life and death are all the same experience, some of it is hidden from us and ultimately we are all connected.

I work from my own source photography and I’m always finding new inspiration. I collect texture ephemera and debris to use, repurposing worn fabrics into my paintings and making my surfaces rich in textures. I primarily focus my attention on the symbolic animal or natural form, then use a solid ground to highlight the beauty of the textures using paint hues observed from nature: whites, neutrals and earth tones. I’m currently exploring monotone color palettes with the goal of bringing in richer colors as I learn and grow.

-Taryn Okesson

visual artist, mixed media acrylic painter and photographer Taryn Okesson in her art studio Marquette County, Michigan Studio.
Taryn Okesson in her studio