Art as Armor: Tess Tallula’s Vivid World of Celebration and Survival

Encountering Tess Tallula's work at the recent group exhibition "Potluck" at  44AD artspace and Phantasmal gallery was a revelation for our team at Munchies Art Club Magazine.

Drawn to her unique artistic narrative, we connected via Instagram, eager to step deeper into her vibrant world.

POTLUCK Exhibition: A Surreal Gathering of Emerging Artists at 44AD art space and Phantasmal gallery
Art Observatory presents POTLUCK: showcasing the uncanny, dreamlike, and surreal through diverse mediums

Potluck Exhibition

Tess Tallula´s Instagram feed, a visual diary filled with latest projects and behind-the-scenes glimpses, along with her website, offering detailed galleries and playful design, invite us to experience the full spectrum of her artistic journey—where every piece tells a story, and every image invites connection.

tess tallula, moon bathing, performance, artist feature now 2024
Tess Tallula: Moon-bathing in Bluebells, pose dictated by the clearing, no bluebells were harmed. | Image courtesy of the artist

Tess graciously welcomed us to explore a vast collection of materials spanning her dynamic career, from significant artworks and evocative childhood images to her introspective literary works.

Tess Tallula is an artist whose life and creative pursuits are seamlessly interwoven. Each creation narrates the intimate bond she shares with the natural world and her expansive imaginative universe.

A Fine Art BA graduate from Oxford Brookes, Tess has been an artist since childhood.

In 2023 she also became a clown, joining ‘Clowns International’ and receiving her own Egg in the official registry.

I’ve been called a clown as an insult more times than I can remember.
I’ve always loved clowns so I decided to wear it as a badge of honour. It's really lovely to be welcomed into the clowning family.

Her art transcends mere expression—it's an exploration of the innate and unspoken. 

You describe your childhood as a "constant act of returning" and mention that you've never really left.

How does this perpetual connection to your childhood influence your current artistic practices?

“I think it allows me the freedom to play, to create without fear of getting it wrong or deviating from some sort of expectation or structure. I’m lucky to have been raised by parents who always encouraged that.”

From her life-size ceramic skeleton "Noc Noc" at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford to her dynamic involvement in exhibitions and performances like "Potluck" Tess carries a thread of mortality and spiritualism through her practice.

tess tallula, fossie, available children book, now out
Tess Tallula’s first children's book, ‘Foosie’, available now | Image courtesy of the artist

Grief has punctuated Tess’s life, her poignant children's books "Foosie" and "This is Death," explore companionship and loss with childlike simplicity and comforting warmth.

tess tallula, children book, detail, fossie, illustration, colorful, magic
Tess Tallula: Illustration from ‘This is Death’ Children's book, available now | Image courtesy of the artist
Can you tell us more about your imaginary friend "Foosie" and how this figure has transitioned from a childhood comfort to a recurring theme in your artwork and book?

“Foosie was what you’d call an ‘imaginary friend’ I suppose. But he felt so real, both to me and to my mum. I never blamed anything on him, or got extra sweets or presents for him, he was just a pink furry companion. In my art Foosie has become a warm symbol of comfort, play and spirituality.”

Making processes… Instinctive and intricate

Tess's recent works involve hand dying second hand fabrics and stretching onto homemade stretchers. “Foosie was framed using pieces from the now broken and moss speckled bench that sat in my garden since I was a child.” she says.

From Inks and pastels to eyeshadow and airbrushed acrylic Tess combines mediums and techniques, her own artistic language.

Textiles feature heavily, cathartic hand stitches and intuitive free machine embroidery adorn childhood bedsheets or discarded materials.

You mention that your artwork is more a documentation of life rather than a depiction of a dream world.

Could you discuss how this perspective influences the themes and subjects you choose to explore in your work?

“I’ve always had an obsession with documentation, photographing everything, writing notes which sometimes become poems, foraging and collecting things that bring me joy. The soft pink galaxies in my work are full of symbols and emotions from my childhood and relationships with family and friends, living and dead. It’s a methodical preservation of these cosmic threads.”

The artist outside…

For Tess, foraging is a way of reabsorbing the woodlands and fields she grew up in. Simple acts such as stargazing, shell hunting or wild swimming become profound acts of connection which inspire her work.

A Tapestry of Life and Art

Viewing art as a spiritual practice, Tess finds solace in both galleries and natural settings, which she sees as sacred spaces of connection and reverence.

tess tallula, artist, performance, outside
Tess Tallula:Tess Tallula wild swimming in Scotland | Image courtesy of the artist

Tess’s lifelong relationship with the natural world is mirrored in her creative process.

Marked by meticulous planning that often yields to instinctual deviations, Tess creates works that are intensely personal works which speak to the viewer on a human level..

Tess Tallula's narrative is a compelling exploration of identity, memory, and the integration of life with art.

Her work, rich in emotions and experiences, challenges, urges us to reflect on our connections with the past and the natural world.

As a sculptor, author, and art director, Tess fosters a dialogue that is introspective and resonantly universal, transforming personal history and collective memory into captivating artistic expressions.

For those spellbound by Tess Tallula’s blend of visual and narrative artistry, enjoy her mesmerising work by exploring her Instagram page and personal website.

Conceptual Art And Design | Tess Tallula Art

Tess Tallula -> Website

Super Future Kid, Mastering The Artist’s Daily Grind: ‘One Day In One Week’ Chronicles
Join Us As We Dive Into The Captivating World Of Super Future Kid´s Wonderful And Charming Artist And Discover What Unfolds Beyond The Canvas

🎉 Coming soon! Inspired by our work with Super Future Kid, we're excited to introduce the new 'One Week in One Day' edition featuring Tess Tallula,soon. 🌟 Sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on this and other unique additions!

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