5 Minutes With Tay Dall

Tay Dall is an established South African painter with international exposure. Her abstract paintings work to harmonize disparate elements and they often combine collage, ink, pastel, and pencil. The artist enjoys creating the essence of meaning rather than a direct theme. This feature allows the viewer to experience each work in their own way and to derive their own meanings or messages from the art. We sat down with Tay Dall to talk about her current projects, inspiration, and the start of her artistic career.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I started showing interest in art at a very young age and this love developed over time as I became more exposed to various art forms. I enjoyed my art classes that I started when I was 8 years old which developed into a strong love for art and continued when I started studying art in high school.

2009 – Large Studio Floorworks 2 (2018), Tay Dall

Can you talk about your artistic influences and other artists you are most inspired by?

I like so many artists’ works or elements within their works the list of my favorites would be endless. However, if I was pressed for an answer I specifically like the following artists works; Miro, Klee, Kandinsky, David Hockney, Tapies, etc. Some of these artists have subconsciously influenced my work. This is evident with respect to certain elements, whether compositional, textural, color usage, or formally. I am not an artist that likes to copy other artist’s works, but I do utilize some art as a point of reference.  

I think my formal inner language and style are a culmination of all my visual influences and experiences that have been stored in my memory over time. In a sense, everything I have seen that other artists have created is stored in my mind, whether good or bad and I continue to draw from it.  Without these prototypes, the fear of experimentation and the ability to form my own way of seeing would be so much harder. In essence, I owe much tribute to those artists that came before me and were able to be honest enough to project their own way of seeing an identity in the world.  

There are certain qualities in an artist that I admire. The artists I like use their work to entice people to think and question things. I admire an artist that goes against the grain and who creates work that has not been done before. One whose work breaks rules and questions the viewer’s personal reality by pushing them to step outside their visual comfort zone. I value and respect an artist that is honest in his or her expression and true to himself.

Undoubtedly, I am more drawn to spontaneity and the freedom of expression. Contrived forms where the individual is more interested in being virtuosic, or concerned with the artwork’s appeal rather than the essence of what he or she is trying to project is not as intriguing to me. I am especially excited to see an artwork where the individualistic style of the artist who painted it is so unique and individual to them that it is easily recognized without seeing the signature at the bottom.

Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate with others? 

I am not a creature of habit. I often stay up too late and get up in the morning too late. Every day I make a small daily list of things to accomplish which is made from a bigger list of things that I want to accomplish throughout time. I take a while to rev up my creative engines and do a little gardening, a little podcast listening, and chat with my staff.  Then I go into the studio and see if my energy and creative inspiration are ready to begin my day of painting. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.

The positive side of this process is that once I get started there is no stopping me and much to the chagrin of my family at dinner time I often paint well into the night and the next morning.  In regards to the collaboration with other artists. My approach to time in the studio and my lack of schedule may undoubtedly annoy another artist if we were trying to collaborate.

However, I do collaborate once in a while with other artists and with my husband Ben if there is a specific concept,  theme, or genre that is part of the design of an exhibition. Then I am disciplined and knuckle down and try my best to work within the parameters of everyone else’s schedules.  

3565 – On The Other Side 9, (2019), Tay Dall

Can you tell us about a project you’re currently working on?

The pandemic is an unusual event that has unfortunately closed down permanently and temporarily many venues and events in the past 18 months. With that being said, and it being a normal year, I do about 5 exhibitions annually. Some of these exhibitions have a central theme and some are special collections of work that I put together when I am invited to exhibit in a specific space.

When I work on a new idea for an exhibition, my goal is to introduce an exciting, innovative, and provocative chapter in my story as an artist.

What do you think you would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?

I have always had a passion for music.  Music is a big influence on my art as I paint to music. I am not a musician per se, so I don’t believe I would be doing it if I weren’t an artist. However, it is definitely a career I would love to have pursued. Even if not a musician, then a music marketer or promoter of some kind would be an interesting career for me. Other interests of mine would be of a humanitarian nature by helping others and supporting a cause I believed in.

3673 – New Flight 1 (2013), Tay Dall

Have you found any other artists on SINGULART whose work you admire?

Karin Vermeer, Petra Schott, Nick Offer, Katja Wittmer, Clothilde Lasserre, Aaron Stransberry, Pava Wulfert, Labb, Sinn (Jinuan Kim), Florian Worrle, Emy Rose Oz, Rose –Marie Kossowan, Christine Pacaud, Sarah Inhoffen, Carol Mac Connel, Chantal Jamet, Peter Backhaus, Taron Marukyan, Alejandro Martinez – Pena, Paresh Nrshinga, Alex Senchenko, Nemanja Nikolic, William Malucu, Jacquelyn Stephens, Nazari Medvid.

What advice would you give to young artists starting out?

Often, I believe in hard work and through the process of hard work, one becomes more enlightened and closer to the truth. I believe in giving and that this act gives me more pleasure than receiving. I believe that honesty is one of the most important things in life and that what you give out you usually get back. In cliché, “What goes around, comes around.” I am a bit of an extremist in that I work hard, play hard, and everything I do is in some ways is excessive. I am also a perfectionist.

Feel passionate about life, I don’t worry about bad or negative things like most people. If I can do something about a situation, I will. Otherwise I just continue and deal with it the best I can. I also often feel that negative things that come into our lives are messages in disguise and we should listen closely to what is being said or communicated.  Very often these negatives can wake us up and challenge us to move forward differently and they very often help us to grow.  I feel that life is always full of challenges and for me, it is of utmost importance to remain positive.

Click here to view the SINGULART profile of Tay Dall