Tawnee Geller is a self-taught artist living in Northern Minnesota. In addition to being an avid painter -- she has been painting since she could hold a paintbrush -- she's a gardener, a yogi and a cat-lover. After finishing high school she went on to graduate from cosmetology school in 2009. Being asked to do a commission piece is what gave her the confidence to take the plunge into making art more seriously.
Geller is constantly trying out different styles of painting and various media trying to continually reinvent herself. She draws her inspiration from books on fractals and space, music from the 60's and 70's, and band posters and album art (think Pink Floyd, Cream and Grateful Dead). She likes to think of her paintings as "one large acid trip", which she evokes with rich, wild colors, hidden pictures and images that play tricks on the viewer's perception.
In this interview with editor Catalina Piedrahita, she talks about networking, about being productive creatively, and about the interconnectedness of things.
Catalina Piedrahita: There is a strong feminine presence in your art work, either in the form of nature or the female figure. Where does this tendency come from? Can you tell us more about it?
Tawnee Geller: Over the course of the past few years, I have gone through a period of getting to know myself. Through this, I have learned to truly appreciate the female form in all that it has to offer. The idea that everything is connected, and is the result of that which came prior, has had a major influence on my work by carrying this idea through in various forms, such as bringing the female form into the silhouette of a tree, with long hair wildly blowing like branches in the wind.
Growing up on a lake in Northern Minnesota also kept nature very close to my heart, and I believe that it forever will. I continue to embrace nature as much as time allows by gardening, camping, fishing, kayaking, etc. - anything I can do to fulfill my senses.
CP: Where and when do you feel the most comfortable and productive when working on your art? Can you describe these situations?
TG: Days that I can literally dedicate every hour to painting are my most productive days. The idea alone of knowing that I have all day, rather than needing to be done in two hours so I can start cleaning up & try to get all of the paint off of my hands and out of my hair before I have to be to work, is a far more reassuring thought. Either way, starting the day with painting, no matter how small of a project, always puts me in a better mood for the remainder of the day, so I try to get as much in as possible, no matter what the circumstances.
CP: How do you juggle your non-artistic activities with the creation of your art? Do you have a routine or a strategy to stay on top of all your projects?
TG: Having so many creative hobbies can certainly make it difficult at times to not interfere with my painting. Along with everyday housekeeping, I love to bake, sew, garden, crochet and do yoga. The best strategy I've found is that when I'm not at work, I will not think about work. This is my time to cram in as much me time as possible, which may sound selfish, but it's always more productive! The best feeling is getting the entire house spotless before 8AM, then losing track of time and painting for 12 hours straight.
CP: How do you get your work out there? What are some ways to get exposure that you can share with young artists who are starting their careers?
TG: Of all the ways to promote oneself as an artist in today's world, I certainly have to say that internet is your best friend. I am in constant awe of how easily individuals from all over the world are able to view and share my creations. Networking, in any form, is a great way to get your name out there. Talk to people, make business cards, and get your name out there. I have also been lucky that, along with being a Science teacher, my honey is also in a local psychedelic-rock band that totally compliments my artistic style, titled Kitchi Boogie, and I have been fortunate enough to create the album artwork for their latest self-titled album, along with various banners and posters for live shows.