If there’s a single guiding theme present across my stylistically inharmonious body of work, it’s the concept of change. As someone who tends to resist change in most facets of my life, I find catharsis by embracing it within the private pages of a sketchbook or the controlled environment of my studio. In these spaces, I use an ever-expanding list of processes, mediums, and methods to reflect on past experiences and explore hypothetical futures, to throw ideas at the wall and occasionally tape them there.
This may sound like escapism, but to me, it’s the opposite. It is from within this conceptual space that I engage most freely with unclear and troubling ideas that affect my personal life. It is where I amass data in the form of an expanding collection of images that continually reveals a more holistic, albeit complicated, picture of who I am. Inevitably, this “bigger picture” provides evidence that informs my engagement with the world beyond my studio. By continually layering, re-contextualizing, and re-purposing images, I convey a desire to complicate, rather than distill; to pose questions, rather than provide answers.
Sometimes this means using a vibrant color palette to draw viewers into confronting a subtler message, using cheap materials to create large scale work that muddies the distinctions between “high” and “low” art, or using social media as a platform for social media critique. Sometimes it just means writing down what I think and deciding what it means later.
Whatever the methods, my motivations are sincere. I feel a sense of drive and purpose while working in my studio and that’s not something I take lightly. Through much trial and lots of error, I have arrived at a body of work that I value for more than its capacity to offer “a coherent commentary on x.” This work is at home in the narrow space between thought and action, . It is at-once highly personal and widely-accessible, earnest and satirical, difficult to define and easy to look at.
You can find more of my work on Instagram, @taliabarnesart
And/or follow my ongoing web comic, SELF HELP, @selfhelpcomic