Caught by the River

The Boys of the Summer

22nd July 2018

We recently stumbled across the artwork of Tara Okon on Twitter, and were instant fans of her geometric, hand-drawn bird and insect compositions – in particular, those depicting swifts. Tara told us a little more about her process and inspirations via email:

My work is inspired mainly by a passion for wildlife – especially birds – and the artist Escher. I love the way he played with patterns and perspectives as well as the power of his black and white pieces. I particularly like the work of the artists Colin See-Paynton and Robert Gillmor too.

Ideas for works come in various guises – seeing a particular bird, reading a wildlife article, hearing a phrase, sentence, or song title, or maybe listening to a song.

Recently, I have been reading about the decline in swifts, a favourite bird of mine. They are quite magical and over the years have acquired a number of vernacular names in both the English and Welsh language. ‘Gwennol Ddu’ meaning ‘black swallow’ and  ‘Aderyn yr Eglwys’ meaning ‘bird of the church.’ I personally like to think of them as ‘the boys of the summer.’ They really are extraordinary birds – able to eat, sleep and mate on the wing!

I try to strip a bird down to its ‘essence’ to enable me to play about with its shape and pattern without losing its identity. If I like the shape then I may continue to use it in a number of pieces. My favoured medium is drawing pen and often the subject remains black and white, although sometimes I add flat colour using either gouache, or acrylic.


You can see more of Tara’s artwork via her Twitter account or Facebook page.