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.