Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Inside Story

After unnecessarily fretting over my participation in this event, I found it a lovely evening, full of interesting and interested people. There were nineteen authors and artists singing the praises (very briefly!) of their currently published wares. A few of the the other local artists that I admire who spoke about their books included Jesse Joshua Watson (see his blog to read his humorous entry about his nomination as the #44 Hottest Guy in Children's Lit), Julie Paschkis (whose work I've admired for years. I have a poster of her art hanging on my studio wall) and my fellow POBL-critique member, Kathleen Kemley.

Andrea asked if I'd post my 'speech', so.... Okay.... It wasn't exactly like this - I tried hard to speak more conversationally than I write (NO reading of the speech! thankyouverymuch). Normally, I just make a few notes to help me remember what I want to talk about and somewhat wing it, but this was supposed to be so short - no longer than 3 minutes - that I felt I'd better think/write it out entirely. So this was what I ended up with if you are interested in slogging through it:

Hi, my name is Tara Larsen Chang, and I’ve spent the bulk of the past year and a half creating illustrations for a new series called “The Fairy Chronicles”.

When I was little, my time was split pretty evenly between running around outdoors being a tomboy and completely immersed in nature, and being inside sunk into a chair, and lost in a book--the more fantastical and heavily illustrated, the better. I loved and kind of wanted to live in both the real, here and now world and the more Mysterious and Magical.

This split happened on many levels as I was growing up. I can remember being eight years old, and trying to decide how my room or my wardrobe would look if I could design them any way I wished. Would I choose something organic, ornate and fairy-tale-opulent, or fashionable, "cool" and contemporary? I never could decide between the two. I still can’t.

So *this* particular project was like a very personal gift from the universe – handed to me on a big, fluffy, velvet pillow and tied with a fat ribbon. "The Fairy Chronicles" features contemporary characters--real girls who also happen to be fairies, and given gifts by Mother Nature that they use to interact with the magical side of reality to solve problems, take care of nature and even ‘save the world’. My younger self would have found it a near-perfect melding of the realistic, natural, and modern world with the magical and mythical realm that I couldn’t choose between as a child and continue to enjoy as an adult.

This particular blend of imagery has been incredibly fun and satisfying to work with; yet not without its goblins - there are so many illustrations in these books, and never enough time - time to completely develop each character and illustration to it’s full potential, but some of them still manage to practically arrive fully formed in my head and paint them themselves on the page– such as this mermaid [I brought an original illustration to display] who seemed to have a presence of her own, far beyond what the text indicated. The worst gremlin has probably been being chained to the studio desk so completely, that I haven’t been able to get out in my gardens, which are one of my greatest inspirations. There is many an afternoon when I look longingly out the studio window at my plants and flowers as ironically I’m inside painting a gardening gnome.

If you have young, fairy-loving girls (or happen to still be one yourself) that also find contemporary themes like protecting the environment appealing, this series connects ‘real life’ to the fantastical in a very satisfying way. Both sides of me have been tickled to be able to work on it.

So we got to briefly wax eloquent, sign some books for people and for the store, and meet and chat with local industry folks whilst eating chocolate dipped cookies with cups of tea. The best part about the evening though was that nearly my entire POBL critique group came. What a wonderfully supportive group of women. Thank you girls! One of them took pictures of the event for me - which I'll post when I get copies. [later: Fellow critique member has already posted a few over on the POBL blog].

Very nice evening. Glad it's over. Back to painting.

[p.s. thank you for all the kind sentiments regarding my daughter. We will hopefully find out what is going on with her back next Wednesday.]


Soozcat said...

Yay! I'm glad it went well. Also hoping that many people came over to compliment you on your mermaid--she's beautiful.

tlc illustration said...

They did, actually. Thank you very much (and thanks so much for the editing help!!)

tongue in cheek said...

Perfectly put and well said. You wrote it just as you would say it and that is the best way to speak to a group easy, light and straight from the heart.

Hoping your daughter is okay.

ParisBreakfasts said...

BRAVO Tara!!!
Now please come to New York and give your speach!
The ticket is in the mail..ooops I meant E-mail!

Ash said...

Reads beautifully and paints a great picture of the trials and pleasures involved in your work.
xx L

natural attrill said...

Very interesting to read about you, thank you!
Glad the event went well.
That pendant looks nice, is it glass?

tlc illustration said...

Thankyou for your lovely comments!

Penny- yes, it is actually Venetian glass. It was my treat for myself from my Italy trip last spring. I love it.

dinahmow said...

So...the evening was a successful blend of work/socialising. Well done!

Eric Orchard said...

Great speech! And the Church of the Dead pictures are really wild.

Britt-Arnhild said...

Sure, I am a young, fairy loving girl still, and so is my youngest daughter :-)

What's the matter with your daughter's back? My 11 years old fell while jumping in the snow today and hurt herself. Seems like it is only musculaere though....

Cre8Tiva said...

great to hear your story...please stop by my blog for another giveaway today...blessings, rebecca

Anonymous said...

Good job Tara, it really captures your love affair with faery I think. _Ross