About the Artist
@traymedia (Tatiana Ray)
Tatiana Ray is a multidisciplinary artist from the Bay Area. She received a Bachelor’s in Performance and Anthropology from Saint Mary’s College in 2012. A mixture of traditional performance training and self-taught visual techniques pronounces her subjects as expressive characters. Growing up onstage fostered a fascination for character. Initially her use of visual work helped as a coping technique for documenting and surviving the performance industry. Later her visual and performance work became a support in tandem. She produces work in a multitude of mediums to explore the emotional, surreal and political. She has exhibited through Studio Morey, BASEarts and The Art and Culture Commission. She has been featured in many group shows including The Dreams of Yesterday, and the Dreams of Today and Experimental Film. Her most recent series of colorful marker portraits, has been touring the Bay Area since May, and can currently be seen at Studio Morey in Oakland and The Flying Goat in Healdsburg. Tatiana Ray lives and works in Martinez, CA.
About the Marker Portraits
This series is 200 portraits from my recent travels and life. With limited space in my backpack, I took a few markers and some sheets of paper that I ripped into squares to get more mileage out of them. When I returned my growing stack of drawings, collection of markers and continual practice had become my most valuable possessions. Drawing, for me, is seeking the truth of a subject: an act of love by documentation. While my goal is to meet the subjects where they are, they inevitably struggle with the discomfort of being seen as well as seeing on the paper things they thought to be hidden or even that which is hidden from themselves. This tension can be evident in the work. My color use is often representational and composition experimental, undermining the vanity often associated with portraiture. I primarily draw by shooting photographs continually, documenting both the subject’s poses and the transitions between them; I then use the later. As quickly as I’ve collected subjects, I’ve collected marker pens. The range of various markers represents the countries I’ve traveled to, the loved ones who have supported me, the strangers who have commissioned me and my investment in myself. Devoted practice and experimentation with photographic image, technique, style, composition, color and the boldness of markers has pushed me tremendously. Together, they combine as a medium through which I seek to connect with and express in physical reality the truth of what I see: an evolving connection to the ever moving intersection of those I capture and the lens I use to render those facets of being human.
About the Process
My work is about honesty. This series is done only in marker- like a blunt word that gets blended and rubbed out as soon as it is said. It’s been a challenge to tackle such an immovable medium. In the past couple months I keep replaying a memory of when I was around eight and drew an undiplomatic picture of my uncle featuring a scar on his forehead. He praised me and kept the drawing. Sometimes I quite like what I draw, but it surprises me when people are pleased by it. The subject of the series is the emotional vulnerability, and often discomfort, that happens when you document people. I shoot continuously until the person is unable to pose and a confrontation occurs between subject and documentation. When I depict this confrontation, as a viewer, the subject confronts themselves. Sometimes you have to photograph a long time. Sometimes its there the first shot. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. The shoots that disturb me are with those when the subjects are unable to turn off their camera performance. This indicates either a person has been taught not to feel violated, or perhaps worse, a person has been taught to ignore feeling violated. Sometimes I depict this trauma, but I do not seek to take it from subjects whom it belongs to. I do not seek to violate. I do not need to. Continuous documentation is enough to learn what’s true.
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