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Tanja Meski on front of a piece 'Live and Let Die'

Artist Tanja Meski paints because she has the urge to do so. For her, creating is a form of release. The challenges start to surface when aiming to create a balance through imbalance and deciding when to stop painting a piece.

How disciplined painter are you?


 I’m hardly disciplined in my inspirations and ideas, even if i may have an extremely disciplined eye. While there may or may not be a pre-vision of the finalized work, it is always a journey to find balance in the final image. That’s why engaging myself into painting a piece, is rather more of an experimental chain reaction to my aesthetic mind rather than a planned road trip following a route map. I’ve been painting for as long as I can remember and the process has always been the same. There is no other way for me.


Can you give three words to describe your art? 

 Intuitive, sensitive, organic.

Describe your painting process, mentally and physically?


 It all comes down to the urge and need to create. I'm still part Homo Erectus, painting for the same reasons as human always has. I aim to speak through my works, trying to make sense of the world around me while releasing the pressure inside. I sometimes view the whole creative process as a very primitive exigency, that I believe most people have. My aim is also to balance the work without it being balanced in a commonly referred way. Balance for me means that there is evident imbalance in the work, making it possibly more interesting and intriguing. 

Imbalance is the perfect balance for me. In order to fully understand my work, is to empathize with the way I think. I believe imperfect is the only perfect. There is nothing interesting in perfection for me. While trying to find this 'balance of imbalance’, it’s always a side plot to use a color palette that emphasizes the work. Many times the palette comes from the person or the space I paint for, since 50% of my production is commissioned work. While it’s important to maintain the freedom of artistic creation, it’s equally important to satisfy the new owner of the work. Many times the process is a team work and my clients are not preferably seen as clients, but partners - who oftentimes become muses for me.

Physically it's great because I get to reach and bend and use my imagination as to how to create different textures and which techniques to experiment to create substance. I use multiple different tools, imagination is key. I have to balance on ladders and benches as the canvas can be nailed on the wall, but many times a readily stretched canvas lays on the floor and I just paint jumping here and there. Quick feet are an asset and when I get older, I hope to stay fit with this technique. I love working with bare hands and mason's tools, brushes are not the only solution in large dimension works. 


Are you satisfied with your works that you’ve left behind or do you feel some would have needed tweaking more? 


 The hardest thing is not to start, starting is relatively easy. And it's easy because I have the need to paint. Painting for me is a form of release and always has been. At the start of a project I get visions and intuitive flashes, like flash photography in my head. I rarely sketch so it's expressionist from start to finish, even if I do plan themes in my head.


The challenge in the painting process for me is knowing when to stop. Deciding that this is the last stroke, can be a battle. This is rarely a decision made in seconds or even minutes. I can easily sit and look at the painting for hours or days. Sometimes I’ll continue adding to it. It has happened that a year after the original sits there, I correct it. The conscious decision to stop working on a piece, can be complex. Countless times have I decided to stop, then for some reason continued 'just a little bit' until the original is gone and I find myself looking at a completely different work. Then I just repaint and paint over and over until the next satisfactory moment hits and I just decide, that here it is, the final product and I MUST let it go. It’s hard sometimes, but I love it.

Interviewed at the artist's studio in Tammisaari 2016 

by Mikaela Lindfors B.A. in Fashion, Finland

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