At Home with Artist Tasya van Ree & an Exclusive Interview

Take a glance inside the home of artist and photographer Tasya van Ree.  

Tasya van Ree is one of those women that just feels good to be around. Soft-spoken and kind. A peaceful aura surrounds her and one never feels like leaving her company. Melodi and I visited the artist’s house a few months ago and we were immediately smitten with her space, her wheezing Chihuahua and the woman herself. She lives in a proper A-frame with large windows that sits tucked away in a quiet nook of LA’s Laurel Canyon. Natural light pours in from outside and creates a warmth both visual and physical. As Tasya casually shows us around her home, I begin to realize that it is SHE who is the source of this emanating warmth. She is radiant, yet cool and subtle. Her wit is quick and smart, yet soft and on the sly. She is naturally beautiful, with piercing eyes and a kind smile. Her home is quiet and transparently refreshing — artifacts yielded from her world travels adorn the living room shelves. Art pieces from her previous shows dress her walls.

Tasya moved to California from Hawaii after she graduated high school and quickly found herself immersed in art. Her work is expressive — her charcoal drawings dance off the page, her photographs freeze those small, hard-to-catch moments in time. “My work is impulsive. It’s all over the place. I create to express myself and to self-discover.” An avid learner, Tasya would like to branch out into other forms of art as well. “I’d like to try to direct,” she says ever so cooly. She cites Sally Mann and Francesca Woodman as inspiration, along with nature and breathing among wildlife and people.

Melodi and I slowly wrapped up, savoring every last minute of being in Tasya’s company. It’s been a long time since we felt personally inspired by another’s work, and it felt good. She eventually walked us to the door and we said our goodbyes. And then like two giddy schoolgirls, we skipped into the sun.

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What kind of kid were you growing up?

I was a wild kid. Always involved. Always getting into trouble.

How did growing up in Hawaii shape you as an artist?

I think being born and raised in Hawaii really ingrained a sense of stillness and openness inside of me…two important qualities in an artist that are necessary when trying to create.

Were your parents artists?

Not in the typical sense, but I would say they have a certain demeanor about them that could be interpreted as artistic.

What is something you are most proud of?

That I have always been true to myself and to others.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Through love and Nature.

Are there any artists musicians, painters, etc. that have influenced your work in a big way?

Every artist, musician, painter, writer, mystic, cab driver, cashier, flight attendant that has ever existed has had an influence on me and my work…

There is a theme of females and horses in your recent work. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

I’m attracted to all things majestic and intelligent and love to dissect them and understand them through art…women and horses are extremely phantasmagorical and I’ve been enraptured by their oracular existence for some time now.

What other themes or concepts have taken place in your work over the years?

Antiquated objects. Wildlife. Sacred buildings. The theory of light. Dreams. Human characteristics.

What’s something you can’t live without?

My dog, Kiki.

What does a typical day look like for you?

There’s actually never a typical day for me. They are always very random and kind of bizarre.

What is playing on your record player right now?

“Mizu no Hentai” by Tadao Sawai.

Do you have a favorite subject matter to shoot?

At this moment…horses.

What’s your favorite camera to shoot on?

My Leica Minilux.

If you could photograph anyone in the world who would it be?

Grace Jones.

How would you describe your style?

Half Japanese/Half Dutch.

Have you always been interested in fashion? Do you think your style has been influenced by anyone?

I’ve always been interested in different art forms of self-expression, fashion being one of them. I wouldn’t say I’ve been influenced by any one person — I’m more drawn to the texture of fabrics, to the details of craftsmanship, to the lines that the material makes when it’s worn.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Matcha lattes from Starbucks on a daily.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Imaginative. Curious. insightful.

…and how would your friends describe you?

Precise. Extra-terrestrial. Kind. (Asked to and answered by M.C.)

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and from whom?

“Believe you are infinite.” — Some Ghost up there in the stars.

What would you say to artists that are struggling right now? How do you get out of a slump?

It’s actually the energy of the void that is using the Artist. You just have to realize this and know that you can either be a victim to it or not. It’s as easy as not condoning its behavior and detaching yourself freely from it.

When do you feel the most free?

3 mezcals in.

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Thank you Tasya <3

For more of Tasya’s work, check her out on Instagram and Facebook. Photos by Melodi Meadows.

Follow Joanna on Instagram.

Comments

  1. Great piece & very true. She’s a lovely creature inside & out & always makes whomever she is present with(i.e.. speaking with) feel special. Thanks for sharing! xo

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