Tara Lewis Bio
Tara Lewis is a multidisciplinary artist, primarily producing paintings and photographs that dive into youth culture anthropology with a pop twist. Lewis creates large scale oil portraits of models wearing t-shirts, pageant sashes and other wearables designed and printed by the artist that center on evolving perceptions of youth, irreverence, girl culture, beauty, identity, teen trends, girl empowerment, social issues and pop culture, often referring to past decades and pre-internet sources in re-freshed and boldly mundane and relevant ways. The Preppy Handbook, Seventeen and movies such as The Royal Tanenbaums, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and her MTV childhood stand as huge inspirations and prompts for oil portraits. Lewis is a direct descendant of Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha, one of her primary influences, who also infused typefaces and cultural portraiture into his celebrated and pivotal compositions. Currently, Lewis designs and prints her own text idioms onto wearable objects such as sashes, t-shirts, trophies and ping pong paddles, which she considers unique limited edition print objects. These objects convey messages, re-examine stereotypes & explore timeless youth culture and serve as a trampoline for artworks. The interaction of word & image is central to her work. The models in her works bring their own character and prop handling to the shoot, which is a collaborative process. Lewis has spent over a decade as a Professor and Chair of the Department of Art at Phillips Exeter Academy, a New England prep boarding school and pursued her undergraduate art degree at the University of New Hampshire and graduate degree at Tufts University and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.