Portrait of Tara Hardy
Tara Hardy talks to us about her vintage aesthetic and her introduction to illustration.
Tara Hardy’s works are nostalgic digital collages composed of vintage images and old materials that she has collected through the years. Her collages are not just illustrations but stories that seduce the viewer into daydreaming. Her pure and romantic style has made her a strong voice in the world of illustration.
How did you become an Illustrator?
I went for an interview for a graphic design position for a magazine; instead I was hired to do an illustration. It was the first work ever published of mine. That same illustration was nominated for best spot illustration for the National Magazine Awards Foundation for Canada. I thought it was a sign.
What was the first ad or artwork that inspired you?
I always loved the Absolute Vodka ads. They were memorable, always changing and beautifully done.
Can you outline your creative background?
It really was a natural evolution. I have been creating with collage since I was a child. I studied Fine Arts, Illustration and Design as well as Graphic Design. Collage was the way to combine everything without giving anything up.
Where do you find your inspiration? What captures your attention in everyday life, graphics or art?
I love music and nature. I think birds are interesting. My dogs inspire me. Travel is a great way to open up the senses. Also, reading is a big passion. Having purpose in life and collecting old imagery.
What is the process you go through to build your imagery?
I have a large inventory of old material. The nicer the photos are to me, the more inspired I feel. I try to keep the pieces as natural as possible and I will build their stories in PhotoShop.
What are you currently working on?
I just finished a piece for a University here in Canada.
How do you describe your style?
Collage, using many different materials and textures.
What tools do you use? Digital? Hand?
Paint, collage, drawing, photos…
What do you think about the fast moving pace of the world of illustration?
It creates opportunity. And with more opportunity; more artists, there is more competition. I work quickly, so it suits me well.
Whose portrait would you most like to do?
Someone I admire. There are some great people out there doing amazing things. There are people fighting for justice for humanity, other living beings and the environment. Chris Hedges (a journalist and writer) and Shiv Chopra (a scientist and whistleblower) are some examples. Also, Paul Watson, the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conversation Society.
What artist would you like to collaborate with (from the past or present)?
Frida Kahlo. I find her fascinating and rebellious.
What project are you most proud of?
Honens. The image was resold for a restaurant in New York City. It will be opening in the fall, not too far from Times Square.
Which blogs and magazines do you read?
There are many. I am very passionate about politics and current events. I also believe there is a lot of propaganda. Using the net as a tool gives us the ability to do plenty of research to find the truth about anything. I also enjoy Psychology Today magazine. Psychology is also very interesting.
What is the last exhibition you went to?
It was in Scotland. David Mach. He is a collage artist. It was incredible.
If you could own any artwork in the world, which one would it be?
A Picasso. I would sell it and contribute in ways that could make a difference.
Any plans for the future?
I wish to see more of the world.