20 Questions with Tara McPherson


If you don’t know Tara McPherson, you must be living under a rock. Her paintings are both beautiful and thought provoking and her awesome gig posters have won her the title of “Princess of Poster Art.” She has had countless gallery shows around the world and has been featured in numerous publications including Juxtapoz, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Sony Magazine, NY Times and more. Her popularity has exploded and you can now find Tara McPherson toys, shirts, laptop covers, lighters, and more! She currently is off and running through Europe, promoting her new book “Lost Constellations.” This just in: Thunder Chunky has lunched an “I Heart Tara” competition where you can win a signed book. Check it. Before Tara left on her tour, she most graciously answered a few silly questions for our blog. Her seductive imagery and kick-ass attitude have launched her into success, but as a painter and a woman, she is an inspiration to us. Thanks again Tara.

name: Tara McPherson
location: Brooklyn
date of birth: April 7, 1976
nickname: T-monster, Ta-ta, Tara-naranja, T-mac, McFearsome.

1. What inspires you?
Art, music, all the crazy friends I have and their actions and reactions to situations. Lamp. I love lamp.

2. whats your work environment like?
I have a store front art studio, i’m very organized. I’m probably one of the cleanest painters you’ll ever meet.


3. Do you have a favorite piece that you have done? Which one and why?
No, it’s too hard to pick. I like different ones for different reasons, at different times in my life. But I tend to like the newer ones more. They are all my little babies.

4. how long do you usually spend on one of your pieces?
It depends how long I have to work on something. Anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks. But lately I’ve been working on a whole body of work at once, so I’ll jump around from piece to piece, completing them all at roughly the same time. This can be over a matter of weeks or months.

5. what are you doing when you are not painting/drawing?
Having dreams about painting and drawing. But, this last week during my waking hours when I wasnt at the studio, I played bar Trivia with friends, DJ’ed a dance party, had good brunches, saw rad bands.

6. If you could be a color what would you be?

7. what makes you smile?

8. sunrise or sunset?

9. Last passport stamp:

10. whats one thing you MUST have with you when you travel?
A hairdryer. I battle with curly hair, and I have bangs. If you are a girl you know what I mean.

11. most played in your itunes?

Let’s see… it’s a few that have the highest play count, so to be fair I will list the top 5. These Arms are Snakes, Zozobra, Dead Meadow, High on Fire, and Torche. I just reinstalled my iTunes, so this count is my top from 2009.

12. if you could do something dangerous just once with no risk what would you do?
Skydive. Or a spacewalk.

13. what did you get into trouble for the most when you were young?
Me? Get in trouble? Well I dont know, probably for staying out too late? I was actually a really good kid. I dont remember getting into too much trouble…

14. Who are the designers/artists who have influenced or inspired you?

Bronzino, Botticelli, Schiele, Mucha, Sargent, Hokusai, Yoshitomo Nara, Miyazaki, Terada, John Currin, Mark Ryden, Glenn Barr, Jeff Soto, Viner, Kozik, Tim Biskup, Mike Mignola, Paul Pope, Kent Williams, James Jean and many many more…


15. you now have many different products available, from posters to toys to laptop covers! How do you react when you see your work on products or places in public? Have you gotten used to seeing your work around town?
Yeah I totally love it. I’ve always wanted to make stuff. I love stuff. So it’s super cool for me to see it around.

16. Name the websites/blogs that you bookmark or read daily.
YahooWeather, Expedia, Supertouch, Gigposters, Juxtapoz, Fail, FreeWilliamsburg, Google Translate, Astronomy.com

17. what’s one of the most important things you did as a breakthrough artist? One step/event that really catapulted your career?

Work my ass off! It wasnt really one event for me, it was the slow building of a solid base that I think helped. It all snowballs you know?

18. Have you any advice for new and aspiring illustrators?

It’s the combination of Talent, Hard Work, and Luck that makes it!

19. What are you working on now?
Then next week I continue my book tour in 19 cities for the next 3 months thoughout Europe, to San Diego Comic Con, through Brazil, and then to Dragon Con. After than I’m home painting on upcoming gallery shows again.

20. where would you like to see yourself in 5 years? (with your art career or other)

Doing exactly what I’m doing right now. It’s perfect….

More about Tara:



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