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Tara Reed artwork

Tara Reed

Tara Reed was born in a suburb of Philadelphia, West Chester, Pennsylvania. In 1994, she, her first husband and son moved out west when her husband got a job in Portland. "I immediately fell in love with the landscape - the tall fir trees and huge rocky beaches were so different from what I was used to back east." Tara said. She now lives in Portland, Oregon where she continues to create artwork. Because her art is not related to landscapes or a specific region, she believes that the place she lives does not have an effect on her artwork. She also believes that her art is tied to personal connections that speak to the customer rather than landscapes.
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What pieces of art (if any) do you have on your walls?

I have a Norman Rockwell artist proof of Huck Finn praying - I've always loved the scenes and relationships depicted in Norman Rockwell's work. I have also always liked Rie Munoz (Alaskan artist) and have one of her prints. I also have prints and originals by a few of my peers - Paul Brent, Kathy Davis and Jennifer Pugh - in addition to my own art prints. We have a cartoon of two astronauts drawn by my dad, family photos and a fun metal, marquee ampersand.

What is your biggest inspiration for art?

This is always a tricky question for me... I don't walk out the front door and get inspired by what I see. It's hard to explain to people where my ideas "come from" when asked. After some reflection, I think people and what makes them tick is at the root of my art's inspiration. I'm a student of people - I love learning about their stories and what makes them tick. Understanding people and their passions gives me a lot of inspiration for sayings, images, themes and more that I incorporate into what I create.
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If you were a new addition to a crayon box, what color would your name be and why?

"Playful Purple" - because I think a lot of people take things too seriously and need to be more playful and purple is my current favorite color. (It seems to switch between red and purple at different times of my life but I'm currently in a purple period.)

When did your career in the arts start?

Tara Reed Word ArtI've always been crafty-creative - designing my high school prom and graduation logos, making and selling things at craft fairs, hiring out my seamstress skills... For a few years in the early '90's I had a cake decorating business but the stress of transporting someone's wedding cake in your car was a bit much for me and the repetitive motion of decorating cakes was taking a toll on my wrist. I started licensing my art in the scrapbook industry in 2001 as a Creative Alliance Partner with EK Success. I then worked with Simple Scrapbooks Magazine for a few years before learning about the larger world of art licensing - where I could design art and license it for use on a wide variety of products. I exhibited at my first art licensing trade show in 2004 and have been licensing my art ever since. It was a hard decision to really "go for it" since my husband and I split up a few months before the show. The practical side of me said to get a "regular job with benefits" - using my background in sales and marketing. But the creative entrepreneur in me wanted to see if I could build a creative business that would allow me to still work from home and not turn my then 10 year old son's world as upside down as it already was with his parents divorcing. I was fortunate to have the means to support myself for a few years and give it a shot - and I'm thankful that I did. I love being in charge of my business, my time and creative direction - it's been a very rewarding ride!

What style do you classify your art as and why?

My art is at times more whimsical and other times leans a little more traditional, while always remaining a little playful. I use a lot of words and messaging in my art which connects well with the end consumers when combined with colors, designs and visual elements.

What is one thing about you that most people don't know?

Tara Reed ArtWhile Pennsylvania was my family's "home base", I also had the opportunity to travel a lot growing up. My dad was a college professor and when I was in 1st grade, he traded jobs with a professor in California so we packed up the station wagon (remember those??) and saw the US on our way to become Californians, if only for a year. The next year my dad's sabbatical meant a European trip for the 5 of us - I think I've seen where every Astronomer was born, died and worked. We were in 13 countries in 4 months. My parents were pretty brave to do that with a 5th grader, 2nd grader (me) and a kindergartner but I'm glad they did!
I spent 6 weeks in Athens, Greece as a mother's helper after 6th grade (to a family we met on our travels) and was an exchange student in France my junior year of high school. I believe my early exposure to other places and cultures has affected my view of the world and influenced me greatly. I love exploring new places and learning about the area and people - whether it's in the US or overseas.

What styles of art have you tried? Which is your favorite?

I've played with all kinds of styles - from vector art to hand painted, traditional to retro and back again. My favorite art is a mix of traditional and digital mediums - hand painting some elements then combining them and adding to them in Photoshop. Art with messages - either fun or inspirational - are more exciting to me creatively than purely illustrative work.
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