Taren McCallan: Get Your Art On FAD #11


All I can do is smile back. Pencil on paper.

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My name is Taren McCallan-Moore and I was born in London and grew up in Suffolk, Cambridge and London and live in Kent with my partner and her daughter. I studied art at Brighton University and I’ve exhibited in London, Paris, Venice and Spain.
 
Do you work as an artist full-time? Describe your typical day. Do you have a routine?
I work every day. There is always something on the go, lots of tea, drawings, boxes of junk to rummage through and marks to make. I work in a small studio in Kent where I draw and create my audio and film work and another studio in Cambridge where I paint, build and make a mess.
 
To which historical and contemporary artists do you refer most often?
Philip Guston has enunciated more clearly for me than any other the philosophical dilemmas’ and battles fought in the studio. His essay ‘Faith, Hope and Impossibility’ should be read by everyone concerned with the problems of making art, it’s an excellent essay.
 
What is your favourite art gallery?
The Serpentine Gallery is an oasis, built on the borders of Hyde and St James Park in central London. I have visited since I was a child and have many good memories of it both inside and out, oh and The Whitechapel, great market outside too on The Whitechapel Road.
 
What are your experiences of the ‘art-world’ and the business of art?
This is where the realities of commerce interrupt the integrity of making something that is not about money. Artists have tried to dodge in disguise but are always caught. Invisibility is the only defence against capitalism but then if you’ve something to say you have to entertain the beast in an ongoing dialogue. The art world is a necessary evil, but if there is one solution in defence of potency its the avoidance of cynicism.
   
Do you or would you use assistants to make your work?
I don’t employ assistants though I would if it were required. There is an attitude to the use of assistants that suggests that it’s some kind of betrayal but in fact it is the betrayal of us that an artist should be expected to construct totemic relics to be sold to the highest bidder providing investment and status for individuals and institutions. Being an artist shouldn’t infer the myth of a lonely, hungry hero. Being an artist is whatever it takes to illuminate where otherwise the carnivals of ignorance, greed and horror tout their tickets.
 
Do you have any tips or advice you wish you had known earlier in your career?
Always be pro-active, non-aggressive and never loose heart when the world seems dark.
 
Do you have a quotation that you keep coming back to and that keeps you going?
Have you a motto that gets you through?

I think the poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling says all I ever could and it represents a tall but simple order for us all, we should never give up from trying.
 
Which artists, writers or websites should we all look up immediately?
Artists: Damien Meade, Samuel Palmer, Andy Wicks, Christian Rex Van Minnen, Michael Landy, Adriaen Coorte, Amy Mahnick, Antony Micallef …

Writers: James Elkins, Martin Kemp, Oliver Sacks, Philip Larkin, Charles Bukowski, Dostoevsky, Adam Philips …

Web: freesound.org / opendemocracy.net / artforum.com / ubu.com

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, ' A curation of the world’s most interesting culture' [PLUS] Art of Conversation: A tri-annual 'no news paper' AofC - Issue 1 Autumn 2018

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