with tigz de palma
Featured artist in the Paint FEARLESS® Exhibition 2023.
As Tigz's mentor in both the Paint FEARLESS® Mentorship and BOW, it has been a complete honor to bare witness as Tigz's creative practice and embodiment practice fused into a bold, confident expression of her truth and power.
Please join me in learning more about Tigz's process, practice, and intentions in the Creative Conversation below.
Welcome to our Creative Conversation!
Hi Tigz! You so beautifully call yourself an “artist, aesthete, priestess”. Please share how these three facets of yourself influence your creative practice and the way you embrace your life.
Claiming the word artist has been a journey because of all the preconceived ideas I had about what it meant to actually be one. Now I am in my studio at least a few times a week, drawing, painting, collaging and more. I also realized through the Mentorship program that art is my lifestyle; I have been restoring an ancient farm, both the building and the landscape on an island in the Mediterranean Sea for almost a decade, and not a day goes by where I am not wearing, using a household object, or eating something that I have not had my hand in creating in some way.
I have long been an aesthete; I am happiest when surrounded by beauty - which I can appreciate in many things - the sound of summer rain on a clay rooftop, the cadence of a perfectly written poem, the curve of the crescent moon, twilight, the scent of a rose, the grooves on a rustic farm table, I could go on and on, and it’s everywhere for the taking!
I have been on an awakening path for about five years now. I study with an amazing teacher and a supportive community. I am actually in a Priestess training program at the moment. The most succinct way to explain it is experiencing direct communication with the Divine, via embodiment practices, and learning how to let that Love and Grace flow through in ways that are unique to me.
I am finding that all three of these facets are in direct correlation with each other. You used the word practice and I think that sums up how I can confidently claim all three. By showing up to a daily practice in one way or another to each of them, and over time, they have become a way of life that is ever-evolving, and deeply mine.
How would you describe your journey as an artist?
My artist soul has been evident ever since I can remember, but I didn’t start to seriously make art, or even consider myself an artist, until 2018. At that time, I quite literally felt the calling. In 2019 and early into 2020 I dedicated myself to learning in a way that I wish I had been able to do growing up. It was strenuous and glorious to begin to discover who I uniquely am as an artist.
During that time, I was doing a lot of drawing and discovered a love of working with charcoal. Then - without going into too much detail - I developed really bad tendonitis in my left arm (I am left-handed). At that time I was also newly into feminine reclamation and embodiment practices and I took it as a signal from my body telling me to delve deeper into those practices and take a break from making art. I did a lot of deep psycho-spiritual work around it, and bodywork and physical therapy exercises as well. Eventually I started collage making because I can cut with my right hand, so there was no strain on my left and I could still make art. Now, joyously, I can say I am painting and drawing pain free. Most of all, I have come back to it with a whole new understanding of myself as an artist, and I feel like absolutely all of it was and is an important part of my journey as an artist.
In your GoddeX collages what inspired you to combine 1970-80’s French Photo magazines with pages from a vintage New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology book?
Was this an intuitive decision or did you have a specific concept(s) you were exploring? Please share some insight into your collage process for GoddeX.
It was definitely a specific concept I was exploring. There are so many images of women, now and throughout history, that depict us as either demure, innocent and almost childlike, read; non-threatening, or sexualized in a way that typically has nothing to do with how a woman’s sexuality is celebrated, and unabashedly experienced in her own right. Ultimately the images in the French Photo magazines were also created for the ‘male gaze’, but there is something I found in the images of that time period and culture - a kind of sexual confidence - that I was looking for.
Oftentimes it’s the same for the Goddess myths, at a certain point in history Her fierceness was comparable to Her male counterparts, but over time much of Her sexual nature got whittled down too. I feel passionately about the reclamation of female sexuality, and at least in this moment, it largely drives my voice as an artist.
What did you discover when creating your GoddeX collages?
Did you have any big a-ha moments with them?
Tell us everything!!
I am not sure if there were exact moments, but what I really love about collage is that, as the quintessential surrealist medium, it lends itself perfectly to redefining consensual reality, history, etc. I hope that comes through in my pieces - as in the three in this collection that redefine a God myth into a Goddess or Androgyne myth.
I find it so intriguing that your GoddeX collection consists of both collages and mixed-media watercolor pieces. Why did you combine the two together in one collection instead of displaying them as separate series?
I love that you asked this question because it was part of what we looked at during my Vision presentation during BOW. I produced more than what I’ve curated for the show here of both collage and watercolor during our four months together and I automatically presented them separately to my fellow BOW artists. But the feedback I received from you and others helped me to take a different look at all the pieces and how they worked together. Even though they’re different mediums, I was exploring the same themes in both. Both are an attempt to recreate myth in how I uniquely experience them in the here-and-now, not stuck in an encyclopedia gathering psychic dust. Each medium allowed for me to express this differently, and placing them together feels more cohesive and powerful, and I hope, raises more questions and curiosity in the viewers’ minds.
You describe your embodiment practice as an integral part of your creative practice. Could you please share what an embodiment practice is to you and how it influences your art.
First of all an embodiment practice means actually being in your body, and feeling what it feels like to be in your body. It may sound strange but so many of us live disembodied, for various and very legitimate reasons. And so the first line of practice for me, was to practice actually being in my body. From there it blossomed into learning how to embody different emotional states, that included learning how to completely feel, and hold myself in that avalanche of feeling, and then delightfully learning that emotions once allowed to be felt inevitably morph and turn into something else altogether. From there the possibilities are endless, and I moved into embodying archetypes, and energies. My sense of my Self has expanded so much with this ongoing practice, there is no way it could not influence my art!
More specifically to my art, I can and have embodied many of the images in my collages and some of my paintings. The amazing thing is that it happened the first time spontaneously as I was practicing in front of my altar and I had set one of the collages there as a ritual object. It was a powerful experience and I gained much insight in my reflective journaling afterwards. From then I choose which of my pieces are calling to be embodied and intentionally place them on my altar for practice. It can be such a powerful experience and I feel I am just beginning to explore this realm and it is exciting and empowering!
Who are some of your favorite artists?
What is it that you love about their work?
Cy Twombly is probably my biggest artist love. Recently I have been really getting into the works of Francesco Clemente and Jorge Galindo. All three artists’ styles are very different but I think the common thread, and what draws me to each of them, is how strong their artist voice is. Their works are not necessarily about technique, but their work is their work and they mean it. And I love that.
Clemente has a love of watercolor, and he paints big with it which I find inspiring. Much of his decades of work are explorations into his own subconscious, a lot of self-portraits, inner journeys and he even painted the entire Tarot deck, all of which I resonate with. Jorge Galindo paints gigantic expressive flowers, and his most recent body of work incorporates collage, which he’s woven in and out of his work over the years. I am learning how much my collage making informs my paintings and am interested to see those connections in other artists’ work.
Finally, Twombly; upon seeing the installation of his The Four Seasons at the Tate Modern in London for the first time, I swooned so intensely I almost needed help getting to a seat to sit and fan myself down. Enough said!
Now that BOW is complete, what are you currently
working on or exploring in the studio?
I am working on a series of six watercolor self-portraits, still playing with archetypal themes - this time exploring more of a fantasy style which I am very excited about. I’m feeling the itch to get back into charcoal drawing, it’s been a while and I am curious to how my recent work with watercolors will affect how I come back to charcoal. I am also feeling the desire to make much larger works!
Lastly, before the BOW exhibition I’ve never publicly shown my work. Now I feel encouraged to show my work publicly both online and in person, and that feels huge, and is another project I am looking forward to embarking on.
How has the Paint FEARLESS® Mentorship and BOW
impacted your creative practice and influenced
your Artist Soul?
Where to begin? First of all just having a container, a need to be accountable, to post a check-in each week sharing what I did in the studio, or not, was motivation enough! Thinking back to the first Mentorship, the weekly content really helped me to understand myself more as an artist; what type of artist I am, what moves me to make art, etc. Connecting those dots made me much more comfortable in my artist skin and excited to explore my art making further.
BOW was next level! Being in community and supported in creating a body of work with its only perimeters being set by me was exhilarating and scary. I had an incredible leap in my art making and feel much more confident in expressing my own unique voice as an artist. I am already knee deep in my next body of work, and I can unequivocally say this would not be if I had not been in the BOW program.
In both programs it was an honor and a privilege to share with and witness my fellow mentees’ journeys, and I have been inspired by so much of what was shared. There are so many great things about the Mentorship programs, and deep-diving with a small group of fellow artists is at the top of the list.
What warm words of advice or encouragement do you have for artists looking to be more authentic and true-to-themselves in their art, as you so boldly do?
Your teaching of love what you love is crucial, forget about the ‘shoulds’ - if I feel a spark of excitement then I know it’s coming from an authentic place. And I know this isn’t an easy one, but developing a sense of self enough that the sheer joy and passion to create, or the desire to push it further to see what might happen are the driving forces, not how others are going to react to it. Part of this is being able to sit with the unknown in your practice, don’t try and figure out the end game of a painting, a series, a body of work because that is when the parts of us that want to keep everything safe and acceptable and known can swoop in. To me that’s not where the magic is, and I’m here for the magic.
TIGZ DE PALMA BIO
My name is Tigz De Palma. I am an artist, aesthete, priestess. Making art is one of the best ways I know of to express what moves me, and moves within me.
Currently my art making is an exploration into the threads connecting art, sex, spirit, and is deeply entwined with my lived experience of the Divine Masculine and Feminine archetypes.
Right now in my studio you will most likely find me cutting and pasting elements for mixed-media collage, sketching the female form, and painting with all things watercolor. Though ritual, altar-making, flower arranging, communing with the moon, and a daily embodiment practice are all essential food for my artist soul.
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