Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A road going somewhere special: Exclusive Interview with Tessar Lo

Tessar Lo is just a down right nice guy; maybe it’s the Canadian in him that gives him such a strong appeal and that soft character. Tessar is the type of guy you could just sit around and chat about life with for hours, and that’s exactly what we did for this interview. Tessar Lo was born in Indonesia, he moved to Toronto, Canada to start a new life and just over a year ago he has settled in Downtown Los Angeles, California in a studio-loft which he shares with the rest of the Project Gallery boys.
(Left: Changing)

TZ: So are you planning on settling in the LA area?
Tessar: I’m not one for permanence, things change all the time. I’m all about change, about progression, who knows where I will be in a few years from now. I do know I want to remain in close contact with everyone I have met out here. If and when I get out of LA, I know I will have learned a lot from the people I’ve met, there are some great people in Los Angeles.

TZ: How did you get involved with Project: Gallery?
Tessar: I actually graduated last year and I was really fortunate to be featured on Fecal Face. Beau (owner and director of Project: Gallery) called me and had me send out some pieces to try and sell, which turned out to do well. I was also doing a show with Fecal Face in San Francisco, so he came up and kind of gave me the run down on LA. He has done a lot to bring me out here and accommodate my needs, so I’m with Project so I can help accommodate his needs as a gallery owner and as a business.

TZ: It definitely seems it has been a great move for your art career; the Project team has grown to receive international attention. So you feel confident at the moment with your direction?
Tessar: Yeah definitely, Beau has really helped all of us develop as artists. He is really encouraging and keeps me in check. He is not like most, he lets us do whatever we feel like doing, so as painters we feel confident we can really shine, it gives us a fresh and honest attitude to our work and we can really discover who we are as artists.

TZ: Lets speak a bit about your inspirations, where do you get your inspirations and how do you project those ideas in to your work?
Tessar: Inspiration is a funny thing; it comes from everywhere and is just so open ended. You can go on for days. What it is for me, is emotions, different possibilities for experiences and different physical places, I think it’s my desire to communicate those things by triggering our individual experiences. To communicate but also to have people relate to them through that communication. What you’re painting or drawing turns one on enough for them to talk to you about it. It’s about that sharing. In my short life, I’ve been blessed to have delved into different kinds of mediums, paint, dry media, printmaking, etc.. Right now what interests me is that parallel between the different kinds of media and the array of life’s experiences and emotions.

TZ: I like what you said about communicating with the viewer, about building up that experience.
Tessar: Yeah I think that all artists want that, I mean most artist want to communicate with the viewer. Don’t you think?

TZ: Well maybe some artists just paint to create what they want, without thinking about what the viewer will get from it. Maybe they never think about that second step, the outsider’s perspective, they just paint for themselves.
Tessar: Then I guess personally, I’ve always felt that I want to connect with people through my work. (Right: Dark Pop Whole)

What I’m saying about the communicating thing is that there are just some things you can’t say with words. I think that’s why we create in other ways, we don’t have the words to communicate or to express ourselves- so we paint. And when you communicate something through your work and someone else kind of gets it, then you share that niche of your life. It’s a weird intimacy, especially when they really get what you’re going after. You don’t have to use words to communicate then and that’s what I’m trying to get at with my work. That’s what I think is really worthwhile.

TZ: What artists can you say that have influenced you or helped you develop your style?
Tessar: Artists that influence me, oh shit.. There’s so many…

TZ: I know it’s a hard question, well anyone you could name that helped form your path?
Tessar: My dad is a photographer and also a martial artist, his influence on me is a lot around my mental state and life philosophies. Sam Weber taught me the value of hard work, he told me in a burrito joint in Manhattan that even if you have great talent, it’s useless if you don’t work hard. He really kind of put me in check, to understand that I need to work hard if I want to go far in life. My mom has influenced me in a way that is not necessarily artistic; but she has always told me to take risks.

TZ: So what’s your process of creation? How do you start a piece?
Tessar: I do a lot of sketchbook work but a lot of it is just getting those ideas out, it’s just the physical action. Sometimes to work out compositions, sometimes it’s just to get it out. I have images that kind of bug me and I need to get them out.

TZ: Do you have a hard time sleeping? (above:Distinction gallery)
Tessar: Yeah, all the time.

TZ: What hours of the day are you most productive, when do you prefer to paint?
Tessar: Here in the studio, I work all day, From 12 onward... [laughs] It’s a bit of this and that, the best time for me to work is after around 8 or 9 pm. Sometimes the studio is dead silent, we just paint till like 4 or 5 in the morning.

TZ: So what sizes do you like to work on? Any favorites?
Tessar: There is this preciousness to smaller pieces but in general I love to work big; right now 36 by 36 is the perfect size for me.

TZ: What are your future dreams or objectives?
Tessar: I basically just want to be happy and to get by. With that said, I’m living the life I want to live. I’m my own boss and my own monster. It’s a good feeling. You learn that you can’t really control anything anyway- things come, or they don’t.

My main goal is to just keep making the work I need to and to let my work teach me about myself.

(left: Girl at dusk)

To view more of Tessar Lo's work visit:



Anonymous said...

hey ho tessar lo! great interview

Nate Williams said...

great work! great interview!

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