Arts at Oakland 2021: An Interview with Artist Tori Tinsley
Arts at Oakland 2021, happening May 21 through 31, showcases the work of six regional artists across Oakland Cemetery via a self-guided map. The artistic installations will highlight the hidden stories that can be found within the gardens and architecture of Oakland Cemetery. Purchase tour tickets.
We recently interviewed Arts at Oakland artist Tori Tinsley about her work and her inspiration:
Please tell me a little about yourself and your background as an artist.
I grew up drawing and took weekend art classes at the Atlanta College of Art & Design. I studied Painting & Drawing at the University of Michigan, but fell in love with teaching art in the prison system and went on to earn a Master’s in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After practicing art therapy for five years, my mother developed a degenerative brain disease, and I decided to use my time to focus on her and my own artwork to explore this immense loss. I returned to school at Georgia State University and developed ways to express this experience through visual means. My Hug series came out of this exploration and continues to resurface in my work today.
Do you have a preferred medium? If so, why?
Primarily I am a painter and paint with acrylics on panel. When I paint, it is an extension of myself both physically and mentally. I love the way paint moves and feels as it glides across a surface and how different colors interact. I lose myself in the process and feel the most complete as a human being.
What influences your artwork?
Interpersonal relationships primarily influence the subject matter of my work, but I am constantly looking at other artists and how they use color and composition to learn how to best execute a painting. Also, I love exploring color relationships and look at both art and the world around me to influence my color choices.
How was your piece for Arts at Oakland 2021 inspired by Oakland Cemetery?
Love Lost, Love Found was inspired by the many memorial sculptures and buildings around Oakland Cemetery. To me, the memorials, both big and small, serve as physical representations of the immense loss experienced by those who are left behind. My work of an embrace between two figures embodies the desire to physically hold onto the ones we love and keep them with us as long as we can.