In a time full of expression, and with the addition of the Internet, art is even more accessible than ever before. Despite this art is being underfunded in education, and publicly. We speak to Tai Greaves about how art has affected her life, and what the future holds for both the arts and artists.
What is an average day like for you?
I don’t tend to have an average day. I have left work and I’m in between London, Nottingham, and Liverpool so my days usually involve a lot of travelling, creating and cuddling my cats.
When did you first discover your love for art, and why do you make art now?
I’ve had a love for art ever since I can remember, it’s been hard to avoid as I come from a family of musicians and artists. It wasn’t until I was removed from my GCSE art class, and moved to BTEC for being too “out there”, that I realised I have an urge to rebel, and art will be my means of doing so. That’s still why I do it now, I’m pretty introverted so making art is my way of screaming and shouting from my bedroom. It’s a great escape for me and helps me not think about things I probably should be thinking about.
What is your greatest inspiration, and how do you overcome art block?
Tim Burton helped me a lot as a child, but nowadays I have so many different styles of art and creativity, that I find my inspiration in music and my own personal experiences. Artist block is something that I can’t escape, I tend to just force myself into creating absolutely anything; poetry, music, art, until it goes away. If anyone knows anymore efficient ways let me know.
There is a constant evolution with art and activism, especially with technology and social media. It’s easier now than ever to put forward a message, wrong or right, we can show millions of people at once. I find this very daunting and it can put a lot of pressure on us creatives to always have a message behind our work in order to relate to life, which is never a good thing. I think art, all forms, is the most effective way to give humanity the push it needs.
Art is often seen as something that is more accessible for the middle class. Have you found there to be a class divide?
That’s difficult. It’s definitely easier to be a rich artist. Working full time gets in the way. But I think in terms of mind-set, there’s no divide between classes. Anyone can create, and I have found that if you try hard enough, the time and the resources are always there. Personally, I prefer the product of us lower class creatives, it’s a lot more interesting.
In education there is a much greater focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects. Do you think the arts deserve more funding, and do you think the arts contribute to society?
Art needs more funding. I struggled doing art in school because there wasn’t any focus on it, but it was the only subject that didn’t fill me with anxiety. Everyone should be given the tools to create, and I know not everyone has it in them to be creative, but not everyone has it in them to be academic either. It plays a huge contribution to society. It’s productive and it makes life interesting. When its someone’s only escape it can not only save them but it can also produce something incredible.
What advice would you give people wanting to pursue a career in the arts?
Don’t waste time. I’ve done too much of that. Also don’t let anything hold you back, no person or obstacle is important enough to stop you from creating.
How do you find opportunities?
I’m quite lucky to have the people in my life that I do. There’s always something creative going on around me. Even if it’s not my own project. I also create my own opportunities by screaming to everyone that I’m an artist. I should probably get on top of social media more, there’s a lot of great opportunities out there I’m just rubbish at Internet stuff.
I work with so many mediums, acrylic paints have been my favourite for all my abstract art. But I love collaging, the old school way, cutting out cool pictures from old sci-fi magazines really does it for me. Printing is also a big one for me, anything where I can get my hands dirty I’m down for. I’ve attempted the digital side of things but without the help of someone very close to me, I can’t get my head around it.
I’d love to say I spend all my spare time creating art but I just love to go on adventures. I’m always travelling, going to museums and galleries, and insanely long walks. But mainly I listen to a huge amount of music, and dabble in making some too. If I’m not creative myself I always surround myself around creativity.
You can find Tai on instagram here