Tokyo born photography-based artist, Tawny Chatmon has undergone a creative redirection, within the past 2 years, in relation to her initial signature aesthetic. Originally focusing on photography that showcased ethereal, angelic children, she has since metamorphosed her singular medium and included additional crafty components to investigate an innovative exploration of the multifaceted world of art and design. Using her photographs as a former layer, Chatmon overlap elements like gold leaf, paint, illustration and digital collage to enhance her work into truly exotic pieces.
Acknowledging herself as a self-taught artist, Chatmon has executed her photographic craft for the past 16 years, a field that she turned to after being educated in theatrical arts from the age of 12 to early adulthood. The dramatic arts indubitably contribute to her exciting, contemporary pieces seen at present.
As a child, Chatmon would visit historical castles in Germany (a country that occupied much of her childhood), where she fell in love with the artwork, the romance, rich colors, baroque frames, and chandeliers. “I don’t think I realized that faces like mine were missing from the works I admired until I had children of my own,” said Chatmon. “Although I’m a photographer, not a master painter, I draw inspiration from Renaissance art throughout my portraits. Re-imagining paintings from the renaissance era and re-positioning the beauty of black girlhood, boyhood, childhood, womanhood, etc. in this style of work is my driving force.”
The photography-based artist’s current series of work entitled ‘Not Buried, Planted’, addresses the tantalizing relationship concerning pain and growth. With a sense of despondency, affliction and vitality, where an individual opts to either bloom or wither, translates as Chatmon’s underlying message. This is depicted amid images of children with antique botanical prints intertwined throughout that is abundant in poignancy.
Chatmon ultimately conducts an artistic dexterity that exceeds a simple photography practice and explores a new-fangled photographic manifestation that is devastatingly inspiring.