Friday, December 31, 2010



This was a year of new vision, and new thought. It was a year of growth and understanding. I am grateful for all of my experiences, good and bad, and I look forward to 2011. I know that it will be an amazing year filled with amazing opportunities!

I'll be making every attempt to keep up with this blog. My new website will be launched in January so I'm super excited, and other wonderful opportunities are just around the corner!

Keep on creating!

~Happy New Year ~




"EZE", ©2010

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Monday, November 29, 2010


I know it seems like I'm doing nothing these days, like I've given up on my artistic dreams, but actually, I've been painting like a maniac!


I have wonderful things to share, but I have to wait a bit. I can tell you that I'm finally getting my website redone! Whoopeeee!!

I'm really looking forward to 2011! It will be a fantastic year! Also, I have new, new, new art coming for the new year! Yes!



This is just the beginning! :0)

Toodles!

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I went into my local Hobby Lobby today. I'm strange, I enjoy perusing craft stores. :0) I don't particularly like this store because of the behaviors of some of their employees, but it's nearby, and I can get what I need from time to time.

At the checkout; I was a bit perturbed by the fact that the cashier closed the register while I was right in front of her without saying a word, or apologizing or her inconsiderate behavior...but, I let it go. ~wooooosaaaaaah~ (practicing meditation)

I lived in the north before coming to the south, and it's not peachy keen either. I was lucky enough to have my first experience of being called a 'nigger' in Milwaukee while standing at the bus stop. I looked around for awhile, wondering if they were talking to me, but since I was the only one there, I figured so. ~sigh~ I never knew racism until I came to America. I really did think that people thought that we were all equal! That was my childhood naivete.

I have gotten used to the South, and the fake smiles, and strange stares. As a matter of fact, I think I've been followed around in more stores here than I have up north. I usually end up snapping on somebody because, as nice as I am, I don't like anyone invading my space.

It has been a while though since I've seen blatant racism. The last time was at an Ulta in my town (which I boycotted for nearly 2 years, all by my lonesome). Oooh! {insert angry smiley face}
They offered me gifts, but I refused! No gifts could make up for that nonsense. I won't go further into detail.

Today, as I was checking out, three teenagers walked into the store. Mind you, just before them several other teenagers of the Caucasion persuasion had walked in with backbacks, and bags in tow. Now these young men, enter the store, and they all happen to be of the Afro-American persuasion. The cashier immediately stops them, while everyone is looking, and tells them that they cannot enter the store with their bags--that they must be removed and placed somewhere else. What!!?
Aaah, that's not policy! Didn't I just see Becky with her backpack!?

Damn prejudice folk! Ticked me off. It seemed like the kids didn't even know that what was happening to them was not supposed to happen. You are not a criminal because you are black! You a not a thief because you carry a backpack into a store. What is that teaching our kids? That they deserve to be treated like suspects!?

Hobby Lobby--you suck! You are officially being boycotted! Maybe this time I can get some other folk on board!

Who is with me!? :0) ~yeaaa------a!

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Friday, November 12, 2010


video


Photography by artist Tamara Natalie Madden. Please visit my site HERE to view more work. Styling, makeup, hair, and concept by TNM Photography.©

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Thursday, September 16, 2010



"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
—Maya Angelou





 image © tnm photography 2010

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010


A wonderful site put together by Najee Dorsey and Janelle Dowell. It's an opportunity to meet black artists from all over the US, and some from abroad. We definitely need more sites where we can support one another. There are a lot of well known artists on the site, and many unknowns, as well, but it's a great place for inspiration! Check it out here. My art just happens to be featured this week. ;) To view my page go here.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I used to do a lot of pastel work in the past, but I stopped when I began painting more regularly. Recently, I picked up the pastels again, after a nearly 13 year hiatus. I never forgot how vibrant and rich pastels were. I'm not sure people really know that they are pure pigment! That's why the colors are exceptionally rich. I figured that I would dabble again. I've produced quite a few pieces in the last week, so I'll keep going.


                                                                                     
"Guardian", Pastel © 2010

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Sunday, June 13, 2010


"If you compare yourself with others, you lose - I am the hero in my own life"

Odd Nerdrum, Bilder, 1983.

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Friday, May 28, 2010


 

















Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people
feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight
remains to them?
-Rose Kennedy

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010




Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor, by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well fed.
                                                                   - Herman Melville

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010



A few months back, I participated in a wonderful exhibition with some amazing women. Since I haven't been blogging, I didn't get a chance to post some of the amazing pics from the show. Women artists, particularly 'black' women artists don't get enough shine. We need to appreciated as viable competitors in this art game!
































































Myself and Byrma





















Artist Grace Kisa







































Wade (that's his wife Helena in my painting!)

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Sunday, May 16, 2010


Recently, I came upon some photos that I had taken 18 years ago. I've loved photography as equally as I loved drawing and painting, and when I wasn't painting, photography provided immediate gratification. Back then, my mother allowed me to use her manual camera, and my photography teacher Mr. Zutz, taught us how to handle it. I really, really enjoyed the process of developing film. There was nothing quite like the process of seeing something that you shot come to life.

Sometimes I think that we depend too much on digital photography, and Photoshop, when back in the days we were required to actual learn how to manage the camera, and learn how to use the chemicals to develop. It required more work then... I guess we have to roll with the times because we live in a time of immediacy. I still shoot all of my images using the manual options, that way I can make the decisions about how my images come out.

Check out some of my 'general' photography here:
www.tnmphotography.weebly.com



















© 1992-2010 Tamara Natalie Madden


























Alicia, © 1992-2010 Tamara Natalie Madden






















My family in Jamaica. I took this in 2000.

© 2000-2010 Tamara Natalie Madden





 
















Paycheck? © 2002-2010 Tamara Natalie Madden




























Little boy in Jamaica, 2000. 
© 2000-2010 Tamara Natalie Madden

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Saturday, May 15, 2010


In Living Color: An Interview with Artist Tamara Natalie Madden


Have you ever come across an amazing work of art and thought, “I wonder what the story is behind this piece?” Well, after looking through painter Tamara Natalie Madden’s collection, you will undoubtedly be asking yourself, “What’s the story behind this artist?” Madden’s self-taught gift for painting actually stemmed from a life-threatening kidney illness that she battled as a young girl. Thankfully, Madden conquered the illness thanks to her (at the time) long-lost brother who agreed to a kidney transplant. Painting continued to serve as an expressive tool long after her recovery. Madden may have come to the United States in her teenage years, but the large influence that Jamaica, her mother country, has had on her work can be found in the bright colors and organic textures that she uses. In honor of her astounding project “Never Forgotten,” Madden has recently received a grant from the Puffin Foundation. For more information on Tamara, please head to her website http://www.tamaranataliemadden.com/.
BLACK GIRLS ROCK: How did painting help you battle your illness? Do you consider painting a therapeutic art form?
Tamara: I suffered from a rare form of kidney disease called IGA Nephropathy, in my early twenties. It was a shock to my young mind. Illness is never expected at that age, but I didn’t seek relief until I really began to see the effects of the disease. I had always sketched, and done pastel work, but I really began to delve more deeply into it when I became ill. The dialysis treatments were the most challenging: physically and emotionally.

My saving grace was my sketchbook, and my headphones. They helped me to escape the reality of what I was dealing with, somewhat. Drawing and painting became my only means of freedom during those times. I know that creating art is therapeutic. It soothes the mind and soul, and that’s essential when people are troubled by their difficult realities. I’m not sure where I would be if I didn’t have art as an option.
BLACK GIRLS ROCK: As a young woman, who were some of your mentors and influences?
Tamara: My first influences were my Uncles. Both of the uncles that I interacted with were Rastafarians, and they were both highly creative. My uncle Carl was the most influential because he lived with us. He would make woodcarvings out of scraps, and I would sit and watch him in awe. I was completely fascinated by the process. He also drew pictures in pencil, and that was a source of inspiration, as well.

Many of my influences also came from the books that I read, and the images that I would see on the covers, and sometimes inside of the books. Not only would I study the words, but I also studied the images.  When I got older, and came to America my mother had a friend who was an artist, and her watercolors enthralled me. I have to say though, that one of my greatest mentors was an art teacher in summer school when I was 14. I don’t know his name, but I’ll never forget him. He taught me how to draw faces, albeit Caucasian faces, but faces nonetheless. At the end of the year, he told me that he could see my passion for art, and he encouraged me to keep at it. He gave me all of the left over art supplies. I never forgot that, or him because his encouragement made me believe that the possibility was there.
Black Girls Rock: What are some sources of inspiration for your paintings?
Tamara: Everyday people, hard working people who are often overlooked, inspire me. I began painting them in their literal form; many of them were working, cleaning, carrying baskets, and raising children. As I remembered these people from Jamaica, I remembered how beautiful many of them were internally. They were neighbors, and friends who would share a meal with you, even though they barely had enough to give. They would come by and help you clean, or sit and keep you company during trying times. Many had their own internal struggles that they were dealing with, but once they opened their mouths, they talked about their blessings, and they praised God relentlessly.
 
These people are often judged and looked down upon by society, and I found that when I painted them, the same thing happened; they were judged and looked down upon. I decided that it was important for them to be seen for who they were intrinsically. The kings and queens are my interpretation of those people and their internal & eternal beauty. The paintings make you stop and stare and wonder who these people are, when before, no one gave them a second look.  Beauty is so much more than physicality, and though my paintings may capture a beautiful essence, that essence belongs to the soul of the people that I’m inspired by. The birds are a personal symbol of my freedom from dialysis, and illness.
Black Girls Rock: What has been your greatest challenge in your career?
Tamara: The sacrifice. Being an artist requires a lot of sacrifice. It requires patience, and faith. It can be a challenging journey with lots of bumps along the way. Unfortunately, in the art world, I’m not just considered an artist; I am ‘black’, then ‘woman’, then ‘artist.’ All of those titles present there own unique set of obstacles. In addition, to trying to meander my way through the visual art world, while being taken seriously, and not loosing my integrity; I have to be an educator. It’s essential that the new generation of black children learn about the arts, and the value of the arts. They need to understand that art is an investment, which will benefit them for many generations. They also need to know that art is the keeper of history in many cases; it’s an essential doorway to their ancestors.
Black Girls Rock: Do you have any advice for young women of color interested in the arts?
Tamara: My advice is to never stop dreaming, never stop believing, and never stop challenging yourself. You have to strive to achieve your personal best. Don’t ever compare yourself or your work to others because no one in this world can do what you do. Each person is truly unique, so you must embrace that.
The other piece of advice is to throw your ego out of the window, and stomp on it! :) In order to grow, you have to take some level of criticism. It may hurt, but it makes you better at your craft. Art is not a business for the faint of heart, so if you feel like you’ve got the gift, the willpower, and the faith, then dive on in…and forget the life jacket, it’s sink or swim. My mantra: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I haven't been blogging for a while. I've been on an artistic hiatus, of sorts. I have much to say...so I'll be back on the grind, shortly.

Sometimes we need to be silent.



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Friday, February 19, 2010


While riding through the city today; I stopped abruptly because I saw a horse drawn wagon. The wagon itself was locked within the gates of what appeared to be a junkyard. That quick glimpse of it made me excited and I wanted to shoot it. I have always had a fascination with those since I came to America. They are often romanticized, and I thought that maybe one day I would get the opportunity to ride in one. As I got to the gates to take a shot of the carriage, I was startled by the movement of a horse! This horse was not attached to the carriage, but it was rummaging through junk like a dog. It was eating something that was seemingly unnatural...nothing like hay. I looked around shocked, and soon spotted another one, standing in the corner looking sad and desolate, it's furry brown coat looking tattered and ragged. I had never seen such a thing, 'Urban Horses!' Soon, a chicken came by...

 What a sad, disgusting and unnatural environment these poor horses live in. I wanted to set them free. Maybe I'm spoiled because I live in the country. The horses here are beautiful and well taken care of, with lots of land to run around on and lots of fresh air, and hay to eat. A far cry from these urban horses, who were surrounded by tires, old cars, garbage, and a myriad of other things...

and what was up with the chickens?

 i digress.

what a day.






























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Friday, January 29, 2010


Stop. Take a moment, take a breath...a deep one. Now begin counting your blessings. We don't often do that. I am, by nature, a grateful person. I appreciate the little things...the smallest gifts, like the dirt, and the first flowers springing to life. I'm grateful that I grew up the way that I did because it molded me into the woman that I am today. I'm grateful for my grandmother who taught me that a little goes a long way and that life is not about 'having'.

So I find less reason to complain. When I look in my pantry and wonder where all of the food has gone; I'm thankful because I have the money to replenish it. When I get in my car and drive down the street; I'm undeniably grateful for the fact that I have that luxury, and that I don't have to walk everywhere because there are no buses in my city.

Everyday is a new one that abounds with life, light and spirit. When I was growing up in Jamaica, we always awoke to the sounds of the rooster crowing and the beautiful sunrise. We were surrounded by the sounds of nature's music, and boy did it sound good. We found reason to smile in the midst of struggle, and our spirits were resolute. I will never become lost in this world. I will never be driven by greed and power, and I will always find a way to uplift the poor and forgotten.

Let's attempt to find less reason to complain and more reasons to be thankful. Remember that our people are suffering all over the world because of greed and carelessness...and always remember to give, however you can.

-Selah "Let those with eyes see and with ears hear."

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010


"Lamentation pour Haïti," a mixed media painting created specifically to offer fans of Tamara's artwork an opportunity to help the people of Haiti.

A Caribbean woman and individual concerned with the human plight in general, Tamara was particularly overcome with grief by the initial and ongoing devastation and suffering in Haiti. Moved by the COUNTLESS children suffering as a result of injury, loss of parents, family, limbs, and life....she decided to donate to Save the Children, an internationally recognized charitable foundation with a current, specific focus on the urgent and long-term needs of Haiti's babies and children.

Many people love Tamara's work and would love to own it, but often say it's unaffordable. Just like many of us want to do *something* to help Haiti's inhabitants. Here's a perfect opportunity to do both at once.

50% tax-deductible, signed, numbered, limited edition (of 300) prints of "Lamentation pour Haïti," are available now in two sizes: 11" x 14" ($50) and 16" x 20" ($100). They are printed on hahnemuhle photo rag paper (300 GSM weight).

Contact Tamara directly (with your address and phone number) at thearttist@gmail.com to purchase your print today. All payments will be processed through Paypal. Shipping not included in purchase price.

(Lamentation pour Haïti, ©2010 by Tamara Natalie Madden)

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Saturday, January 2, 2010





Zenith of Zebulon 30x40 © 2009

Last piece of '09. Please forgive the glare and blurred image. I was having difficulty shooting this.

































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