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Meet Elaine Tanski

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elaine Tanski.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
As far as I can remember, I’ve always found solace in making art. I recall feeling such a sense of relief as a kid when restaurants had crayons available, because the act of creating always put me at ease. In a lot of ways, I am still that kid coloring on tablemats, working to silence the mind and exterior dramas through my art practice.

My art practice has always been a tool for me to use in order to enter into a state of presence, and I’m continually grateful that it is something available to me that I can activate at any time in order to feel a greater sense of peace. For a long time, I was a competitive athlete, and when my knees blew out time and time again (4 times to be exact) I found that making art became increasingly important to my mental well-being. Throwing myself into art produced the same feeling of timelessness and flow that I felt while being on a soccer field or running in a race.

Please tell us about your art.
My art, when it feels its most authentic to me, is produced in a state of flow. I love the work I create when my thinking mind is kept at bay and the process becomes surrendered to intuition. These are the pieces that I will keep and allow to be seen by others, and my hope is that the sense of well-being and connection that the making of the work produced for me will be then also somehow be felt by the viewer.

I’ve never felt married to a single medium, but primarily create 2-dimensional work using a variety of techniques and materials. While I was in grad school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), I fell in love with the Fiber and Material Studies Department where I appreciated learning about the expanded fields of traditional craft practices. I’ve since moved back to Oakland, California, where I am further employing traditional craft techniques such as natural dyeing, embroidery, and quilting into my art practice which was previously primarily centered around the traditions of painting, drawing and printmaking.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing artists today?
Personally, my greatest challenge has been time. I had a professor once named Robert Reed who made the statement that “time is the artist’s greatest ally”. In the midst of all the pressures of life, it can sometimes feel like a luxury to have time in the studio. I’ve come to a point of realizing that making art for me is a necessity and not a frivolous luxury, so I’ve been improving on carving my life out in a way that prioritizes time for my art practice among all the other important elements of survival in this day and age.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
The best way to follow and to support my practice is through Instagram (@etanski) and through my website (

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Bridgette Thornton
Dustin Ryan Yu
San Leandro Next

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