Tahnee Lonsdale’s Intertwining Figures Touch on Aspects of Religion and Literature

Tahnee Lonsdale (b. 1982, United Kingdom) is an abstract figurative painter based in Los Angeles. Lonsdale’s vibrant and intertwining figures touch on a variety of topics including religion, literature, art history and even spiritual movements.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from originally and when did art first enter your life?
I’m British. Born in the South of England. I grew up in Sussex with my mum, dad and three sisters. It was a bit of a cultural desert, and more about building dens in the surrounding forests. Great for my imagination though. I think art first entered my life when I was about 16. I had a great art teacher who was very encouraging. Although I do have a distant memory of painting a huge volcano when I was about 4. So maybe that planted the seed?!

Has your work always taken on the style it currently embodies?
No, definitely not. I can remember when I first started experimenting with art, it was very illustrative. Then when I introduced paint, it started out as abstraction, then landscapes. Around 2014 I started to introduce small characters and figures within these scapes. It’s only about 3 years ago that large figuration took center stage. And my newest series come from a place of healing and spirituality. The human experience. Greif and joy. Vulnerability and power. I suppose at a core level, there has always been a dichotomy of opposites.

What’s a day in the studio like for you?
I live in Venice, CA, and my studio is Downtown. So, the day starts in my truck, heading down the freeway, listening to my favorite playlist. Transitioning from parenting into a more open, creative state of mind. Once at the studio I probably sit and stare at the paintings, assessing how I last left them. I have nothing in my studio except a large table and painting stuff, so there is nothing to do except paint! I stick my headphones in, choose the vibe of the day, and work. If I’m in the flow, I won’t stop. Except for door dash lunch delivery! I’m there from around 10 til 7pm. Then I hit he freeway and head back West.

As a side note…I’m often not in the flow, and may spend the day pacing. Distracting myself with podcasts. Meditating multiple times. Crying, calling friends and therapist. And then leaving at the end of the day defeated by it all!!

What’s next for you?
I have a solo show with Night Gallery May 2022 in LA. Potentially NY or London in the Fall. Brazil or HK in 2023. A residency or two coming up. Multiple art fairs.

From where do you draw inspiration?
Artists I love are Henry Moore, Picasso, Matisse, Brancusi, Louise Bourgeois, Dorothea Tanning.

But ultimately it comes from within. I need to connect with a feeling. The work has to come from a place of radical honesty within myself.

What source material do you base your work off of?
I am the source.

Does your work reference any Art Historical movements?
Not intentionally

What is your process like? How do you begin a work?
I always do a base layer of acrylic in Orange, or occasionally yellow.
From there I work off sketches. Drawing loosely onto the canvas with paint. Defining a basic composition. From there anything can happen…

At the end of every interview, we like to ask the artist to recommend a friend whose work you’d love for us to interview next. Who would you suggest?
I love the work of Rema Ghuloum. Friend, healer, spiritual seeker and a super talented painter.