Tasli Shaw is a marine naturalist and artist working on Vancouver Island, Canada.
She has spent countless hours observing the marine mammals of the Salish Sea and uses these observations in the studio to convey their individual personalities and conservation issues, while weaving together visual stories old and new with scientific knowledge. Tasli currently splits her time between the studio, whale watching, and contributing to marine mammal photographic identification projects.
AIP: How would you describe your style of work and what is your preferred medium to work in?
TS: My style is a blend of natural history illustration and imaginative realism, which I produce using a combination of either digital painting or water colour. Spending time around wildlife, be it the birds in estuaries or Killer Whales cruising through the Strait of Georgia, inspires me to create art that tell their stories or comment on how we view the natural world.
AIP: What were you first steps toward selling your art and what type of setting was this in, a gallery, art & crafts show, market, on-line or elsewhere?
TS: Showing work on-line was the first, and still most crucial step in opening my art to an audience. Being a classically introverted artist from a small town, utilizing the internet (primarily Tumblr and Instagram) was the most effective way to build an audience. No matter what niche your works falls into, their will be an audience for it on-line.
Artwork by Tasli Shaw
AIP: Why do you choose Art Ink to print your reproductions, and what products to you order from us?
TS: Choosing small, local companies is important to my ethos, and Art Ink was able to answer any question I had before placing an order for an oversized fine art print. It was a win-win-win.
AIP: If you could look back in time and meet yourself when you first started making an income as an artist; what would be the most valuable piece of advice you would give yourself?
TS: Perhaps this is far to corny and obvious, but we could all be reminded to just be ourselves. Don’t try to make art that you think other people want to see; make art that you enjoy, and the audience will follow.
AIP: What are your favorite methods for marketing yourself as a self representing artist?
TS: Hosting and participating in demonstrations and workshops is by far the most fun way to market your skills. You make connections with like minded people and get to share your passions.
AIP: Can you tell us an event or occasion which excited you the most, with regards to getting your art ‘out there’ for people to see?
TS: The first mural commission I ever did when I was in my first year of art school at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. It was for a whale watching company at Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria, and I was lucky enough to have lots of freedom in terms of how the final piece would look. I ended up painting a family of Killer Whales swimming through a bull kelp forest, but the piece was extra meaningful because it is a family of Killer Whales that I know very well. After rendering their likenesses as closely as possible (down to their eyepatches) it made me realize how my knowledge of wildlife is a unique element of my work, and I have continued to follow that path with my work ever since.
AIP: Where can our followers and your patrons find your work, and keep up to date with your new creations?
AIP: Any other comments you would like to share?
TS: No fish, no blackfish!
Thank-you so much Tasli for sharing your story with us, we love your detailed and colourful work!