We had the good fortune of connecting with Tori Tinsley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tori, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Before I had my son in 2018, I devoted much of my day to thinking about and executing my art ideas. I would wake up thinking about what had to be done and then would spend most of the day in the studio and then think about what needed to be done the next day before I went to bed. My mind was wide open to making connections between disparate experiences and I could translate these abstract ideas into cohesive forms quickly. After my son was born, many things changed. For some reason, I had planned a solo show 6 months after his birth. This meant lots of time in the studio, but I found my mental focus had shifted away from the work and onto him and making sure he was a happy and healthy baby. After that show, there was a mental block to creating new and meaningful work and I honestly thought it had gone the way side until this past January when the ideas came flowing back. From the encouragement of an artist friend, I started going to a community ceramic studio and trying something new. This helped grease the wheels and also fed back into my painting practice. With Covid, things tensed up again and I stopped creating to care for my son and nephews. Fortunately, daycare reopened and now I’m no longer the substitute nanny. Currently, my son is in daycare everyday until 3 and this affords me the ability to work part-time and also create in my studio again. I feel so complete, blessed, and truly happy getting to split my day in this way – half with my passion for creating and half with my sweet little boy. The work is flowing and I feel I am a better mom because of it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
With the use of dark humor and vibrant color, my work explores the layered emotions and vulnerability inherent in caring for another. I received my BFA from University of Michigan School of Art & Design, my MAAT from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and my MFA from Georgia State University School of Art & Design. Currently, my work can be seen in the Summer 2020 edition of ART PAPERS and I will be participating in the upcoming 2021 Atlanta Biennial at the Atlanta Contemporary. My past awards include an Idea Capital Grant in 2015, a City of Atlanta Emerging Artist Award in 2016, and a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant in 2016.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Currently, we hang out a lot in our backyard which we have spent a lot of time making a little haven in the city. But if we were to go out, we might grab some egg and cheese biscuits at Hell Yeah! Bakery or donuts at Revolution for breakfast and then head to Zoo Atlanta or Grant Park so the kids get some energy out. We might then pick up some tacos at Bell Street Burrito. Eventually we would probably make our way to the patio at El Tesero for dinner or pick up some wine at Three Parks Wine, some Pho at Soba, and head back home to eat.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My wonderful husband Matt Warenzak who has supported me and championed my work from the beginning. My mom who has been the inspiration for much of my work over the years. My sister Jackie Kraft who is always there to lift my spirits. Georgia State University School of Art & Design for helping me start down this path. And my sweet son Cal who is my heart and soul and for whom my new series is dedicated.
Images courtesy of the artist.