Tamara Rafkin 

Artist Statement


I believe people are connected to their spaces. The cultures and societies we as humans have formed are mirrored in our cities, towns, and landscapes. The way we have constructed them is an interaction with our feelings and beliefs. As the outward personification of interior thoughts and feelings, our spaces have become visible stories of whom we are, constructed to comfort and form the societies they encapsulate.

This belief was instilled in me by growing up in Charleston, SC, a town that holds its history as identity. Architecture and the city itself act as a main character in the plays of the lives that occur within it.

Growing up there also attuned me to the idea of place as a feeling and color as expression. It’s a pallet that influences my work, sometimes without me even paying it notice. The city itself was a steady factor in a disrupted upbringing, a salve that nurtured me, giving me the interest in the the way other people react to their spaces, how they manipulate them and project their own story upon those spaces.

My work can seem documentary at first glance, but it is about the feeling held in the place or image. Working not just as a visual narrative, but a larger metaphor for a discourse about emotion. It goes beyond just a social observance on my part, engaging the viewer in a dialogue about how I was feeling while in the location and how they are feeling in relation to the artwork.

As I have continued creating, my work has expanded into other mediums including ceramic and installation projects. I find the idea about “place as a metaphor for feelings” is getting stronger and I am interested to see where this evolution will take me expanding my discussion of how we relate to our environments, each other and ourselves.