Haute Dallas Secrets with Artist Tatyana Uspenskaya-Murphy

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Contemporary and Figurative Artist Tatyana Uspenskaya-Murphy

Tatyana Uspenskaya-Murphy was born in Tver, Russia. Having an early affinity for art and a vibrant, youthful imagination she vividly remembers herself as a four year girl, sitting on a tiny bench in a corner of a room with a huge album perched upon her lap doodling for hours. Throughout her childhood and into her teens, she continued to develop her artistic style through private studies at a local Art Academy and went on to win numerous art competitions. Respecting her parent’s wishes for a traditional academic education, she completed a Master’s degree in English and Literature. Today she credits her parents with the major role they played in establishing and exposing her to the art world and the development of her own artistic viewpoint and vision.

Tatyana’s passion for art never left her and upon moving to the United States reemerged with the encouragement and help of her husband. After her long hiatus from the canvas, she felt pressured and doubtful of the capabilities she had as a true artist. Her first work was a portrait of her mother, that once completed brought along with it a flood of confidence and reassurance. It was a moment of rebirth and she spent days and hours on end painting, non stop. It was not long before her family and friends gathered around her encouraging her to become a full time artist.

Her career now spans two decades and has evolved into a variety of art genres including, sculpture, interior design installations, writing and fashion design. Although on canvas, Tatyana predominantly works with oils, she experiments with mixed media for an added texture and depth. Her body of works do not limit themselves to only one genre and range from contemporary to figurative works of art. Her notable works include portraits of renown jeweler, Mr. David Yurman, Mayor of Dallas Mike Rawlings and Mr. Robert Dedman Sr., founder of ClubCorp of America.

Passionate about supporting her community and philanthropic endeavors, Tatyana has donated a one-of-kind clothing piece to DIFFA Dallas and a piece of artwork to Art From the Heart Celebrity Art Auction and Benefit. Her biggest inspiration and goal is that her art has the ability to evoke feeling and become a mirror to the joy that she experiences because of it. Her beautifully executed art work has become a legacy and testament of the immense power that non verbal communication has, in its ability to touch and inspire generations to come. Haute Living had the honor of interviewing artist Tatyana Murphy and understanding more about her artistic journey and where it will lead her next.

How would you describe yourself as an artist? What is it that you would like to convey/communicate with your work? I think that working in a representational style it is exceptionally important to remember that showing likeness (whether of a scene or a person) is not the highest priority. The goal is always to convey a feeling. A painting is never a success if it doesn’t touch the viewer. In my works I attempt to show emotion, and also evoke an emotional response.

What are your artistic influences? History of art was part of my academic studies. There are countless influences that sometimes I cannot even name myself. I am told that some of my paintings reflect Renaissance styling, and others resemble impressionism. But if I have to name one particular master, it would be Rembrandt without any doubt.

 What are your thoughts on the artistic scene and environment in Dallas? How do you see it evolving? In the 20 years of me living in Dallas, I can say that the changes are impressive and on-going. We see organizations and platforms that allow artists and art-lovers to meet, and for the young artists to show their work.  It is definitely a lot more accepting of new ideas and people. It was a lot more rigid in the past.  

What is your medium preference? I work predominantly in oil. It is definitely my medium of choice.  However, I have experimented with texture, and I have started a new line of works, including portraits, in black acrylic. This technique produces strong and visually appealing images while requiring less time to produce.

How would you classify your genre? Contemporary, Figurative.

Who is your favorite artist? Why? Rembrandt. I am fascinated by his work with light. The high contrast of shadow and light is something that has always drawn me to his works. I am lucky to have seen many of his paintings in original – it is an unbelievable opportunity to see them in person and study the brushwork.

Is there a place in the world that inspires you? It is difficult to name a particular place, but last year I finally visited Venice. Seeing Saint Marco’s Square at sunset was an unbelievable experience.

 Is there a creative medium that you would like to pursue but haven’t yet? If so what is it? I have worked with fabric, clay, even stone… I have seen some unbelievable sculptural installations done with paper. Perhaps someday I will try 3D work in paper, but it is on my wish list, not so much in actual plans.

What was your favorite commission and why? You won’t believe it, but I painted a huge painting of Venice several years before I visited the city. It was a commission for a VERY upscale house.  The owner loved Venice and wanted to have a painting of it in his dining room. I was given a few inspirational images by him, but otherwise it was pretty open. I studied hundreds of photographs and then painted a 36”x48” view of San Giorgio Maggiore as seen from Saint Marco’s square. I remember being quite nervous about being able to convey a feeling of the city without ever being there. Well, when I finally visited Venice, I was very pleased with myself – I did manage to capture the colors and the spirit of the place.

What would be your dream project? I would love to work with a family and paint a gallery of portraits. I love painting portraits. Getting to know a family, recognizing each person as a part of a larger whole, recognizing the dynamic of their relationships – all this fascinates me. Being able to understand it and represent it in portraits would be a great opportunity.  It’s like putting a puzzle together – where every member “fits” as part of a big picture.

Can you describe a single habit that you strongly believe attributes to your success? Schedule, schedule and schedule… Nothing in life just happens. Time is the most valuable asset. I plan my work, my leisure and my social activities. When something is planned – stick with it, even if you are tired or stressed. When you relax too much, you miss opportunities.  Determination is not enough – the road to your goals is long, and every little step must count.

What advice would you have given yourself as an emerging artist? Don’t doubt yourself, and work twice as hard. Also, don’t be afraid to tell people about yourself and your work.  Modesty is absolutely not helpful when you want to get noticed.

Whats next on your agenda? I have a very big and ambitious project in mind. It is not in the works yet, but I have made a decision to pursue it. I am planning to work on a gallery of portraits titled “Gallery of Heroes” for Texas Military History Museum. I know it will take a while to accomplish it, since I have to allocate time for this work in between commissioned pieces, but nevertheless, it is my next major endeavor. My plan is to do a minimum of twelve portraits as part of this gallery.

Where were you born: Russia

How long have lived in Dallas:  It will be 20 years this May.

Occupation: Artist, Designer, Published Author

Favorite Restaurant: The French Room

Best Sushi: Sushi Zushi

Best Italian: Maggiano’s

Best Sunday brunch: Q de Cheval

Best place for a power business meeting: Lawry’s Prime Rib, the Tower Club

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? Mansion at Turtle Creek, Omni for business

Favorite shopping venue/boutique: Nieman Marcus

Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches: Directly from manufacturers at JCK trade show since I work in jewelry industry

Best Spa: Four Seasons 

Favorite Charity Event:  DIFFA Dallas

Favorite Cultural Event: The DMA Art Ball

Favorite Cultural Institution: The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture

Best Museum/Exhibit:  The Meadows Museum

Describe your city in three words: Bright, Thriving, Exhilarating

All-around favorite spot in Dallas:  Dallas Arboretum

Best Aspect of Dallas: You can find the best of everything: shopping, food, culture. All the best conveniences and services the thriving economy can provide!

Biggest Accomplishment: Creating a successful career in my new country after moving to the US from Russia

Artist Tatyana Uspenskaya-Murphy presents Dallas, Mayor Mike Rawlings with his portrait.
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