Tara Cooper’s art practice embraces an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach, combining media from print, ceramics and film to installation and book arts. Her subject matter draws from creative non-fiction (i.e. based on a true story), with an eye for graphic design, pattern, and poetics. Tara is an Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Waterloo. She’s also a Director of CAFK+A (Contemporary Art in the Public Space), and a member of the Waterloo Potters Workshop, serving on the executive of both organizations. Tara lives in Kitchener with her husband, Terry O’Neill, and their dog, Pickles.
I often ask my students: Are you a PANTSER or a PLOTTER? Pantsers (i.e. seat of your pants) can’t stand planning ahead. They jump right in. Plotters plan. They make sketches, maquettes, and prototypes. I tell them that neither approach is right nor wrong. What it’s about is knowing yourself and playing to your strengths. So, I’m a pantser and the outcome of this propensity is that I like learning new processes. I like mash-ups. It’s all of the “aha” moments—when you notice if that happened because of this, then what happens if I do that.