Why NY? Artist Profile: Tamara Garvey

Walking through the Chelsea Market concourse has been even sweeter than usual since our group art show, "Why NY?" went up last month.  

As the title suggests, artists from our New York A&F family answered the question, "Why NY?" through various mediums. It's been a pleasure hearing the stories behind the artists and their work and to get a glimpse into a different, more personal side to vendors that shoppers may not always get to witness at the markets. 

We enjoyed this aspect of the show so much, we thought we would ask the artists to share some more about their work and their time in NY.  For the remainder of the show we'll be profiling featured artists who we've had the pleasure of interviewing. 


Tamara Garvey

Were you born in NY?
I moved to NY six years ago, from Savannah, GA, where I went to art school.  I had never had a lifelong burning dream to be a New Yorker; it just gradually occurred to me that living in NYC was an experience I wanted to have at some point in my life, just so that I could always know that I had tried it.  And I figured, I wasn't getting any younger so I might as well take the plunge.

Has NY inspired your art or creative process?  How?
The biggest adjustment I've had to make here relates to how small our living spaces are. There's not enough room to leave my art supplies in a dedicated place in my apartment, out and ready to go anytime I feel like using them, the way I used to in Savannah. So over time I've had to develop ways of storing things systematically, so that when I'm inspired to make something I'll be able to get my workspace ready as quickly as possible.

What is the most significant change to you in NY?
I always thought I was very independent and proactive about making connections and seeking out opportunities, but NY forces you to a whole new level of that. Most people here work a lot and are very driven, so you really need to be able to advocate for yourself and be assertive, or else you miss out on opportunities... and time seems to go by more quickly here! 

How does your piece answer the question, "Why NY?" 
My "Wild birds never like cages" piece is a random line from a play I once read – "The Master Builder" by Ibsen – that made me stop short and think. I knew right away I wanted to turn it into an artwork.  I think it's a phrase that's both dreamy and energizing, and is the perfect description for being in transition or making a big change in your life.  For me that definitely describes the act of uprooting my life to move to NYC.

Tamara Garvey is a maker, designer and illustrator living in Ridgewood, NY.  She's a regular at Artists & Fleas' Williamsburg market, where you can find her work every weekend.