Have to Create

Emily Tanaka

Always an artist, I spent my childhood exploring the woods outside our rural Indiana home, climbing trees to get a different perspective than I could have on the ground. Those early years taught me a great deal about the connection between beauty and simplicity. As often happens, small towns eventually feel too constraining and in my 20s, I migrated to Chicago where I landed a graphic design job in educational publishing. The artist that lives inside me found herself inspired by the dizzying chaos of the city and I began showing  my art at pop-up events, outdoor shows, and in cafes. Eventually, I met the person who would later become by husband, but he lived across the country in Southern California. In 2001, I was once again ready for a change and I made the trek to Los Angeles to be with him. I continued my design career focusing on educational technology products, but also started to show my art in TAG gallery in Santa Monica. Starting a family brought new roles and outlets for my creative drive. Like sitting atop those majestic trees as a kid, I’ve come to have a different perspective. Those years, experiences, and roles have molded me, and molded my art into what it is today. I hope that my work gives you a glimpse into who I am  and how I see our world.

-Emily Tanaka

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