Artists We Dig: Tazja Kahanamoku
The newest addition to the list of Girls Girl Club Artists We Dig is Tazja Kahanamoku of Makawao, Hawaii!
You can find Tazja’s gorgeous handmade jewelry and dreamy paintings in her Etsy shop, and we’re so glad she took the time to sit down with GGC to answer some questions about her art, her life, and her experience as a Girls Girl!
Girls Girl Club: You have a unique artistic style. What inspires you to feature mainly women in your art? Are these self-portraits?
Tazja Kahanamoku: I find myself painting mainly women due to the fact I am well-connected to the subject, but unlike with me, there is an androgynous flare to [my art]. Playing with sexual identity creates inspiration for me. I guess you could suggest they are like self-portraits, like different degrees of my own self. My goal is to create a palette of colors that speak well in a room and to the eye and that it is bold with an image that could swing both ways. I’m not truly responsible for how it may make you feel, but the importance of it is that it made you respond on some level. Maybe that is the true art of art.
GGC: Have you faced issues in either your personal life or in the art community due to being female?
TK: I think every person has issues trying to play the game of life. I happen to be female; it’s the costume and the sex organs I’ve been dealt, though I have never accepted the limitation that I am “just a girl.” I have, however, been attacked for being mixed race. I have been shamed, I have been bullied, I have been told who I was by people who didn’t know me, I have been physically abused by someone I loved. Living through those things has only made my grip tighter on the love I have for my own life and my son.
GGC: Growing up what was your experience with other girls?
TK: The first time I had issues with girls, I was 4 or 5 years old. A boy liked me, and I guess another girl liked him. She pretended to be nice to me and ended up spitting on me because he liked me. That has been a trending thing throughout my life. I’ve never understood the eagerness to feel wanted by someone who hasn’t shown interest and who doesn’t see you, but I think that is instilled in girls, to need to feel wanted or desired, like validation is what gives you self-worth. I find it disappointing.
GGC: What female artists do you admire?
TK: I admire artists like Nina Simone, Frida Kahlo, Anais Nin, Fiona Apple, Iman , Grace Jones, Yayoi Kusama, and Francoise Gilot.
GGC: Do you agree that empowered women, empower women?
TK: I do believe empowered women empower other women, but you have to love yourself enough to use that power and pass it forward.
GGC: If you could share one thing you have learned twith the newest generation of female artists, what would it be?
TK: Do not fear your own self. If you stand firmly in yourself, no one can knock you down. Your art is telling its story; no one else can tell it. Allow yourself to hear advice, but learn to figure out where to put it. There are no limits, be fierce! You limit yourself, if you believe naysayers. I believe in being honest — you never know who you are empowering or saving. Living your truth…now that’s art.