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Tiera May

Artist Bio + Statement

Tiera May is an occult artist and musician from northern California living in the PNW. Raised by bohemian parents, May’s early life was heavily influenced by the counterculture ethos of the free spirits that surrounded her. She went on to study studio art, art history and applied art & design at Sierra College. May continued her formal education in fine art at CSU Chico before the onset of the pandemic at which point she ceased her academic studies, returned to a remote location in the Sierra Nevada Foothills and devoted her energy solely to developing her voice as an artist. During this time, May began working on a series of analog collages inspired by the symbolism of the Tarot - a divinatory card game dating back to the mid-15th century. As she delved into the Tarot’s rich allegorical history, a complex visual narrative emerged within these works; a language that is distinctly archaic but also holds space in the present; a story that honors the old gods and the new; a voice that speaks to the human psyche - not with words but with symbols. The overwhelmingly positive response to these artworks encouraged May to expand the scope of the project from the original 22 cards to all 78 found in a standard tarot deck. Two and a half years later, she debuted the large-scale collages in an art exhibit alongside the release of the Ritual Tarot, a 78-card analog collage tarot deck created from the scaled-down versions of her art. May recently organized and launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the third edition printing of the cards and has just released her new Oracle deck. Her work has been featured at the Nevada City Film Festival, the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Blue Line Art Gallery, the Museum of Northern California Art, B-So Gallery and 1078 Gallery.

Artist Practice

My art explores myth-making through hand-cut collage. The tactile nature of cutting and pasting is a ritual for me, a continuous dance of destruction and creation. 

Using only found materials, my practice involves dissecting and reassembling elements of iconography to craft new elaborate worlds formed from disparate sources; visual sagas that dissolve perceived boundaries of the sacred and profane. My  process is akin to chaos magic. Archetypes emerge from the Nothingness. Fragmented narratives speak to me in gestures, expressions, colors; they tell me what they’d like to say and I try to listen. Myths born from the scraps, from the remnants of the things they once were. Something alchemical occurs. The pieces fall into place to tell their story. I believe that the living mythological symbol must be alive to be life-giving. In this way, it speaks directly to the human soul. This sensation happens in the gut. In the blood. In the bones. What I’m trying to do when I make art is elicit an intense response in myself as I work. If the imagery makes me feel something, if it speaks to me, I know I’m headed in the right direction. If the end result feels empty or devoid of substance, then perhaps the symbol is already dead. The nature of my practice is highly instinctual; I become both the observer and the observed - fully absorbed in the act of devotion but also open to the chance of the moment.

Past Exhibitions

2021
1078 Gallery

Chico, CA

2020

Nevada City Film Festival
Nevada City, CA

2018

B-SO Space Gallery
Chico, CA

2018

Blackbird
Chico, CA

2018

Museum of Northern California Art
Chico, CA

2017

Blue Line Art Gallery
Roseville, CA

2017

Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Nevada City, CA

Education

2017   Sierra College, Associate Degree in Liberal Arts & Cultures

2016   Sierra College, Associate Degree in Studio Art

2016   Sierra College, Associate Degree in Applied Art & Design

Upcoming Exhibitions

2024

TBA

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