Artist Bio + Statement
Tiera May is a visual artist and musician from northern California. 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 is currently working on her forthcoming Oracle deck - due to release in Spring of 2024. 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 and she has an upcoming duo exhibition at Entropy Gallery scheduled for the 2024 calendar year.
My art explores myth-making through hand-cut, analog 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 creative 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. There is a delicate balance of repetition and spontaneity as the nature of my practice is highly instinctual and intuitive. I become both the observer and the observed - fully absorbed in this act of devotion but also open to the chance of the moment.
Nevada City Film Festival
Nevada City, CA
B-SO Space Gallery
Museum of Northern California Art
Blue Line Art Gallery
Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Nevada City, CA
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