Name: Daphne Tarr
Preferred Medium: Ink (on flesh, on paper)
Birthplace / Current City: Royal Oak, MI / Los Angeles
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now:
A friend of mine gifted me tattoo supplies after she gave me my first tattoo, which then got me poking into my own skin. She had a feeling it would be something I would enjoy, and I’ve been pursuing that for the last couple of years.
It can function as an extension of my writing practice in many ways; doodling and jotting thoughts to give shape to an amorphous worry or feeling that is floating around me. Pulling things down and putting them into paper to transmute them.
How are you feeling?
Today, a vague buzzing restlessness over my body, a reluctance to grocery shop and do housework, matched by an eagerness to rest in the sun and read.
Lately, an excitement over the possible futures the world has been opening up to, in conjunction with a mourning of the losses that come with revolutionary change.
What’s inspiring you right now?
N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth Trilogy, and the veins that run through large rocks.
The writing of Samuel R. Delany and Ursula K. LeGuin are constant sources of inspiration, and in the past few years have provided a lens through which I comprehend worlds both real and imagined.
Is there anyone you admire?
I’m in constant admiration of the work being done by people in my community and beyond it to dismantle oppressive structures and make liberation a reality. I’m feeling hope in collective power and organizing; the things being done by LA CAN, Street Watch LA, BLMLA, and People’s City Council are transformative and life-saving.
What makes you want to start a piece?
It’s often the need to understand something within me, around me. To use language and illustration to find the shape and origin of a feeling. It’s a need to be able to take the restlessness of uncertainty and redirect it into something shapely and comprehensible. It can come from the need to move a feeling through me, to channel that feeling or need into a sigil. There are certain shapes and patterns that my arm and hand will need to express in order to feel some sort of internal resolution.
How do you find balance in your work?
Learning to pepper work into my daily routines, rather than setting large blocks of time aside for writing/drawing, helps with this. When my process feels too structured, my self-critique and short attention span come to play, but when my writing and drawing are mixed into other activities and parts of my day they become more intuitive and interrupt the violence of logic.
Photographer: Jason Barbagelott