DesignerCon Finds: Wandering Luminations: The Art of Tara McPherson

Just before the holiday, Anaheim hosted its thirteenth annual DesignerCon, celebrating all things design related. Started in 2006 as the Vinyl Toy Network, the convention was intended for those in the vinyl toy/collectibles industry. Since then, it has grown to include apparel, printing, plush toys, enamel pins, and fine and urban art. DeignerCon is unlike other conventions, there are no premieres or panels and not many cosplayers attend. The event is low key and draws mostly serious collectors from Southern California.
If you are a print lover like me, DesignerCon is the perfect place to obtain limited edition releases. Print houses like Mondo, whose booth is next to impossible to get to during larger conventions like SDCC and New York Comic-Con, has almost unlimited access at DesignerCon. In addition, the artists and designers of those highly coveted collectibles are usually available for discussions, photographs and autographs. Included among those available at DesignerCon this year was artist and illustrator Tara McPherson.

Beginning her career in the early 2000s, McPherson designed tour posters for high profile musical acts like PJ Harvey, Elvis Costello, The Melvins, The Breeders and Beck. Since then her work has grown to include fine art paintings, illustrations, sculpture, vinyl toys and murals. She has been featured in multiple newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, Esquire and Vanity Fair and her clients include everything from SXSW to Pepsi. 

Wandering among the available art at her DesignerCon booth this year, I decided to pick up her fourth and latest Monograph. Wandering Luminations: The Art of Tara McPherson is a 136 page, hard cover book of her latest works from her solo exhibition by the same name, as well as works from her Supernova and I Know It By Heart series. With a forward by The Breeders’ lead singer and guitarist Kim Deal, the book is an exploration of the feminine form, described by Deal to be “...deformed and attractive, witchy and angelic.”

Wandering Luminations, 2013

Thumbing through the pages, I found myself floating in the nebula soup of muliebrity, where one dances with the maenads, and communes with Lilith in a place where raw female power can run wild with the wolves. Other than the forward and the back cover, Wandering Luminations appropriately limits text to the titles of the works, allowing viewers to take a stroll through a visceral world of instinct and intuition. In hues of blue, pink and green, a signature of Tara McPherson’s work, readers are taken on a dreamlike journey through the artist’s visions mixing mythology with science, love and legend. 

I highly recommend this monograph for both new and long-time fans of McPherson, as it provide a survey of her paintings, drawings, prints and posters from the last few year. It also allows print lovers like myself to own a copy of prints that are outside of one’s budget or long since sold out. Wandering Laminations: The Art of Tara McPherson can be found on Amazon or Dark Horse’s website. 

-Dawn Stronski