|When you are walking down the streets, you may have noticed artists painting portraits on canvas, or spray paintings images on cardboard or wood. They are street artists, and I would like to introduce you to one of them, her name is Tamara.|
"My name is Tamara and my story is very simple. The war in my country (Serbian Montenegro) forced many people into poverty. Some of my braver countrymen traveled to foreign countries, in hopes of obtaining some kind of normalcy in their lives. This too is how my story started.
How innocent the world was at that time to a child. Yet, events slowly started to change my life as well. I remember how angry my parents were when they discovered my first drawings, little images sketched on small pieces of paper, carefully hidden within the pages of my schoolbooks — and today, how proud they are of my artwork.
Who could ever imagine that one day, unable to find work in our homeland, that my drawings would be the only source of income — our source of survival.
Since my earliest memories, my passion was beauty. Everything in life that was beautiful captured my attention and my imagination … and, if it was not truly beautiful, I needed to make it so.
My first drawings were of imaginary princesses and queens. Than, I progressed to drawing portraits, finding beauty inside real people, and recreating that beauty within my paintings. Over the years my portrait paintings became more lifelike, and I am still pleasantly surprised to discover how small details in a portrait can make someone appear more beautiful.
Each person has their own history, yet, I love looking into each person’s eyes, finding his/her inner beauty, their uniqueness, and recreating it in my drawings. To this day, I am still pleasantly surprised at the smiles, and pure joy, that erupts when I show someone their finished portrait. More than money, that is the true reason that I love to paint."
Tamara's story is unique, and yet, these are the stories that street artists go through every day. Shelamay also tells me that Tamara is a perfectionist, not only in her artwork, but also on her own persona. Tamara suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, and the bad weather can prevent her from working. She often struggles to get permits that allow her to legally work on the street, but it doesn’t stop there. On the streets the competition for customers is also fierce.
Shelamay defines Tamara as a survivor. She brings a smiles to both faces and hearts of those she paints. Although Tamara appears outwardly happy, deep inside she misses her homeland, family and friends.
It was nice to get to know a little about this wonderful person. She was really inspiring not only as an artist but also as a person from whom I learned that if we really believe in our dreams, we should never give up even during dark times.
All images are copyright and published by permission. Images cannot copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the artist.
Special Note: this article would not exist if were not for the help from one of our fellow members, Shelamay. She not only came up with the concept for the article, she also contacted Tamara for the interview, and was granted permission from Tamara to use the images within this article.
A Little About Shelamay
Shelamay has been an artist since the age of 10, as well as a painter, she was also a prolific poet, even at that early age. She now lives in the Canary Islands but she was born in Romania. Her desire to create has always been with her ... and then, Shelamay discovered computer graphics! Two years ago she had her first encounter with fractal art.
Shelamay is now "making money with her art." Suddenly she realized others could do it to. This is why she approached street artists, such as Tamara. She offers them exposure by publishing their works on the internet.
We invite you to visit Shelamay's:
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April 4, 2005