Towards the end of this crazy year, we are honored to publish a comprehensive interview with Tammy Mike Laufer. Luckily for us, her hard work did not stop her from answering some questions and diving with us into her inner world.
Tammy Mike Laufer, lives and works in Israel. She is an International, contemporary artist, who Specializes in Digital drawing and video art. Laufer is also the Founder, Producer, Designer, Curator, Art director & CEO at 44DEGREES Online Art Magazine and Gallery. she is one of the first artists who converted the traditional artistic practice in painting and design, to work with a mouse and a digital pen.
"… Her work shows traces of Salvador Dali’s depiction of dreams, Frida Kahlo’s palette, Andy Warhol’s silk prints, and Judi Chicago’s early feminist work."
Tell us a bit about yourself. Do you recall the way art found her way into your life?
I have always loved to paint, I painted from a very young age, and became interested in architecture at age 6. I was already drawing plans for houses... In high school I studied architecture and continued to paint. At the age of 14 I was sleeping with art books (brought to me by my parents from abroad) under my pillow...
After my military service I studied graphic design and art, I am an art director and digital artist. For the last decade I have been an active artist and exhibit worldwide, I also create video art and prints of digital media paintings. I live art, breath art and for that I'm forever grateful for the internet being such a meaningful tool for the art world and it's collaborations, especially in this COVID- 19 time.
The path of creation is individual and selective, can you share some of your individual process?
For me, the beginning of every creation is like entering a fantasy dream, starting your new only virtual world where “Everything is possible”. and in the majority of my works I am trying to combine visual realities, with subconscious emotions and philosophical thoughts. I create my virtual world, with 3D software and 2D paint software, using combinations of renderings, lightings, textures and shapes.
My works and video art are like mental puzzles, where you can travel from one point to another by analyzing a picture’s symbolic objects. there is always something for the observer to discover. My art is a surreal reality, it takes you on a journey to places just as real and tangible as those you might find in the known reality.
Computers don’t make art, people do, computers are creative tools much sophisticated ones. It’s a fresh creative tool of a new generation.
Where do you find your inner sources of inspiration?
I look at life, personal experience from my journey, what life brings to me and all that is happening in the outside world, collective and individual experiences. All together is brought in my art like a story- I am a visual storyteller. My video art works are like old- fashioned films made with a magic lantern. Another powerful inspiration tool I often use is music, music evokes aliveness, waking up a full pallet of thoughts and creativity in me.
“My digital drawing and video art are similar to mental puzzles, where you can travel from one point to another by analyzing a picture’s symbolic objects. There is always something for the observer to discover.”
By drawing her inspiration from different artists, Laufer creates her own digital art language through which she emphasizes the isolated human condition in the technological age.
In the past you have mentioned that you "see the purpose of feminism in art" Is it one of your professional goals? Do you have a gender relation message to our modern society?
I'm happy about that question…
At no point in my studies did anyone expose women artists, they were all men. Only later I've learned about the amazing painter Frida Kahlo, Women were almost excluded from the artistic discourse. One of the significant things I find in art is the ability to advance the status of women and bring the female experience to the forefront of the stage. Another feminist layer is found in my works where I touch on the essence of the female body, pain and womb.
Was there a turning point that influenced your work in a drastic way?
The painful turning point, I might say, was the car accident I had in my youth, about four months after I got married. It was a full year of recovery until I "came back to life". I had to learn how to walk all over again, and for me driving is forever filled with concerns. Art found her way to me also as a part of my "coming back to life" process, I found the healing force of painting therapy- and so, I painted children's stories on all the walls of my future child. When I decided to become an active artist about a decade ago, cars and car parts started popping up as a motive in my works...it was clear that I needed to work with myself on this issue.
3 cars, 2011
"…When I decided to become an active artist about a decade ago, cars and car parts started popping up as a motive in my works...it was clear that I needed to work with myself on this issue."
The change in your career and the transition of becoming an active artist sounds like a fundamental change in your life, can you tell us what were the internal considerations and processes that led to the decision?
My first career was in graphic design and my last stop was a decade I spent working in a company who manufacture computer games & children's learning software. This part of my career was a significant development for me as a designer and art director.
It also enabled me to fulfill my childhood dream, due to my admiration for the great Walt Disney- to create and develop characters. I created "Dino" the dinosaur who was the star of computer games and children's learning software.
In the background I have always painted and developed my digital painting skills, choosing a computer as a creative tool required me to learn and develop a lot more than the artistic knowledge I had gained. Realizing that I could not continue working on both professional levels at the same time, I decided to focus on developing my artistic career and embarking on an independent path.
The timing of this decision, was critical for me, I felt that my age and health are a relevant factor for I have been diabetic over 20 years now. I knew that being an active artist means working hard, presenting and traveling the world and it will require challenging strengths and energies. In addition, there is the issue of ageism, in which the art world unfortunately sins in. Luckily, passion and art burned in me and I started creating video art works I had animated from my previous works, I also set up a website that was an important leap and exhibition proposals started to arrive. As an artist, I wanted to be discovered and it took a lot of courage to dedicate myself to my art and expose myself to the world.
I got reinforcement and validity for this career move when I presented in gallery at the 53rd Venice Biennale, later at the Janco Dada Museum in Israel, and also in a group exhibition with Yoko Ono in Japan. And as with any fine Cinderella story, for the last five years I have been privileged to present three different solo exhibitions in New York.
Your work seems to touch the human subconscious, do you ever face your fears while creating?
Certainly, I'm not afraid to touch them... at my most sensitive and exposed nerves. I find that from these parts of me I often draw my ideas, the feeling is that everything bursts out of me, but it's a highly liberating experience. Also, a large part of my works deal with complicated and difficult subjects like the Holocaust and war.
What do you wish people will take from your art?
Strength, hope, ability to look fear in the eyes, aesthetics and love.
From IT'S NOT A GAME SOLO EXHIBITION Gateway Art Center Gallery NYC
Is there any special project you are currently working on?
Yes, this is an ongoing project that I started about seven years ago.
An online art magazine called 44DEGREES, we just recently launched our New Online Art Gallery for solo exhibitions. The project began with the goal of promoting Israeli artists and this year we also opened the possibility for international artists to exhibit.
The gallery is a startup, it is interactive and presented as if it were built from rooms in three dimensions, as in reality.
You are welcome to check it out on our website, we welcome you to view and dive with us into art life. You can find free viewing of all our issues and the gallery exhibitions.
What is your future vision?
To progress as an artist artistically and continue to create, not just art but to develop additional digital platforms that will primarily promote women artists and decrease the gender gaps.
Want to know more about the Artist & Designer? Click the link to her website:
Tammy Mike Laufer, NY 2017
The interview was written by
Hadas Lichtig Laufer, from 44DEGREES TEAM
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