Artist Ta Byrne lives in Koh Samui, Thailand and is best known for her unique figurative paintings. Her art style is fun and vibrant, featuring cartoonish, humorous characters such as her iconic ‘egg people.’ When describing the characters in her art, she shares what motivates her to create them: “We all wear a mask to hide our true characters. Some of my people wear an egg as a mask, some hats, and some are very confident like my Goddesses, but we all have something in common: we all have something to hide.”
Exploring the Artist’s Background
When asked about how she started out in art, Byrne says that she felt it would be easier for her to walk on the moon than become an artist. She left school at the early age of 12 to work in the rice fields, and continued working long arduous hours over the coming years.
She did not expect to make a living as an artist, but shares: “It was pure chance that a cheeky little drawing I did later in life changed my life forever and got me into the world of art.” Byrne opened a small gallery and studio in 2012, and in 2016 began selling her art online. Today, her unique figurative artwork hangs on walls in 65 countries.
A moment of clarity came for her during a speech she made at an exhibition of her work: “I was standing on the stage looking at all those people and spotted my husband’s face. He had tears running down his cheeks. He was so proud of me. Then, at that moment, I knew he believed in me for the last four years, which made me believe in myself; I think I finally realised that I was an artist.”
The future is bright for Ta: in addition to selling her artwork to collectors all over the world, she has recently been offered a book contract for her Egg people “Egg Island” – a very exciting opportunity.
Byrne’s Artistic Process
Based out of the beautiful island of Koh Samui, Thailand, Byrne’s average day in the studio is enviable. She works out of her home and loves the work-life balance it allows her, soaking in the sea views and spending time on the beach each week. “My studio is below my house, part studio and part garden. I love it. I close that door, and I’m in my little world, and no one will disturb me. I can work until late into the night listening to my music, and it’s so peaceful.”
It’s easy for her to get lost in her thoughts when sitting at her easel with her paints, brushes and palette knives. She shares that her thoughts flow like water as she works through the ever-changing journey of creating each piece. “I have an idea, but it often changes, and I love that freedom. Even if I’m almost finished, if I get that very slight tic just above my eye, I know something’s not quite right, confusing to define, but not precisely how I want it; I will start again, start over, until that tic has gone.”
Original Paintings by Ta Byrne
“My collection of conspirators is full of mischief and secrecy. Each character is always up to something naughty or scheming a dodgy deal, “I want a desperado feel to it, moody as if they have something to hide, I want them anxious, so you get those staring menacing eyes”. I paint people, I want my paintings to have character to tell a story but without words as if using mime. To be dramatic, emotional, sometimes theatrical but always with feelings and always special.”
This oil painting features Ta Byrne’s iconic style of figures in a busy scene. Each character has their own personality, and you see the humour and fun the artist has managed to evoke in each. The artist quotes a statement someone shared that she felt well represented her work:
“I look at Ta’s work, and there is always something whatever the painting — people, lovers, goddesses or eggs. Something that draws in the eye, and you can look at it 1,000 times, and still notice something different about it.”
“The elegance of the ballerina, the beauty and grace as they dance, require a fantastic amount of strength, flexibility, skill and grace. My ballerina has it all. For me, ladies are interesting to paint; I’ve had people say my Ladies are gross, grotesque, fat and ugly; I’ve also had people comment that they are profoundly beautiful, and I’ve sent them all over the world. I don’t want my ladies put in a box all looking the same to please a small part of society. “