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Tahini Moitra’s collages mix modern commentary with vintage imagery

By Christine Seguin on December 23, 2015

12003257_10153573371132394_7276453148629534924_nTahini Moitra is a third year graphic design student here in Ottawa.  Born in Mumbai City, India, Tahini has been studying in Canada for the past seven years, most recently at Algonquin College.  While wrapping up her program, she was eager have a few pieces of her work stand out from her classmates’ work.  This led her to step away from her computer, and pick up some old magazines and scissors. “I had a few magazines laying around and decided to cut them up and made them into a collage to re-tell a story.  It actually worked. The first collage I made was of a magician juggling planets. It was awful but I had so much fun with it and I knew that if I pushed it a little bit more, that I could really go somewhere with it.”

Knowing she was on to something, Tahini began sourcing out vintage magazines from Time to the National Geographic and, with the help of contemporary tools such as Photoshop, she began re-working the images to tell a story from her point of view. Since then, Tahini believes she has found her flow.

12289605_10153695466342394_5476409730030025581_n“My style is an amalgamation of my personality, other collage artists, my environment and my design style.  I like bright, loud colors that evoke strong emotion. I try to incorporate strong images and merge them together to weave together an unapologetic, controversial story-line.”  The result provides modern commentary using vintage imagery.

Tahini draws inspiration from her environment and her peers. “I constantly try to envelop myself in design and people who think , breathe and live it. It’s a spark of energy that I feel when I meet passionate people and can feed off their energy and thoughts.”  She thrives on the work and feedback from others, knowing that at the young age of 24, she can always push her work further and pay attention to the details.  “I’m extremely critical of my work, so when people give me positive feedback ; it makes me happy to see them happy and it drives me to create more.”

12079141_10153585026572394_3929485245390034935_n“After four months, 97 magazines and 80 pieces” she has a collection which will be featured at the Hintonburg Public House on January 14th. “I never thought that something I started out doing for fun, would take off so fast! It’s a great feeling!”  She makes sure to give credit to where it is due, as an artist just starting out in Ottawa.

Only recently has Tahini began reaching out beyond the comfort of her college bubble, to design companies, studios, fellow artists, and other creative thinkers.  Under the wing of  her professor Andrea Emery, she was introduced to the wider Ottawa arts community. “Andrea herself is an incredible artist who has displayed her work at galleries and cafes, so she was familiar with how to go about guiding me on how to get myself out there and meet new people and inject myself in the Ottawa art scene.”

Another source of inspiration for Tahini is Michael Zavacky, art director of McMillan Agency in Ottawa, who has taken the time to mentor Tahini prior to her upcoming show. “He’s gone above and beyond to connect me with printers , ideas on pricing and presentation , but most importantly – encouraged me get excited about my work and the show.”

Tahini’s dynamic collages can be found at her website and her Instagram page.  They can be seen in person at the Hintoburg Public House on January 14th.

If you know (or are!) an Ottawa artist who we should know about, email us at apartment613@gmail.com with images of your work.


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