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Wendy Tatter

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Wendy Tatter has become a regular among the St. Augustine artist scene, and recently moved her gallery to a new location at 806 Anastasia Blvd. in St. Augustine. She specializes in a unique art form known as Batik.

Tell us a little about yourself.

 

I first had a place at Butterfield Garage Art Gallery years and years ago, and then I opened my own place on San Marco Avenue and was there about seven years before I moved to the beach with a little gallery.

I then moved across the street down on A1A and had that place for four years, but when this building opened up, I knew I had to do it and I did. It was cutest barber shop for years, and since I moved to St. Augustine, I always felt that this was just a really cool-looking building.

Luckily, Joe Rocco, who owned the barber shop was also an artist and he had some of his work on display at my old gallery.

I told Joe that if he let me buy it, I would make sure that one of his paintings was always hanging on display. It’s totally different from the way that he had for his barber shop. The ceiling was a drop ceiling and we ended up opening that up, and even took a wall out. It was a bunch of major changes, but I love it turned out.

Everybody in the community has been so excited for me, because I have a lot of people that have known me since all the other moves, and they pretty much all came during the grand opening.

Has art always been a passion of yours?

 

I was shameless as a kid, because I would get all the neighborhood kids to draw a picture and then I’d make everyone lay them on the stairway and have my mom choose the best one, and of course she would always end up picking mine. I was probably about 6 years old, but it shows that I’ve always loved arts and to draw.

How would you describe your art form?

I paint with wax and dyes on fabric in a style called Batik. It’s kind of like a backwards way of working when it comes to art because I start with the lightest colors and go to the darkest. They kind of build on each other because you’re dying over the color before that.

I learned how to do it when I lived in Mexico, after going to a school called Instituto Allende in San Miguel, where I had went for photography, but ended up taking a class in Batik, and it was so much fun.

 

Where do you get the inspiration for your artwork?

 

I take a lot of photographs and if there’s something I like that I’ve taken a picture of, I’ll do that roughly. I also like to do things with quotes around them. Such as, a painting of a pineapple will have quotes about pineapples around the border. Those are all just some of the little fanciful things that I do.

I lived in the Caribbean for years, so a lot of my stuff has kind of this island sort of theme, because I miss it every day.

 

What are some of the aspects that are the most challenging about Batik?

 

Your whole piece is covered in wax pretty much by the end, so you can’t really tell how it’s going to look until you iron the wax out and see if it worked or didn’t. It usually does though.

It’s a challenge because you really truly have to think about what color is going to lay over next and not make it mud. There’s planning that goes into every move. I do pillowcases and lamp shades as well.

 

What are your future plans for the gallery?

 

On Aug. 30, I will be having a group show with more than 50 different artists both local and non-local. I have a girl that will actually be sending me something from the Netherlands. The subject is anything to do with fruit, and it should be a really great show. I was trying to think of a subject matter, and I thought “who doesn’t like fruit?”

I’ve done group shows the last fives years, and they are always a hit. I think next year I may do a cat show.

However, my space is less than what I’m used to, because I went from having four times less space than I had before.

What do you enjoy most about living in the North Florida area?

 

I really like the beach and the fact that downtown St. Augustine is still one of the most beautiful places there is. Whenever you come over that bridge and you just see it spread out, it really is nice. St. Augustine does have a real tropical vibe to it, especially the lighthouse area. It’s not your run of the mill Florida feel.

 

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