Tiny Talks with Irina Tall

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Irina Tall from our tenth issue.

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

Irina Tall: Nature inspires me, I often listen to birds… I have a jar on my balcony where I pour food, and then I watch how birds eat and communicate.

One time a hawk flew to the balcony, a large female, she hunted sparrows and caught a few. She ate them right on the balcony, and then cleaned the feathers for a long time.

Sometimes I go to exhibitions, and more often I am inspired by the films and books I have watched.

I probably wrote a long and incomprehensible phrase, but I really love birds of prey. At night, I often look at the stars, I like their distant fire, the moon month … I want to imagine a different life on them and I start to find out that it is possible that there is a person living there like me and he has the same thoughts, the same life …. and I sit down and draw some kind of worms with human heads, fish in which, instead of a body, a naked skeleton and several human heads.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists/ heroines/ idols/ friends that you look up to? 

Irina Tall: One of my series of works was inspired by Yaoi Kusama. I love bright red, I saw her work, and then a year or more passed and a series about eggs matured inside me, when I drew, I thought exactly that the egg is a circle shape, only it was changed a little. I often imagine abstraction when I draw some object or person.

Once when I went to the museum, I was struck by the portraits of Angelica Kaufmann. And as a child, I tried to repeat the self-portrait of Zinaida Serebryakova, she depicted herself in front of a mirror when she combs her hair, then this gesture seemed to me like a stretched bowstring, after I compared this gesture with the famous archer Mikas Cherlyunis. In imitation of this artist, I later made a series with raspberry drops, where a bird, a human head, a web, a horse grew out of each.

I really like Egon Schiele, perhaps this is my idol.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

Irina Tall: A kick moves me very well, sometimes a creative stagnation occurs… And then you realize that your whole state is like stupidity that has rolled over you, and you just have to watch… and then a hop and something starts to move you. It’s good to get kicks, after one such kick, I took part in fifty projects in a year.

Sometimes my friends or just strangers make me move, sometimes even one phrase helps. Once I saw a manager who was buying a piece of cake in a store, I saw how she communicated with the seller and I noted that she had artistic abilities, and then the thought came to my mind how many obstacles she had to overcome in order to achieve the position in which she my depression, which sometimes rolls over me, has evaporated somewhere. Episodes like this keep me moving forward.

Tiny Spoon: We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

Irina Tall: Oh, I have two methods of work. First, I just sit down and do it, no matter if it’s lines or spots. Second, I watch people, go somewhere to watch a performance or an exhibition. And inspire what they see.

Since 2021, I started making monotypes in ink, I had thin paper and I thought what I could do with it, from this the series “Ghosts” was born (it has five chapters and is not yet fully completed). I think that you don’t need to watch how others draw and imitate them, you need to invent something of your own, even if it’s not very successful at first…

I like to read books, I like mythology, I often draw some mythological creatures.

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Irina Tall: Now I am working on a project dedicated to Judith, at least in the story that I want to portray is the legend of Judith and the head of Holofernes. Giorgione has a famous work on this subject. It was this work that first inspired me.

In my project, Judith becomes a heroine placed in a kind of parallel world, from where people travel to everywhere where there are colonies on Mars, Venus. And where she is a girl from the highest aristocracy kills a high-ranking person who raped and killed. Probably this official is a kind of blue beard, since most often women become his victims.

I’m also doing a project about famine and war… These are even two different projects, but it’s hard to talk about them, at least talk about them. I have sketches, but they were not easy for me.

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?

Irina Tall: I like Handel’s The Four Seasons, Mozart, almost all classical music in general. When I watched the movie “Interstellar”, I was struck by the music, and then I found out about the composer Hans Zimmer. I constantly turn on and listen to concerts from YouTube by this composer.

Once I was at a performance by the Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki and literally fell in love with his works.

This is probably a difficult question about books, I like Czeslaw Miloš, but I’m like a lazy artist, but I read them all. At one time, I was struck by the non-linearity of the narrative, some kind of hidden philosophy in the erotic, by Milan Kundera’s novel “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”.

One of my favorite books is a book about Roman emperors.

Now I am subscribed to many mailing lists of English and American magazines that publish contemporary authors. I enjoy reading short stories and poetry.

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

Irina Tall: My self-portrait is the Siren, the essence that wears a mask and where you can see the essence in the slit of the irons.

I believe that the main thing for a person is to move forward and it doesn’t matter in which family you were born, you just need to work hard and work.

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?

Irina Tall: You can see my works on social networks, I have an Instagram: @irinanov4155, @irina369tall

Lately I’ve been into collage. And for International Women’s Day, I made a collage with the image of a little mermaid. Probably everyone knows Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about the little mermaid, I wanted to show a different image, an independent and complex girl who, when faced with something, does not give in, but overcomes. I consider the image of the prince in this story to be weak, or rather, he is a weak person who cannot make a decision, and then the girl makes the right decision, she refuses it and returns to herself.