Studio Visit

Teresa Turikan


Teresa Turikan is a Paris based artist who works mainly with acrylic on cotton canvas and paper.

Born in Taiwan in 1989, she grew up surrounded by nature in Australia, and graduated from QUT's Creative Industries degree in 2012. During the last semester of her studies she relocated to France.

Her artworks are the crystallisation of experiences from various cultures and creative disciplines. These contemporary abstract creations are expressed through bold colors and lines. Each a testament to a specific emotion or intangible subject in time.

The given name TURIKAN means 'various colors' in Pazeh - an indigenous tribe of Taiwan and the ethnicity of her grandmother. Although the Pazeh language is greatly endangered, fortunately there is a revival movement thanks to cultural preservation efforts made.

Turikan’s first series DECONSTRUCTED CHARACTERS is created from deconstructed traditional Chinese characters that the artist learned while growing up in Taiwan. The characters and calligraphy strokes are deconstructed completely, and transformed as the skeleton of each painting.


Q. Tell us about yourself and how you came to be an artist…

A. I always ask people if they want the long or short version (laughs). I was born in Taiwan and moved to Australia when I was 7, I grew up studying music and then went on to complete an inter-disciplinary degree in the Creative Industries. When I was 22, I moved to Paris, and for most of my twenties worked in fashion and content creation. I think the term ‘artist’ is hard to define, there were turning points but no clear starting point for me – all I know is that I have always liked and needed to express through different mediums such as art, writing, music, dance, photography. 


Q. Describe your work in three words…

A. Vivid, Intangible, Emotional


Q. When do you make your best work?

A. I guess best is subjective... but I think there are certainly moments in the day where I am most productive in painting: between 9AM – 2PM, or strangely very late at night when I’m tired.


Q. What influences do traditional cultures have on your work?

A. I’m greatly influenced by traditional cultures as my mother is an anthropologist who works in preserving indigenous cultures, so certain subjects of my paintings are directly linked to traditional culture or language.

The first canvas series I created - DECONSTRUCTED CHARACTERS is actually created from deconstructed traditional Chinese characters that I learned while growing up in Taiwan. The characters and calligraphy strokes are deconstructed completely, and reformed as the skeleton of each painting. 


I’ve also created another series called ANIMA. In indigenous Taiwanese tribes, most flora, fauna, and different elements of nature have an anima (soul), similar to many other indigenous cultures around the world. One lives in harmony by respecting these anima and their needs, taking from them and also giving back through rituals and nature's law, which were taught and passed down over thousands of years on the island. 


Q. Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

A. I like to have some sound, style varies day by day - from Max Richter to Sia to ACDC, the most important is that the music has to bring some emotion or energy.


Q. Artist whose career you covet?

A. Certain artists are real inspirations to me, for example I love the work of B. D. Graft, but I find it hard to covet someone else’s career or life as we don’t see the whole picture, and we cannot know what hardships or sacrifices they had to make or are making to be where they are today. Coming from an inter-disciplinary creative background I also learned at a young age it is no good to compare or follow too closely others as we will ultimately carve our own  (and very different) paths. 


Q. Is art making therapeutic for you?

A. Yes, it brings me a great sense of joy, flow, and also freedom to express and explore. 


Q. What are you most proud of?

A. My bond with my cat John Lemon – he is the best muse and critic anyone could wish for.


Q. What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

A. So many possibilities it’s hard to say. I hope to have by then added another medium to my creative ‘stack’ – maybe somethings 3D?


Q. If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

A. South of France or Amalfi coast 


Q. If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

A. Hard question! Calder or Arp


Q. What messages or emotions do you hope to convey to your audience?

A. One of the reasons I first started painting was because some colors and energies were missing in my life. Instead of acquiring this externally, I decided to create what I would like to see and have in my own interiors. I hope my artwork will inject beauty, color, and energy into the spaces and hearts they will occupy.

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