When speaking with Tavare Hill, I quickly learned that his family is his inspiration. His work illuminates his influences and the reflections of his life. Hill recently lost his mother, Gail Byrd, and he gives testimony that she was his “wick” of inspiration. Hill has a daughter and son, Annisa and Zion Hill, and he lives with his wife, Rachel and daughter, Rayna.
His “family” extends beyond the core of his 7 siblings, to include a host of those who love and support his work. One such person is his former teacher, Arlene Multz. “She is my lifesaver,” indicates Hill. Arlene Multz is Guest Contributor for this article.
With eight children in a three-bedroom house in Miami, it was difficult for his mother to keep all the children entertained. However, she did not have to worry about Tavare. He was always drawing or painting on something.
It was Tavare’s elementary art teacher who told him about a magnet art school program near his home. This is where he met, Tom Wyroba, his art teacher and an artist himself. They had a very close relationship for 34 years until “Pops”, as Tavare affectionately called him, suddenly died on, August 24, 2014. “Pops” taught him to “live with no boundaries, communicate without fear and love everyone despite race, color or creed”.
After graduation from New World School of the Arts and Cleveland Art Institute, he was offered his first commission to complete four to five paintings for Topher Delaney integrating sculpture and garden design. She told him, “your art work speaks validity; don’t interrupt it”. It was at that time he realized his art was being recognized by other artists.
Family has always been a major part in his art. Most of his artwork attempts to build or recall some family influence. In his earlier works, heavy documentation of children playing came from what he saw growing up. The images of his early works were created from his family traditions; which he feels is slowly disappearing. As an artist, he also remembers those teachers who have impacted his personal life as well as life struggles itself. “My art honors my grandmother, my mother and my children.”
Work with other mediums
In the past Tavare has made aluminum and bronze castings of masks. Many of the pieces can be found at Oberlin Community College and Kent State University. He has also created clay sculptures which can be found at the Homestead Campus of Miami Dade Community College.
Recently he has been influenced by the movement of mixed sound images and the traditional art form of new media video performance art. Although, it’s only been the last year or two that he has been utilizing video. There are still a lot of boundaries between them.
“One who has become all eyes does not see,” notes Tavare. For him there are two endless directions for an artist; in and out. When you go to museums, do you just look at a work of art? Most of us make a clear definitive response to the artwork they are looking at. Some of his work stimulates the yearning for happiness or remorse. In most of his works, he doesn’t want the response to be traceable to every one that looks at the same work of art. He wants his works to be recognized as memories of past and present and to be a visual document for historians.
While he maintains a studio in his home, Hill is an Artist in Residence at KROMA art space. He is also on the move with exhibitions:
December 1-5 Art Basel Weekend “12X12 : 12 Artist” Kroma Gallery Located in Coconut Grove 3670 Grand Avenue Grove Florida 33133 December 1- January 20
Art Basel weekend “Dragonfly” African heritage culture arts center Location 6161 Northwest 2nd Avenue Miami Florida 33142 January 21- May1,2015
“One Man Show” 88.9 F.M. WDNA Public Radio Located 2921 Coral Way Miami Florida 33145
February 13th through month March Title “Reconstruction” Miami Dade County Main Public Library Location 101 West Flagler Street Miami Florida 33130
I had the pleasure of being Tavare’s English and math teacher from ninth grade until he graduated from New World School of the Arts. Throughout Tavare’s four years at New World School of the Arts we developed a very close relationship. When Hurricane Andrew destroyed his home and all his art supplies, Tavare. stayed with my husband and me until his home was rebuilt and he was able to return to his family.
After graduation from New World School of the Arts and Cleveland Art Institute, we continued to stay in touch with each other, either via email or telephone.