Walthall Fellow Spotlight: Tori Tinsley

In the lead up to the 2017 Walthall Fellows’ exhibit at MOCA-GA this summer, we will be featuring an interview with each of the Fellows from this year’s cohort. First up, our intern Grace Gardner interviews Tori Tinsley.


Tori Tinsley is an Atlanta-based painter and sculptor. She received a BFA from the Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan, a MAAT from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an MFA from Georgia State University. Tori is a recipient of a 2016 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, a 2016 City of Atlanta Emerging Artist Award, a City of Atlanta Artist Project Grant, and 2015 Idea Capital Grant. She is also a founding member of Atlanta-based Day & Night Projects and Doppler Projects. Tori is represented by Hathaway Contemporary Gallery in Atlanta, GA and 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace in Gold Coast, Australia.


Grace Gardner: What would you say has been the most valuable experience you have taken away from WonderRoot’s Walthall Artist Fellowship?

Tori Tinsley: The best part has been the fellowship with other artists that I met and have become friends with over the past twelve months.

GG: Can you describe your process as an artist?

TT: I create paintings and sculptures to highlight the challenging and sometimes darkly humorous relationship between caregiver and those cared for.

GG: What do you do when you find yourself at an “artist block”? Do you have any methods of pushing past that feeling?

TT: When I’m not sure what to do next, I just go with it and use that time to apply for shows, reach out to contacts, research online, play in the studio, etc. Usually, something will surface during this time that will make me excited to explore new things in the studio.

GG: What advice do you have for individuals who are interested in becoming professional artists?

TT: Be kind and take the time to get to know other artists, curators, art writers, etc. Volunteering and interning are great ways to get to know others in the art community.

GG: In what ways, if any at all, is positive social change integrated into your work?

TT: My work stems from caring for and losing my mother to a degenerative brain disease. I hope to create dialogue around this experience because this is not something that is particular to my family alone. So many other families travel down a similar path at one point or another and I think it’s important that we learn to talk about it openly and reach out to as many people as possible to get the support we need.


GG: What do you plan to do upon completing the Walthall Artist Fellowship?

TT: Keep painting and making weird things.


Cave Hug, 2017, 60×48”


Building a Ship from the Shipwreck,…..a matter of finding our way, or, rather, a willingness to be lost opens at MOCA GA on July 14th, 2017. The 2017 Walthall Fellowship was generously and lovingly facillitated by Sarah Higgins, curator of the Zuckerman Museum at Kennesaw State University. Tickets can be purchased here.

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