Tara Collette

From my perspective postmodern art has really taken a turn away from classical roots and taken a new form in ‘Parody Art’ that is now truly based in modern politics. It’s always been there, but now Hollywood has taken its grips and it has become more widely accepted and popularised. With work from Hayden Kays, Magda Archer and Rachel House artistically documenting the mood of the population through politically charged images and words it’s easy for people to jump on them and agree and support that sort of work. Tara works within these parameters of ‘Parody Art’ but more in a nostalgic way that makes you smile rather than exclaiming ‘ACAB!’

Tara Collette is a Manchester artist currently based Islington Mill, who is still firmly grounded in her Boltonian roots. Her work began as a graphic design student at The University of Salford, however “part of me was seeing people just on computers, so I made a list of 40 different ways to display work and got into textiles, so started making banners.”

“My first banner said ‘There’s more to life than risograph and GF Smith’ and it’s huge, it’s the biggest one I’ve ever done. Then the second said ‘Fuck the grade’ and I kept making some more, then I made a thousand!

My work is really about me and my own experiences. One of my early pieces was the Greggs logo and I did that because I worked there. The Lidl one was a collaboration and who I was working with shopped at Lidl! All of them have a link to me somewhere in some way, shape or form.”

Tara has really shot to fame after the recreation of the classic posters ‘Toys, Poppers, Potions, Pills’ and ‘DVD’s, Poppers, Pills and Contacts’ from the Hanky Panky Adult Shop in the Northern Quarter. They have really become an iconic image of Manchester, but do people recognise the original or Tara’s version?

“I went in to try and find out more buy the guy in there but he wasn’t very hospitable and was pressuring us to buy stuff, there were some cool posters inside but I was too nervous to take any photos. Oh well, it’s not copyrighted!

I do know that after I made about 10 banners of the poster, the original got robbed, so now I am the original!”

Tara has been a resident at Islington Mill since the summer of 2017 and has done so much work and collaboration with loads of different artists like Hannah Whitlow, David Bailey, VTS Design, and Furious Pie that have seen some great results. She has also had great commissions from around the city from the likes of The People’s History Museum, Office Of Craig, HOME, Design Manchester, Fika Hair, Instruct, Uskees Clothing, Sken Studios and so many more! Alongside this she has been part of many exhibitions across the country from the Mr Freeze exhibition in 2017, the British Textile Biennial in 2019 and to The Castlefield Gallery this year. All this together has really propelled her to the forefront of creative textiles in Manchester.

Before lockdown started Tara was working in a neon light shop and fell in love with glass. So she spent the year learning how to work with glass and making things out of that new medium. “Last night I was designing an Oatly bottle, but putting just Oat on it so I can’t get done. But I used that same stained glass style for that piece. I’ve now bought a snazzy machine and I’m making honeycombs, hearts and nice bits and really just learning how to solder properly! I’ve been making so many of the Pills-Poppers image that I’m asking my studio mate to help, but I just wanna do something else.”

So let’s hope that we see new forms of work from Tara coming up in the future, whether it be in glass format or by smashing out all the classics! Check out all her work here!

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