Taiko Chandler has always been interested in art, design, fabrics, colors and papers. So when this former nurse from Japan started expressing that interest through a variety of media, she began a journey to her second career as an artist.
Now living and working as an artist in Denver, Colorado, Chandler first trained as a printmaker and then began to explore three-dimensional installations. She experimented with different materials, including handmade papers, fabrics, plastics and wire mesh sheets. But she couldn’t achieve the effects she was looking for with any of these materials.
Then she remembered the Tyvek® envelopes she had kept in a box of supplies from a screen-printing workshop taken years before her art career began. “I started playing with the Tyvek® and became fascinated with its texture, flexibility, durability and translucence,” explained Chandler. “I thought the characteristics of Tyvek® were fascinating because the combined effect is both powerful and beautiful, and very different from any other material I had previously used.”
Creating with Tyvek®
In early 2015, Chandler purchased sheets of Tyvek® at a local art supply store and continued to experiment.
Movement in Black ©Taiko Chandler http://taikochandler.com
“I had to adapt, improvise and develop techniques to create art with Tyvek®,” said Chandler. “There is no book written about how to use Tyvek® for art and it is not taught in schools, so I improvised and developed a technique that takes advantage of the unique qualities of Tyvek® to expand the boundaries of my artwork.”
By June 2015, Chandler had completed her first piece using Tyvek®. Entitled “Pathway to Somewhere,” this three-dimensional installation combined a 10-yard scroll of Mulberry paper with a constellation of more than 560 small pieces of Tyvek®. Each of the pieces of Tyvek® was cut by hand, pierced with a sewing machine, zapped with a soldering iron, folded and sealed with glue before being tied together using fishing line.
“I particularly like this first installation because of the effect created by the light that shines through the Tyvek®,” said Chandler. “It inspired me to explore further the potential of Tyvek® by printing on it using an etching press.”
With a free-hand painting technique that she developed using the edge of a small piece of mat board, Chandler created nine monotypes on Tyvek® sheets, then hand cut shapes into the printed Tyvek® using an open blade before assembling all nine sheets into a single piece of art. Titled “Similarities Attract,” this installation was awarded “Best of Show” by Bud Shark of Shark’s Ink at the “Second Annual Pressing Matters” exhibit at the Art Students League of Denver in 2016.
As Chandler continues to create artwork with Tyvek®, she explores new possibilities as a result of the unique qualities of Tyvek®. As she explained, “The weight and flexibility of Tyvek® help me to create the shapes, pleats and ruffles that I am seeking in my three-dimensional work. In that way, Tyvek® is similar to organza, but better.”
Reflections from the Artist
“Most people have not thought of using Tyvek® as a medium for art, so it creates an initial reaction of surprise,” said Chandler. “But when they see my installations, they quickly realize how the unique properties of Tyvek® bring a different quality to my artwork. In particular, its translucence, which allows light to shine through the piece, creating wonderful shadows.”
“I am very excited to continue pushing the boundaries of my work using Tyvek® and want to expand people’s perceptions of the possible uses of Tyvek® beyond its important practical applications,” said Chandler. “Tyvek® is a wonderful material that has transformed the art I am able to create.”
About the Artist
Taiko Chandler was born and raised in Nagano, Japan. Since 1998, this former nurse has lived in Sheffield in the United Kingdom; Miami, FL.; Austin, TX; and currently lives in Denver, CO, where she is pursuing her second career as an artist. She credits the combination of a longstanding interest in art and the experiences gained from living in a wide range of vastly different cultures for shaping the work that she produces today. She is represented in Denver by SPACE Gallery (http://spacegallery.org/artist/taiko-chandler/). To learn more, visit http://www.taikochandler.com