Leucadia artist is sculptor of ‘tall’ tales

Sculptor Cheryl Tall creates a magical world in which daydreams and the subconscious collide in figurative sculpture. The world, according to Tall, has a timeless, otherworldly feel. It is a surrealistic place of the imagination, where myth, dreams, and memories become real.

In the ten years since artist Cheryl Tall arrived in the San Diego area, she has been best known for her figurative ceramic sculpture based on fantasy and mythology. She has won a myriad of awards and had countless solo and group exhibitions in both national and international museums and galleries.

Cheryl Tall stands next to "The White Queen," which will be on display during the "Sculpture in the Garden" outdoor show at San Diego Botanical Garden, beginning July 8. Courtesy photo

Each Tuesday her Leucadia studio is filled with students, ranging in age from fourteen to adult, with whom she shares her masterful ceramic techniques. However, the rest of the week is hers to indulge in creating her own sculptural work. She says of her private time to create: “I close the doors and pull out all my painting and ceramic projects, put on some great music, start creating, and have a wonderful time!”

In describing her studio, Tall says, “Although the space is not large, I have created a large ceramic head 5-feet tall there, standing on a ladder with my head almost touching the rafters.”

Tall has developed a method of constructing large sculptures divided into sections that can be readily assembled and dismantled for ease of transport to many venues nationwide as well as abroad.

She describes her signature pinched coil technique, which she developed while working towards her M.F.A. at University of Miami, as “shingle-like fingerprints,” which creates a texture characteristic of her timeless fantasy figures.

Tall says of her work, “My sculpture portrays archetypal situations that can be used to explore modern life. Inspiration is derived from personal experiences, travel to other countries and a study of mythology and pop art.” She adds, “My ceramic sculpture uses humor, texture and color to comment upon our search for meaning, and our connection to our homes, our environment and other people.”

Perhaps influenced by her builder father and architect brother, Tall continues, “Eyes become windows, hair becomes a row of shingles, and a head merges with an animal or architectural shape.” She sees houses as metaphors that represent us as individuals and adds, “As humans, we merge with the habitats and habits of our culture and they become part of us.”

She is currently completing “The White Queen,” as part of “Sculpture in the Garden”, which opens July 8 at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas.

Tall will be conducting a special workshop for beginners as well as advanced students at her studio located at 1114 N. Coast Highway 101, Suite 2, Leucadia, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 21 and June 22. Titled “Mythical Animals,” this hands on workshop in which participants will build their own mythical animals will explore the imagination through clay. Call her studio at (760) 479-0399 to register.

In addition to numerous galleries on the East and West Coasts, her work can be seen at cheryltall.com.

Kay Colvin is an art consultant and director of the L Street Fine Art Gallery in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. She specializes in promoting emerging and mid-career artists and bringing enrichment programs to elementary schools through The Kid’s College. Contact her at kaycolvin@lstreetfineart.com.



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