It is not often you find someone by accident and immediately realize that they are so close to your soul.  Somehow, I stepped into this whimsical world and found Tessa Ratner.  She is a photographer, a painter, a dreamer and art maker, however these few words barely scratch the surface of Tessa’s world.  One may say she  is magical both inside and out, from the playful way she splashes paint on the page to her unique fashion style.  Her photographs appear slightly familiar and somehow make you believe that the memory you are seeing is actually your own.  Her art feels very honest and when you meet her you understand why.  She is genuine, she is unique and she is just delightful.  Watch out world she is also one to keep your eye on.  TUBE was lucky enough to have a little chat with this creative gal, and it went a little something like this.

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TUBE: So first off, tell me about what you are up to.  Who are you and what do you do?

Tessa: My name is Tessa Renae Ratner…. I am a/an

-Lover of pepperjack cheese.


-Admirer of birds.

-Aspiring beer snob.

-Classy dresser.

-Lifetime nerd.

-Jesus follower.

-Sushi lover.

-Mac user.

oh….and a

-photographer & painter.

TUBE: What medium do you love the most?  Why?

Tessa: I think this is a really difficult question to answer, because to me each medium represents a different way of expressing myself. I would have to say though, I think film photography, and painting are my favorites. Film: because it is so authentic and human. When you take a portrait with film, there are imperfections that aren’t necessarily off-putting, but make a photograph that much more honest. I feel I am able to turn from attempting to capture a perfect image, and instead strive to create an honest photograph. Painting: because selfishly it is my own release in life. Some people journal, some people go for a run… But when I need release of frustration, sadness, even joy…. I go to my sketchbook and attempt to express how I am feeling in those moments. You could say I am an emotional person.

TUBE: How long have you been making art?

Tessa: I suppose I have been seriously making art for about a year and a half now. But I almost feel like this is something that you can’t exactly tag. I think as children we all start as artists and then somewhere down the line we forget.  I can’t really take credit for that thought process though, I think I saw it on some meme on Facebook. HA!

TUBE: Who taught you?

Tessa: Honestly, I don’t have any formal training except I took one basic darkroom class. Other than that, I have just taught myself. I have no idea if I am doing it right. Haha!

TUBE: What inspires you?

Tessa: I am inspired by dreams that I have that are seemingly impossible to make into reality. I am inspired by the intricate details of the world around us….spider webs, fingerprints, cool breezes through the window in the morning. These small details of life often get forgotten in the hustle and bustle of life. I am inspired by God, and what he has done in me…. I am inspired by our humanness and the emotions of daily life.

TUBE:What is your favorite piece you have made?

Tessa: This is another really difficult question to answer. I feel like each of my paintings and photographs are bits of my soul. But if I had to pick I suppose I would choose one of my recent paintings, “You see me.”  It is a very sentimental painting to me and really represents the season I am currently in. 

TUBE: Who is your favorite artist?

Tessa: One of my favorite artists will always be Francesca Woodman. She was a photographer in the 70s. Her work was very dark and raw. She mostly did self portraits that are incredibly breathtaking. Sadly, she commit suicide when she was 22. All that survives her is her art.

TUBE: Do people interpret your art how you intend them too?

Tessa: I really have no idea of how people interpret my art. The few that have shared with me their thoughts have surprised me…. To be honest when I create a piece it is often me trying to sort out current situations without really thinking about what it means. One of my friends always gives me interpretations of my paintings and I feel like she is right on even though I didn’t even know what it meant before hand. It is a tangled web. haha!

TUBE: Favorite food?

Tessa: Hands down, my favorite food would have to be sushi. MMMMMM.

TUBE: What is your dream project?

Tessa: This is a question I feel like I have spent most of my time mulling over, and I honestly have too many. But I think my main dream right now would to be to produce a 2D stop motion film.  If you don’t know what I am talking about, look up Her Morning Elegance on Youtube and be amazed.

TUBE: Most embarrassing moment?

Tessa: If you know me well, you know that I have a lot of these. I seem to attract embarrassing moments like a magnet, but luckily I just laugh at myself rather than feel embarrassed.

But the main one that comes to mind took place during my Freshman year in high school during Health class. Yes. This story is awful.

I was unsure of what a term was that was in a survey that we had to take at the beginning of class. So I decided to ask my teacher what the word meant.

My teacher looked like Mr. Clean and wore snake skin boots. (I kid you not.)  When I asked him what it meant, he instead of telling me discretely, stood up in front of the whole class and said, “Class, Tessa doesn’t know what a douche is.” Where he then went on to explicitly explain the term.

I was mortified.

TUBE:Haha! Any upcoming shows?

Tessa: I will be one of the featured artists at the “Fall Solstice Art Show” taking place at Tapas Bar and Grill in Redding, CA. My work will be displayed from September 22 to October ?

One of my photographs will also be featured in the “Untitled Cereal” show at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA from October 26th to November 18th.

TUBE: What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

Expect to see me attempting to show more of my work to the public. I have some things in progress.

Want to see more from Tessa?   Click here to visit her on Facebook. 

all photos provided by Tessa Ratner

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