By Gina Malone
River Arts District artist Tessa Lang grew up in Wisconsin where, she says, she was “caked in paint, pottery and permanent marker, and dreaming of Van Gogh’s Starry Night skies.” With an art teacher for a mother, Tessa’s days were spent finger painting and benefitting from her mother’s instruction. And, she says, “We have spent hours and hours in France sketching and studying a few of the masters such as Matisse and Picasso.”
She moved art from hobby to professional career in 2014, with a show in Tokyo. Today, many of her paintings are commissioned pieces and she has also turned her art into colorful and unique leggings. “The leggings are meant to make you feel special, unique and self-assured,” Tessa says. After battling alopecia, a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles, she understands how it feels not being confident with one’s body, she says. “The leggings are bright, fun and comfortable. It’s a wonderful feeling to help others feel empowered and beautiful.”
She often uses animals as subjects for her paintings. “My creations are about taking risks, being bold and celebrating personality traits and emotions,” she says. “Sometimes a piece will be nearly done, a perfectly lovely painting, and I’ll take a risk by splattering ink to simulate elephants spraying water. I’ll add Pébéo (a type of paint) to add skin detail to octopuses. I’ll add gold flake to give glorious pop to an abstract oil. I may even surprise you by adding color or elements to your painting that you didn’t realize you wanted, but that thrill and delight you.”
Tessa works closely with clients on commissioned pieces to make sure that everything is to their satisfaction. “You get to discover what you want for your home in terms of style, subject and background color, and I’m with you every step of the way,” she says. “In addition to visiting you in your home to conceptualize a creation, I also visit when the painting is close to completion to ensure you are happy with the progression. I’ll work on whatever edits you would like made and, lastly, I deliver your painting to help you with the installation and celebrate with you.”
She finds the interaction with clients joyful and satisfying. In addition, she says, “Painting is always therapeutic and redemptive for me.” For her, every creation is different and every client is distinct. “I spend time listening and understanding their style to discover their vision and bring it to life.” Often, she says, people will bring her their own fantastic ideas for creation. Her studio includes her paintings as well as her leggings.
“When people walk into the studio and are attracted to certain paintings, it gives me insight into who they are,” Tessa says. “I want you to step in and say, ‘Wow!’ and feel joy and connectivity to art.”
Tessa Lang Paintings & Leggings is located at The Wedge Studios, 129 Roberts Street, in Asheville’s River Arts District. To learn more, visit TessaLangPainter.com, Facebook (Tessa Lang Paintings & Leggings) or Instagram @tessalangart, or call 828.713.8080. Tessa’s work is also on display and available for purchase at Mountain Madre, The Cliffs at Walnut Cove and Mountain Park Wellness Center.