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June is Membership Month at the Niagara Artists Centre, which means it’s the perfect time to launch our new Member of the Moment feature. We asked NAC members about art in Niagara and the number one reason to join the NAC. In this interview, Niagara artist Tammy Jane Lepp tells us why she became a NAC member, about a memorable NAC experience and how NAC helped her discover her talent for creating wearable art. You can sign up for your very own NAC membership online or stop by NAC at 354 St. Paul Street in St. Catharines during gallery hours to get your membership in person. Sign up in June, and your name will be entered in a draw for a Special STRUTT Wearable Art Weekend package that includes a pair of Curator’s Row tickets (front row seats) to the Saturday night runway show.

Tammy Jane Lepp was born in 1977 in Ontario. Tammy works predominately in the mediums of painting and fibre art. She studied fine art at The Art Centre at Central Tech in Toronto. Lepp takes an organic approach to her work, preferring to allow the pieces to evolve through her, rather than having a defined plan as to the final outcome.  “My work begins as an expression of emotion, raw and unchallenged by agenda.” She is currently completing a body of work in the field of wearable art. Tammy Jane Lepp is a visual artist living and creating in St. Catharines. Check out Tammy’s Facebook page to read more about her work.

When did you become a NAC member and why?
I think it was in and around 2010 when I first moved to St. Catharines. I became a member because I was really searching for a way to connect with other artists and art-related events locally. It’s so easy to get lost in the studio and turn into the crazy artist recluse who the neighbors see once every six months.  NAC helped get me out there.

Are you an artist, an art appreciator or both?
I have to say both. I think you have to be both to really thrive as an artist. I gain massive amounts of inspiration from other peoples creative endeavors. I find appreciating art can really light a spark and give me that kick in the pants that I sometimes need to get the ball rolling.

What’s the best thing about being an artist in Niagara?
I love a good challenge!

Name a Niagara artist whose work knocks your socks off.
That’s a tricky question. So many people are doing such wonderful work in this area.

Jennifer Vander Meer is doing some mesmerizing painting with flowing churning form and colour that speaks to me. I love the organic feel to her pieces. I would also have to say Lisa Renee McKenzie rocks my fibre art world.

Tell us about a memorable NAC experience.
The very first workshop I ever taught was at NAC. What an amazing nerve racking pivotal experience that was for me. Just to be given the opportunity to share my technical skills and get my hands into teaching was something I am grateful for.

What’s the number one reason to become a NAC member?
To narrow it down to one reason when there are so many!

NAC director Stephen Remus‘ maundering preamble in the e-newsletter alone is worth a NAC membership… and to contribute to the ongoing call for submissions to the NAC Member Bartending Guide. Do it for the bartender’s guide! No, but seriously, NAC introduced me to wearable art, which has since become a passion of mine. A previous piece that I created for STRUTT Wearable Art Weekend is now on it’s way to New Zealand to compete in the World Of Wearable Art Awards. If it wasn’t for NAC I may never have discovered that I have a knack (pun intended) for making wearable art. I think that’s a pretty good reason to join. That reminds me….I think I need to renew my membership

Check back for more Member of the Moment interviews throughout June.