Written by Olivia Strickland
Photographed by Lindsay Higgins
Rachel Tabor walks into Books and Beans holding her own cup of coffee from home and immediately breaks into a smile before jumping into our conversation. “Honestly, all I’ve been able to think about is how, the first time we met, I was in a dumpster,” she laughs, recalling a time a few years ago when she had jumped into a local dumpster to look for art materials with a few friends. As a junior Communications major who stumbled into a double major in Painting and Drawing, Rachel is used to seemingly unimportant accidental encounters turning out to work in her favor.
She says she got into studio art in college “basically by accident.” Rachel had originally wanted to take a few photography classes, but an art professor suggested adding a Painting and Drawing major. “I don’t know if I’m just too easily persuaded,” she laughs a little. She then tilts her head to the side and adds, “Maybe it was destiny or the will of the Lord, but that’s how I ended up here.” Rachel does not consider herself to be primarily a painter but defines painting as a doorway to art in general. One of her favorite pieces of her own is a sculpture of straws that uses pointillism techniques to form a face. “I’m still experimenting with different things. Everything is a process of finding things along the way.”
She answers almost every question about her art by mentioning the creative energy she finds in collaboration with other artists. Working with other artists is the heartbeat of her creative process. “I love art, but I hate being isolated,” she says. “Collaborating is everything.” She says her favorite art project was finding an old abandoned house with her cousins and restoring the inside to something beautiful. “Nothing is ever broken. Everything is fixable if you’re creative enough.” Rachel cites her family, especially her sisters, as a huge source of encouragement and inspiration, even referring to her family as a creative team with many strengths. She defines her parents as being completely unaffected by social norms and consistently steadfast in their beliefs and credits them with encouraging her creativity. Her other influences include J.M.W. Turner and the whole of the British Romanticism movement. Even though she says a lot of art, especially in Romanticism, now seems cliché, she claims that “it was new at some point. In the beginning, it was revolutionary. Everything has to start somewhere.”
Her plans for the future include some type of creative directing position, which would draw her majors together. “Visual art is such a beautiful way to communicate. I want to use that.” Regardless of where she ends up in her career, she knows her passion will remain the driving force in her life. “The real thing is just the thrill of creating something out of nothing.”