We had the good fortune of connecting with Tal Avitzur and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tal, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
While I was in college studying math I was fortunate enough to work for and get to know a number of artists, some of which are no longer with us. I have many of them to thank for getting me on my path. I remember being with George Rickey in his workshop, while he was getting the balance and movement just right on one of his kinetic sculptures. He said to me, “Whether or not it is art, it is interesting to me.” That stuck with me since he said it about 30 years ago. I decided early on not to take commissions and just make what I want, what I find interesting. Thanks George. I also worked for Beatrice Wood. She once told me that her craft did not come easy to her, she just worked hard. Prior to that, I always assumed artists had a natural gift, something I didn’t think I had. It was thanks to Beato that I realized maybe I could make a go at it, with some hard work. Luckily I had many talented friends to help me along the way. Since I started creating, I’ve developed a few close friendships with other found-object artists. About 10 years ago, Dan “Tinkerbots” Jones, a wonderful artist whose work I really admire, said to me, “There are no rules to what we do.” I like that. It is the one rule I follow in the workshop. 🙂

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I create sculptures from discarded objects found at salvage yards, flea markets and on the side of the road. I am inspired by the shape or beauty of a vintage item and just have fun making something that I find pleasing from it. I hope other people appreciate it as well. I am not trying to make a statement with each piece. There are no hidden meanings in my work. When I started making sculptures, it was for myself and friends. In doing so I found there is a sense of peace in the studio. Something about the creative process releases dopamine and makes me forget about any current worry or pain.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Any out-of-town guest is subjected to the things I find most fun about Santa Barbara.

Top on the list is a tour of architect and designer Jeff Shelton’s buildings. Jeff’s creations are unique, whimsical works of art that help make Santa Barbara even more special than it already is. Jeff has assembled a wonderful group of amazing craftspeople to add artistic elements to each building. One of those artists is glass blower Saul Alcaraz. Saul is always gracious and inviting whenever I bring in guests. He is a true master at his craft and his passion and enthusiasm is clear when you watch him at work. Saul offers one-on-one glass blowing classes and I’ve seen him help people with no glass-blowing experience create beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces that they never thought they could do.

I try to take a long walk everyday. There are so many charming neighborhoods to choose from, but they never get boring, no matter how many times I’ve walked them. I take guests on hikes tailored to their wishes, anywhere from just a mile or two to more than ten miles.

And of course there are the mountain trails, the beach, the wineries and enough restaurants to please any taste.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Thanks Ken Bortolazzo for his patience in teaching me how to use tools, take things apart and put things together. Thanks Jeremy Mayer for inviting me to show with him, and a bunch of other amazing artists, at Maker Faire, back when I was starting out. And thank you to Irma Cavat for opening up her home to me and introducing me to the Santa Barbara art world while I was in college.

Website: https://talbotics.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/talbotics/

Image Credits
Images by artist

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.