We had the good fortune of connecting with Tanner K Williams (he/him) and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tanner, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is something that I think about with every single piece I make; I think it’s the key to creating work that’s smart, successful and entirely me. There are many small risks that I take in almost every piece — I risk not using moody, expected instagram lighting, I purposefully don’t use popular trends in fashion, makeup or hair. Most of my work isn’t very “shareable,” it’s gross, ugly, kitschy or dumb and isn’t a skinny white girl against a pink wall holding coffee lol. Therefore, my work remains pretty hidden online and my clients, niche and specific. My biggest risk however, is that most of my work is made directly in response to the dark experiences of my youth. I grew up queer and closeted, in the center of hyper Mormon Christian suburbia, be riddled with untreated religious OCD, surrounded by death, estrangement, adultery, alcohol abuse and mental illness. My refusal to water down the realities of my past and present in my work are a risk every time. The people I’m most hurt, perplexed, and abandoned by are the ones that need to see my work the most, however my sacrilegious, deviant and satirical methods aren’t a medicine most mormons are used to receiving. That’s my biggest risk — speaking truths without completely alienating a demographic who so desperately needs to be taught.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

Okay! Here’s my most recent artist statement:

LA based Tantron is a queer, post-mormon, multidisciplinary artist using the repulsive and the suburban to illuminate issues in mental health, trigger social education, and tear down myopic religious expectations of sexuality. His anti-triumphant body of work aims to empower and enable viewers by preparing a space to grapple with difficult-to-approach and hard-to-resolve issues. By satirically contrasting the gaudy and innocent with heavy and realistic human experience, @Tantron aims to make parallel the yucky and the cute.

In reality, I do a lot of things! It changes for every project I do which keeps me feeling fresh and rejuvenated, I can never find happiness in monotony and repetition. I mainly straddle creative direction, photography, costume design, production design, sculpture, and installation! One of my favorite directors, Jared Hogan, said something along the lines of “although everything has been done a million times, we can continue to make new recipes and combinations.” I think that my biggest strength is making odd, playful recipes. Whether it’s stupid, banal items placed in renaissance compositions, contemporary makeup on historical sculptures, monuments to nothing, elevating god-awful kitsch, or making fun of corporate brands by manufacturing fake products for them, all of my work feels just a little bit stupid and a little bit chic.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

Omg what a great question, okay here are my you-can’t-miss-its: 1. Jewel Restaurant on Hoover in Silver Lake, I’m not vegan but this vegan restaurant has the best flavors and coffee in the city and is owned and run by a queer couple.

2. Echo Park Lake picnic or book reading at sunset so you can see the orange sun on the water and watch the swan boats light up and love how dumb and cute they are lol.

3. Thrifting at Bearded Beagle in Highland Park and then getting a sandwich from the most insane Jeff’s Table next door although they’re open for only like 30 seconds a day lol (check their hours to not be sadly disappointed.)

4. Would take them to Akbar on Sunset bc it’s the most inclusive, welcoming and queer bar in the city and I really don’t know anyone who’s str8 anymore lol (jk, I do and also str8’s are welcome at Akbar.)

5. If you’re lucky enough to be in town during Ostbahnhof’s queer monthly party, go with someone queer and dance your fucking heart out (it’s a prerequisite actually.)

6. If you’re looking to get plastered and dance all night, go to the Weho bars. Although they’re a bit bro-esque, they’ve got stellar music and lots of pretty people.

7. Wander around the arts district and find all the hip expensive things and all the free galleries!

8. Drive to the top of Elysian and look around at the most beautiful and smoggy skyline

9. Stay away from Hollywood at all costs lol

10. Get the hibiscus amaro spritz from Tee Gee’s on Glendale Blvd, an original mid century bar with plenty of good vibes.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost my therapists and everyone around me who has helped de-stigmatize self-help and trauma recovery — without therapy I’m not quite sure who I’d be or if I’d be alive. And just as important if not more so, my chosen family! Those that have earned my love, respect and admiration — those who give it back freely and unconditionally. Those that have supported me through all my different life transitions — those that listen to my thoughts, pains, joys and concerns and make me know that life is worth living, if for no other reason than to simply go on existing with these special people. If you’re reading this, you know who you are <3

Website: www.tannerkw.com

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

Image Credits
All images my own 🙂

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