Ever thought to mix bitumen and acrylic? We chat with Derryn Tal, the mind that made it into art

Using chemical reactions to express the idea of cause and effect in nature and in our everyday lives, Derryn Tal likes to experiment with different mediums and how they react with each other.

With an emphasis on unconventional mediums and styles, Derryn’s art is inspired by her unique belief that every action we make in life is interconnected.

Chemical Cocktail, mixed media
Chemical Cocktail

Derryn Tal chats with us about the inspiration and ideas behind her psychedelic reactions between mediums and styles.

HAPPY: How did you get the idea of reactions for the focus of your art?

DERRYN: Reactions stem from my fear of change. Creating moving and evolving art is all about change and capturing moments in time to record something that is long gone.

HAPPY: How do you believe the idea of cause and effect plays out in our everyday lives?

DERRYN: Every action we make has repercussions. Something as simple as writing a text message and it being misinterpreted is a good example of cause and effect in everyday life. How we treat the environment, or a dolphin swallowing a plastic bag, are other examples of cause and effect.

Melting Moments 2
Melting Moments 2

When I was in primary school, a teacher wrote in my autograph book:

Your life lies before you
Like a sheet of driven snow
Be careful how you tread it
As every mark will show

This has remained one of my life long mantras, but perhaps in a way that has also made me fearful of change.

Thin Air
Thin Air

HAPPY: How are your artworks a reflection of cause and effect?

DERRYN: My techniques as well as concepts are a reflection of cause and effect. My concepts are described in my artists statement:

“My art is a reflection of cause and effect.
My motivation is to be a creator of reactions. I am a conduct to the innovative and to the emotional.
I intuitively connect to the reaction, creating and observing the fleeting and ephemeral metamorphosis.
I am the conductor, the performer, the instrumentalist, the creator of something living and dying, flourishing and fading-capturing moments of splendour for eternity.”

Orb 3
Orb 3

I create chemical reactions which cause molecules to break and disperse. It’s quite science-based, even though I am totally non-scientific. With all my techniques I use unconventional mediums and create reactions within them, for example, paint breaking the emulsion of photographic paper, bitumen reacting with oil glazes and acrylic and now I am digitally combining painting techniques with photography.

HAPPY: Why do you like creating reactions between mediums?

DERRYN: I love experimenting and having an unconventional approach to my work.

Molecular Magic 3
Molecular Magic 3

HAPPY: Which is your favourite medium to work in and why?

DERRYN: At the moment it is my photographic mixed media, where I digitally combine all my different techniques. It is really exciting to take each process to a different level.

HAPPY: Why do you like abstract and contemporary art?

DERRYN: I love creating works that are not an obvious representation of something. I love the fact that every time I look at an artwork, I see something new. It is not like looking at a painting which will always look the same as the day you created it. The details and depth will always create an interest to the mind’s eye. I work a lot merging the left hand side of the brain (analytical) with the right hand side of the brain (creative).

Bonsai 1
Bonsai 1

HAPPY: How did you get into art?

DERRYN: I dropped science at school as I hated it so much and the only subject that fitted into my timetable was art. I loved it from the first day. It is ironic that so much of my work now involves science.

HAPPY: What’s up next for you?

DERRYN: I am exhibiting at Tacit Gallery in Melbourne in March. I am also collaborating with Designer Rugs, and have designed three rugs which will be hand knotted in India. I will be creating a range of upholstery fabrics to compliment the rugs. Recently, I had some of my artworks printed on to fabric for clothing. It is really exciting seeing my artworks applied in different ways.

Flora 1
Flora 1