My name is Tara Halsted, and I am a MFA graduate student at UC Davis researching swimwear with compression for injury prevention and muscle activation. I am a competitive swimmer currently swimming for the Davis Aquadarts swim team.
I grew up in Davis, California, and I have been swimming since age five. As an undergraduate at Stanford, I majored in Art Practice and swam on the Stanford Women's swim team. I love incorporating themes of swimming into my art and design projects. In the past, I have done a variety of water-themed art projects, including dying swimming-inspired textiles, painting sea animal designs on shirts, and drawing pictures of my teammates.
I love making things, but in my free time, I enjoy hiking, paddle boarding, reading Calvin and Hobbes, making silly videos with my dog, and baking.
As a child, I loved arts and crafts projects, especially when they included tape, paper, or yarn. I learned to sew and practiced by making clothing for my dolls, my dog (Molly), and myself.
Starting in elementary school, my friends and I knit hats as a fun activity at swim meets while waiting around for our races. We sold the hats at an annual fall swim meet in Davis to raise money for our team. We came up with many hat patterns, including jack-o-lantern pumpkin hats, watermelon hats, customized team color hats, smiley face hats, stripes, and other cute designs. Our hat-knitting business lasted for five years.
I enjoyed art as a hobby throughout high school, but did not go into college expecting to continue with art. After trying out other subjects, I eventually decided to major in Art Practice. I learned drawing, painting (acrylic and oil), photography (digital and film), interactive art, collage, and sculpture. I loved art, but decided that I wanted to use my art background to design products, especially clothing. Due to my background in swimming, I became most interested in designing swimsuits and swim-related apparel. I interned at a swimwear company in the Bay Area, where I learned about the fashion industry and was inspired to go to grad school to learn more about fashion design.
My love for swimming and for my dog are the two main inspirations for the majority of my art and design work. I also love nature, color, and some animals other than my dog.
Wearing the first swimsuit that I ever made
Age 11 (2006)
Sewed an Outfit
Collection of photos of costumes/outfits that I made for my dog, Molly
Target bag shirt and paper skirt
Age 4 (1999)
Age 3 (1998)
Paper hat, dress, and shoes
Age 4 (1999)
Baby quilt that I made with a friend
Crocheted a hat and sewed a dress for my American Girl Doll
Knitting hats with teammates at a swim meet
ARTIST STATEMENT (6/2017, B.A. Art Practice, Stanford):
Due to its physical nature, water has the ability to reflect its surroundings through distortions. Through my art, I reflect my environment through the lens of my perspective. Reflective surfaces such as water question the representation of spaces by blending the surface reflection with the environment below. I aim to depict the feeling of existing in an underwater environment, submerged in an underwater world. I use drawing as a camera, to record details of my surroundings and give permanence to a moment by immortalizing an image. Starting with photography, I translate images into drawings and paintings by manipulating them and inserting my point-of-view. Toying with the idea of truthfulness of memory, I manipulate personal photographs. I focus on the notion of reflection, whether through reconsidering a memory or through questioning a depiction of space on a reflective surface.