My name is Tara Halsted, and I am a first-year MBA student at UC San Diego. I recently graduated from UC Davis with an MFA in Design. I went to Stanford for undergraduate, where I majored in Art Practice and swam on the Stanford Women's swim team. 


I grew up in Davis, California, and I have been swimming since age five. I love incorporating themes of swimming into my art and design projects. As an undergraduate, I focused on breadth and learned drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, and mixed media. Many of my projects included swimmers, water, and reflections. In graduate school, I focused on apparel design, but also took a range of classes including human-centered design, typography, and textile design.


Several of my recent projects address swimming-related issues that I have personally experienced. For my thesis project, I designed a swimming training garment for competitive swimmers that uses design features to address risk factors of common swimming-related injuries (patent pending). I went through several iterations and modified the garment many times based on in-water testing and feedback from swimmers.


Swimmers often have trouble finding clothing that fits properly due to their wide shoulders and muscular frame, so I designed "Breathing Room", a fashion collection made specifically to fit the body proportions of female swimmers. For the "Breathing Room" collection, I started by designing formal gowns for swimmers to model in a fashion show (show was cancelled due to COVID), then expanded the collection to include business apparel and casual, beach-inspired activewear. I drafted all original patterns based on measurements of female swimmers. My color palette consists of mainly blue fabrics inspired by the colors and reflective surface quality of water. I am continuing to expand my collection by adding new designs. 

Swimmers try to stay warm and dry between races at swim meets, so I made multiple swimming parkas with novel features for keeping swimmers warm and dry. Swimsuits made from 100% polyester last for a long time, but the seams and elastic wear out much faster than the swimsuit material. I cut up the material from old suits with worn-out elastic, and reused it to sew suits with new elastic. 

navy blue one-shouldered mesh cinch dres
underwater world
Drawing self-portrait

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.

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Painted self-portrait