Sacramento Art History Consortium’s Featured Artist: TJ Lev

by Bree Garcia


TJL: Sacramento native, I began painting only 7 years ago after an uncontrollable urge to paint!  Mostly self-taught, I have been fortunate to have shown my work in many local galleries including: VOX Sacramento, Kennedy Gallery, Marco Fuoco Gallery, Tangent, Coffee Garden, Body Tribe, and I’ve participated in several local festivals.  I am very visual; I have loved photography since my teen years, I had a small photography business in the 90’s called “Take a Picture it Will Last Longer”.  I play a little with polymer clay, Day of the Dead skulls and other doodles; I’ve sewn for years, making dolls, clothes, costumes and whatnot.  I’m a mom, wife, retired State employee, and a wanna-be musician.  I live in downtown Sacramento with my bass playing husband Joe, in our 1920’s high-water bungalow.  My children, Nick and Lindsey, and my hubby, are my heart.


 SAHC: Can you give us a brief description of your creative process? What is your preferred medium and style? 

TJL: I typically use acrylics; my art is whimsical, very colorful, bold and fun.  I am heavily folk art inspired.  I love the magic of the natural world, the ocean, the moon, and the clash of a city landscape.  Painting musicians comes from my love of watching my hubby make music.  Vibrant fat ladies come from life experience, and a belief that curves are beautiful!  I’m often inspired by something small, an object, a shadow, a reflection, spiced up with a lively imagination and wacky sense of humor.  Painting is my relaxation; time slows at the easel… stresses of the day just wash away.  

My process is simple; I just push paint around until I see what I envisioned.  That is why I like acrylic paint, it is very forgiving.  If you don’t like the result you can paint it all white and start over.  Although, I haven’t done that very often!


SAHC: As a Sacramento artist what responsibilities do you believe that you have to the local and the global community? 

 TJL: back to the community is important to me.  Where and when possible I donate art to help raise funds for different community causes.  I believe encouraging others through all types of art is important, visual and performing arts.  I believe everyone is capable of creativity, as children our joy to create is very strong and that should be supported and encouraged.  I believe everyone can find happiness and joy through artistic expression! 


SAHC: What advice do you have for emerging artists, or those pursuing a career in the arts?

 TJL: Follow your heart.  Don’t be afraid of making mistakes in your art.  Fear of what the end result will be can stifle the creative process.  It’s ok!  You don’t have to love everything you create, and you won’t!  I’ve found, even if I don’t love it, someone else just might.  Just create, let go and let it flow, and have fun!



SAHC: Who are some of your favorite Sacramento Artists, and why? 

 TJL: That is hard.  There are so many wonderful Sacramento Artists.  The Sacramento artists that inspire me include: Gregory Kondos with his bold use of color and beautiful landscapes. Wayne Thiebaud’s bright paintings of ordinary objects, Anthony Montanino’s use of color for shadows and light.  Laurelin Gilmore’s beautiful work; her people/creatures are simply amazing, and too many others to list!


SAHC: Where are some of your favorite Art/ Art History resources found? 

 TJL: I’m online a lot.  If I want to know about a particular subject, I usually Google it, that is a start.  I have found many art resources through Facebook.  Of course, getting out to local museums is always a lesson in art.  The Crocker, and in San Francisco, the de Young or SFMOMA are wonderful resources.  And The Sacramento Art History Consortium!


SAHC: Is there anything else about the arts here in Sacramento that you would like share with our reader?

 TJL: Sacramento is one of the richest regions for art of all kinds.  Get out.  Go explore.  Include art in your life, you will not be disappointed.


  SAHC: Where can your work be viewed, or found online? 

 TJL: In my studio which is currently inside VOX Sacramento, at 1818 11th Street, on 11th between R and S. 

 For the month of October I am happy to be participating in an Albie Aware Breast Cancer Foundation fund raising event at Little Relics Boutique and Gallery at 908 21st Street, Sacramento.  See my wine barrel painted with fat ladies stomping grapes, and several other paintings, at Amador 360, winery collective and wine tasting room, 18590 Highway 49 in Plymouth CA


My website   Follow me on Facebook for up to date information and to view new works  I also have an online gallery, on you can find me under the featured artists.  Be well… and create!  Tj.