About Laura Tan

I was born in 1962 in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. I live and work in Miami, Florida, USA, where I was raised with my siblings by loving parents. I’ve been drawing and painting all my life, professionally for 30 years. As an artist, I’ve delved into different subjects at different times. My self-portraits, however, have always been a part of my work, and now they have become the focus, internal anchor and vehicle for the expression of my thoughts and feelings. They portray what I feel, see and think at any given moment. I have no intention or agenda guiding me in them; rather, I try to express my unfiltered, emotional responses to the painting moment and paint as articulately and freely as I can. Additionally, I thoroughly enjoy all commissioned work, as well as the exploration of other subjects, including birds, animals, people and landscapes.

Work Process

The way in which I work is straightforward. I regularly draw, watercolor and photograph myself and other subjects. When I see something that I like and really want to paint, I use the camera to photograph and plan the rest (scale, etc.). Working with oil on linen adhered to a hard backing, I develop the initial surface by creating texture and stains. Next, I may wipe, scrap and add paint—sometimes over a fragment of an earlier painting (recycling), which already has random, pre-existing surface qualities. Using the photographic image, I determine the figure space, heavily paint within its boundaries, then draw the figure(s) onto this wet layer of paint. From there, I try to let my intuitions take over.


Current and recent projects include “HOME,” (Aug. 2017), a collaboration between 5 paired artists and writers, exploring the theme ”Home,” on display in Miami’s Laundromat Art Space and Little Haiti through Oct. 2017; “Grand Opening” (2017) and “Summer Solstice” (2016) at Armand Bolling Fine Art in Jupiter, Florida; “The SWEAT Broadsheet Collaboration,” (2016) at ‘The Center for Book Arts’ in NYC; “Convo 2,”(2013), a limited edition, hand-made artist book project between 3 artists and 3 writers; “Nice and Not Nice,” (2013), Coconut Grove Arts Festival Gallery, Miami, Florida, and “Martinez/Nicastri/Tan” (2013), Bridge Red Studio Space, North Miami, FL; “The SWEAT Broadsheet Collaboration,” (2014, 2012) at Miami-Dade College Kendall Campus Gallery and The Centre Gallery Wolfson Campus; “61st Annual Juried All Florida Exhibition and Competition” at the Boca Raton Museum, Boca Raton, FL. A recipient of The Florida Individual Artist Fellowship Grant, Laura Tan’s work has been exhibited at the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL; The Center for the Arts, Vero Beach, FL; Florida Gulf Coast Art Center, Clearwater, FL; Metro-Dade Cultural Resource Center, Miami, FL; Collage of the Americas Gallery, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art, Coral Springs, FL.

Academic / Teaching

Laura Tan has also been teaching art since 1989, starting with New World School of the Arts in Miami, where she was an early adjunct faculty member. Subsequent teaching assignments included Drawing, Painting and 2D Design at University of Miami, New World School of the Arts and Florida International University. In 2015 Ms. Tan was the “Francisco R. Walker-Teacher of the Year,” for Southside Elementary, (Miami-Dade County Public Schools), and in 2012 she was a “’Region Finalist’ for Rookie Teacher of the Year” while teaching at Key Biscayne K-8 Center. Ms. Tan earned both Bachelors and Master’s Degrees in Fine Art from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida