Students in field

Learning to give Permission with Finnish American Artist Tia Keo

December 7, 2018

Visiting artist Tia Keo dropped by Finlandia Fridays this week to talk about her work in the 28th Annual Finnish Contemporary Artist Series. Keo’s father David Salmela was the 16th artist in the series, making it the first time two family members have been showcased in the series.Tia Keo Gallery Opening

Keo has a variety of work hanging in the gallery, from sculpture to weavings. Keo admitted while being an artist her whole life, she has just recently started calling herself an artist. Growing up with a creative father, Keo moved from fine art into design, graduating with a degree in architecture from the University of Minnesota. Keo also pursued jewelry design, which she has been working at for the past several years. She and her husband started the jewelry design business Silvercocoon in 2001. Not wanting to be an architect, Keo stated that jewelry design was where she thought her artistic spirit could be nurtured, but after several years she felt burnt out. With several years of exploration, Keo started to work with her hands again, starting to create sculptures.

Titled Permission, Keo’s show is rooted in the idea of her considering herself an artist. September 11 made a large impact on Keo’s life. Keo stated that the event made her question the work she was doing, while putting up barriers to her creative self with the thought that she should be creating more “practical” work.

“All the work that is shown in this show, is work I allowed myself to do that was not tied to making money,” she said. “There were no strings attached to help heal myself.”

Keo has an active presence on Instagram, where she can be found @tiakeo.art. In 2017, Keo participated in a 100-day project, where she posted a piece of work every day for 100 days. After the 100 days was up, Keo decided to keep posting every day. Keo has been starting to post time-lapse videos, showing her processes from start to finish within a minute. With these daily practices on Instagram, Keo states that it ties into her idea of permission by allowing herself to be vulnerable on a large platform.

Keo’s exhibit will be in the Finnish American Heritage Center until Febraury 15. To check out her jewelry business, and see more of her work, check out the links below.

Additional Links:

Tia Keo Links

Silvercocoon Links:

Gallery Pictures


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