New Artist Spotlight: Tonya Engel

Tonya Engel
Tonya Engel Foster is the woman behind Tonya Engel Fine Art. She has lived in New York the last 9 years and recently moved back to her hometown, Houston. Foster’s work is perfect for children’s rooms, family rooms, and dorms.

Let’s learn more about her…

Describe your work:
Most recently, my work has become more detailed, but I’ve always been an intuitive painter. I like to meditate on my emotional state and in the moment let the painting guide me in the direction it wants to go. paintings often take shape without initial planning. What’s been forcing its way out lately are images of women in the natural world. they are surrounded by mysterious, creatively constructed gardens and greenhouses. The plants and insects themselves ( some of which are imaginary) are like subjects within the dramas that play out in the garden settings.

How long have you been creating, and how has your work changed?
I’ve been painting now for over 20 years! In the beginning, I thought I wanted to be an abstract painter, but after falling in love with narrative figurative artists like Frida Kahlo, Paula Rego, Stanley Spencer, and Gustav Klimpt, my propensity for drama on the canvas was awakened and I’ve never turned back. Also, In the beginning, I often only focused on children and a certain subtle humor in my work, in the last 8 years, the subtleties remain, but my children have ‘grown up’ and become women.

If you could work in any other medium, what would it be?
Assemblage or ceramics. I’d love to create 3 dimensional work!

Tell us about the first dollar you made selling your art:
My first dollar for my art was earned in Austin! I was involved in an art competition (my first!) and I actually won, which I was already thrilled about. Then when the organizer handed me a check, I nearly fainted. I had forgotten about the prize money. That was a fantastic day. At the end of that first show I also sold the submitted piece! It was life-affirming, to say the least.

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?

I love to play in parks and/or be out in nature in some form or fashion.

What makes you excited about doing Armadillo Christmas Bazaar?
I miss seeing all the wonderful people who have become my Armadillo family over the years as well as making new friends with new collectors who are coming to the Armadillo for the very first time. The Armadillo is everything about Austin that I love — great people, amazing music, appreciation for great art, and the artisans that continue year after year to create quality work.

Is there a band you are looking forward to seeing (or hearing from your booth – ha!)?
I can’t WAIT to see Ruthie Foster!

You can find Tonya Engel Fine Art in booth D-2!