Teyjah’s full name is Teyjah K. Bergman McAren but as an artist she goes simply by Teyjah.
Teyjah was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1954. Her parents divorced when she was young, and Teyjah and her younger sister were raised predominantly by their mother. She went to French school during her primary and secondary school years, and then to college to study journalism. Teyjah grew up loving challenge, and her curiosity and zest for new experiences inspired her education, and continues to shape her studies in many ways.
As a young woman, after completing her journalism degree, she worked for Southam Press in Montreal. It was during this time that her interest in art was first triggered. She recalls she would walk by an art gallery next to her office, and one day she went in to look more closely. It was in that moment that she ‘fell in love with watercolours’.
While still in Montreal, her flickering interest in painting was ignited into full flame when she visited an art shop and school. She started dabbling in painting, and working with various painting media. As often happens with Teyjah’s bold approach to life, it wasn’t long before she was herself teaching classes on Saturdays.
Teyjah’s fluency in both French and English languages, her degree in journalism, a new-found love of art, and her experience with teaching was what she took with her, when she left Montreal and relocated in Vancouver, BC. She had discovered through the art school experience that she had an instinctual ability to teach, so when she arrived on the West coast, Teyjah decided to get her teaching degree at Simon Fraser University. She was told by a friend that there was a real need for French Immersion teachers, which gave her the opportunity to combine her bilingualism to her newly acquired degree. She was hired to create a new program for the first French Immersion school in Squamish, B.C.
Teyjah’s inspirations for art stems from important relationships and mentors who have moved her along the artistic journey. Donna Baspaly who worked mostly with semi-abstract styles inspired her love of the abstract; Robert Genn motivated her with his amazing intellect and talent; Mary Todd-Beam who was ‘experimental’ in her work unbridled Teyjah’s spirit of exploration with technique; and Gerald Brommer’s way with design and composition also influenced Teyjah’s own works.
Teyjah’s favourite artists include: Friedrich Hundertwasser who uses lots of colour and displays a sense of fun with his work; Stuart Davies, who uses abstract shapes in a profound way; Mark Tobey with his amazing ‘line work’; Kandinsky who is a founding member of abstract expressionism; Matisse for his use of colour; Jackson Pollock for his unique approach to depicting the world around him; and Robert Rauschenberg, whom Teyjah believes really helped her to modernize art.
Teyjah works with both sides of the brain, and her experiences, education and interests contribute to the way she approaches art. She is curious and likes to be challenged physically, mentally and creatively. She has a spirit of discovery no matter what the subject matter is. Whether it is science, nature, astronomy, geography, psychology, music, she is drawn to anything new and intriguing. However, of all the things that interest Teyjah, her deepest inspirations come from nature. For this reason, she loves to travel to explore the world, and satisfy her sense of adventure.
In Teyjah’s work, color is the main element closely followed by forms. Colors and forms are used to convey a sense of time and place. Much of her work is experimental, based on her visual and emotional observations, and her recollection of what she saw and the way she felt in a locale. Teyjah can be a right brain artist in many ways, but as she describes herself:
“I will start off logically and research-minded, and then when I hit the paint it’s much different. Things change and my intuitive, fun-loving and creative left brain comes out to play. Most times I don’t pre-determine what the topic will be, and I let the paint dictate where it’s going to go.”
Teyjah has had some interesting jobs in her life. She has been a journalist, school teacher, researcher, artist, art teacher and has her Masters of Art Education. She has also managed along the way to fit in being a DJ, a colour specialist for a mining and geology company, a salesperson, and a wife.
If you ask Teyjah what’s on her bucket list, it is more ways to ‘adventure’. Her list includes travel to New Zealand, Venice, Florence and other European locales, Japan, Vietnam and Cambodia where she’d like to study the Asian cultures and is particularly inspired to see the temples. In terms of being an artist she is looking forward to a new venture into alcohol inks in the near future. “I’m not always sure where I’m going to go next, but I will think about things, come across something, or read about something and an idea will inevitably come to me.”
Teyjah is a Gemini split between country girl and city girl. She’s migrated from big city to a small town. She enjoyed an active social life in Montreal, and is now an outdoor enthusiast living in a small town. She has travelled far, but loves her home in BC. She is a researcher of facts, and an imaginative creator of stories. Her painting ‘Enigma’ may be a good way to capsulize her persona, or perhaps ‘The Power of Woman’. Any way you may come to know Teyjah and her works, you will discover she is an acclaimed artist and author, and an inspiring teacher.
We invite you to view her Collections knowing a little more about the artist who created them.
For more information or to purchase any pieces from her collections, please email Teyjah.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org