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Create Change Alumni Interview: Tattfoo Tan

Meet Tattfoo Tan, 2010 Create Change Alumnus

We reached out to Tattfoo Tan, 2010 Create Change Artist-in-Residence, to find out what he’s been working on lately. Read on to find out more!


What projects have you been working on lately? What have you been up to since the Residency?

Since the residency many projects have come to fruition. One of them is my Nature Matching System placemat that has been selected for inclusion in MoMA Design Store’s Destination: NYC Collection. It is the 11th location in the MoMA Design Store Destination: Design series and celebrates design in New York City. It is a product collection created by designers living and working in the five boroughs with all products manufactured in the United States.


I’ll be building a new coop at The New Children Museum in San Diego for FEAST! The Art of Playing With Your Food, October 10, 2013—September 8, 2014 where S.O.S. 5p.m. will reside. S.O.S. 5p.m. is my backyard flock. They will have the opportunities to interact with children to get them back to nature and the sources of their food.


tattfoo 2


Why made you decide to participate in the Create Change Residency, and how did the program impact your work as an artist?

My work is participatory in nature and I always invite the public for input. The projects also contain educational value. Both my work and The LP had the same mission of engaging the public with art in unexpected places, like my S.O.S. Mobile Garden project, where me and a bunch of students from the New School engage the public with our own uniquely designed mobile planters that we parade along Union Square and 14th Street.


What’s your neighborhood? Why there?

My neighborhood is St. George, Staten Island. I moved there because it is just a working class neighborhood and needed some art invasion.


What’s your favorite thing about living in your neighborhood?

The neighborhood is very diverse and has great ethnic restaurants. The ferry ride is very peaceful and provides a period for meditation and pondering.


What is one thing about it you would change?

Sometimes, I do hope for a faster commute. Maybe speed boat, hydrofoil or subway?


What are you reading now?

I’m on hiatus, I got three plastic bin of books to read. Need to catch up soon. If you want to check out my library, click here.


Can you recommend a favorite online podcast or video?

Food Program on BBC Radio.


What song gets you going when work is hard?

I usually log on to an online music purveyor.


What’s your favorite NYC-themed movie, song, poem, book?

Empire State of Mind, of course. The new Jay-Z version.



What’s your favorite word, sound, color?

I have no preference, they are there to be used and composed.


What is the menu for your dream last meal?

I think that thought might be too late, let’s eat our dream meal tonight.


What most inspires you?

Life in general. My quest to improve myself.


Tell us about an artist who has influenced your work.

Just too many to mention. All artists help the next generation. I build upon others’ works and vice versa.


What does “socially-engaged art” mean to you?

I’m not sure. I don’t like labels. I know the public needs [them] to group and make sense of things.


Do you have any advice to offer other artists interested in socially-engaged work?

Any art form needs an audience—just figure out who is your audience. It doesn’t have to be someone else—it can be yourself. Don’t just jump on the trend bandwagon.


What will you be working on next?

I’m working to launch New Earth, part of a trilogy of my work. First there was Nature Matching System that spotlights healthy eating habits. Second, S.O.S. Sustainable. Organic. Stewardship. That focuses on local, organic and sustainable lifestyles. Finally, New Earth is about disaster preparation and spiritualism facing uncertain future for humanity.




Any current or upcoming show/performance you want to recommend?

Green Acres: Artists Farming Fields, Greenhouses and Abandoned Lots

Arlington Art Center, Arlington, Virginia

June 26-Oct 27

Reception: June 29, 2013


American University Museum in Washington D.C.

Sept 6-Nov 24

Reception: Sept 6, 2013


Tattfoo Tan is an artist that works with the public on issues relating to ecology, sustainability and healthy living. His work is project based, ephemeral, and educational in nature. He resides in Staten Island with his hens S.O.S. 5p.m. To read more about Tattfoo’s laundromat-based residency project, “Sustainable. Organic. Stewardship.” click here.

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