Tal Peleg is an Israeli visual artist who uses her eyes as canvases for creating the most breathtaking pictures you can imagine. Makeup, painting, drawing and photography are all techniques involved in the process of her art. Her themes vary from fairytales and scenes from books, to real issues and childhood memories. She tells stories and reinterprets the world through her eyes. It’s not the idea per se, but her own expression of it— not a scene or an emotion, but her own representation of them.
She finds inspiration in the world that surrounds her and interprets it internally through her vision of the world to express it externally in the windows of her soul. In a way, her art is ephemeral because the painting is erased from the canvas after it is done. It takes her two to four hours to create each little painting and a few minutes later, the makeup is removed from her eyes. It’s through photography that her art is immortalized. She says she doesn’t feel sad when she erases her creations, not even after all her hard work, as long as she has taken a picture.
We see only one eye and not her whole face because the face is irrelevant in this case. It’s the eye which makes the whole picture. We only see one eye because it’s not intended as makeup but as art.
Although she does some artistic makeup on other models, for her eye-art she only uses her own. She says it’s easier to draw on her own eye because she doesn’t move or complain and she always has access to her muse when she finds inspiration. She obviously needs to have a whole lot of patience and a very steady hand. Not to mention an eye for detail.
A theme that constantly repeats in her art is the one of cats and dogs. She feels strongly about adopting shelter pets and saving a life. Tal says:
“So many dogs and cats are waiting in shelters, in cold and lonely cages, just waiting for you to give them a loving home, a warm hug and care. In return, they will give you unconditional love and will be forever grateful. Well, unless they’re a cat. In this case, there’s a chance they will make you believe they did *you* a great favor… and they’re totally right!”
Peleg finds all cats amazing but black cats are for her especially beautiful. She once had a black cat named Louis with whom she had a truly special connection and was very close with. He was the inspiration for her first cat themed eye-art— a black cat playing with a purple yarn that became a huge viral hit.
“It was quite simple compared to the very detailed works that I do today, but I like how it was simple yet creative— I use my lid as Louis’ body, and the eyebrow as his tail,” explained Peleg.
Louis passed away last April at the age of six and Peleg was devasted, but she found comfort in the fact that he was always alive in her eye-art. When she posted about his death, thousands of people from all around the world knew his name and who he was.
It seems to me that her art could also be understood as a metaphor of loss and how we deal with it. The same way her paintings may be erased after she removes her makeup, they are still immortalized through a picture— our own losses are also immortalized through our memories (which, in a way, are like pictures in our head). Louis and the cat theme makeup are gone, but the pictures remain alive.
Since then she has created more cat themed looks, like the cat peeping out of the eyelid (also dedicated to Louis), the ginger cat dedicated to her cat Neo and Yin and Yang with a fluffy new friend. And I’m sure there are more to come ahead.