Studio Visit: Adelaide Tai liberates herself and others through art

Tai’s large, abstract paintings have an enrapturing quality that resembles ocean waves and mountain ranges.

Adelaide Tai
Adelaide Tai is both a painter and a singer. For her, both art forms are deeply spiritual.

Photograph by Marie Thomas

For Adelaide Tai, her work always begins with a color palette. Color helps her get to the root of her emotions. When she pours the paint, she has no idea where it will go as it scurries across the canvas filled with whatever she’s releasing at the moment. After it settles, she covers the surface with metallic pigments and enamel.

“Art feels like running for me,” Tai says. “It connects me to my higher self. It feels natural and free, but it’s extremely personal.”

Adelaide Tai
Tai pours paint and lets it flow naturally, absorbing whatever energy she’s releasing at the moment.

Photograph by Marie Thomas

Growing up in Lawrenceville and later in Cumming, she originally thought law would be her path, even earning a degree in international affairs at the University of Georgia. But law school wasn’t in the cards. During college, she studied abroad in Oxford and Verona, where she worked at an art museum, which inspired her to consider a career in the arts.

Although she had made and sold jewelry while she was in school, Tai had never considered pursuing art full-time. But after returning to the States, she found herself drawn to Atlanta’s art scene.

She experimented with watercolors until multimedia artist Jeremy Brown showed her how to use resin. Tai had her first show in 2015 at the former Cafe 640 on North Highland Avenue and made $1,000 in one night. She took it as a sign from the universe that she was on to something.

Adelaide Tai
Garden of Soul

Right now, Tai says she’s obsessed with lilac—sometimes reflected in her hair and nails. It’s also made subtle appearances in her latest collection, Future Medicine, which is on display at FreeMarket Gallery in Westside Provisions. She plans to release a new collection called Opulent Earth.

Tai’s large, abstract paintings have an enrapturing quality that resembles ocean waves and mountain ranges. The title of each piece is a prescription for a free life, referencing Latin terms, such as RX: Otium (leisure) and RX: Effundam, (to pour out).

“I’m creating a reality where I can be anywhere I want to be—a reality of freedom and beauty,” Tai says. “I think my job here on the planet is to find beauty within myself and the world, create from those places, and share what I find with others.”

This article appears in our Fall 2021 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME