Tyna Ontko - Pinnochio

Tyna Ontko - Pinnochio


Poplar, leather, satin, metal, carnauba wax, orange oil, video loop


   In the classic Italian 1883 children’s novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio, the protagonist of the story is humbly named after a variant of common “pinolo”, meaning pine seed, and “occhcio”, which is the Italian word for eye. This pine’s eye is a living wooden puppet who must prove himself worthy in order to become flesh and blood.

   My Pinocchio doesn’t fall short of serving the same purpose. Among the pines of the Pacific Northwest, it was once a tree chopped down and left to rot outside the 76 Station on 23rd & Cherry. Now carved to take a new shape, donning my physical clothing, and my skin and breath in virtual form, it serves to revisit a narrative from childhood, using materials that have become familiar from the experience gained in adulthood. I believe that tech serves as a container for human image, while a puppet is intended to mimic humanness all the same.

Tyna Ontko received her BFA from Western Washington University in printmaking with a focus on the process of stone lithography. Since graduating, she’s taught at North Seattle College, Seacourt Print Studio, and Pratt Fine Arts Center, and has attended residencies at Black Church Print Studio, Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, and Residency 108. She currently resides in Seattle, WA, where in addition to her own practice, she works as an artist assistant to the sculptor John Grade, serves as a member on the board of Seattle Print Arts, and practices Kettlebell Sport competitively with Seattle Kettlebell Club.


Artist Statement:
"In my work, metaphor and word play meet object assemblage and a fascination with the inherent human impulse to seek our own likeness within the inanimate. Where the gallery acts as a device for transformation, separating form from prior attachment, the beholder of the work fills the empty space between the two, thus transforming the object through mutual will. Liberating material from its context in the real world in part, liberates it from the real world itself."

Social Media:
Instagram, @tyna.ontko

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