Exceptionalist 006: Tasha Marks - STPL

Exceptionalist 006: Tasha Marks

Tasha Marks

As the founder of AVM Curiosities, award-winning food historian Tasha Marks explores the relationship between art and the senses. Tasha champions the use of food as an artistic medium, with projects ranging from museum-style exhibitions and sculptural installations, to interactive lectures and limited-edition confectionary.

Tasha's patrons have included; The Royal Academy of Arts, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The National Trust and Selfridges.

London store Sick-Note describe Tasha’s work as "the love child of Leonardo Da Vinci, Willy Wonka and Ferran Adria".

When did you fall in love with what you do and how did you get started?

It was a wildcard module selection in the final year of my Art History degree that led me to discover food history. I had wanted to be a museum curator, but realising the power of food as a storyteller made me reconsider how I wanted to communicate these stories. I felt there was space for a more sensory interpretation of history, something that fused art and the senses. I also always knew I wanted to be a maker and that I wanted to create things as well as interpret collections.

When I left university there was no clear path for this, so I got a desk job for a year, saved up and eventually started my own company. I continued learning on the job, letting my practice grow organically, I undertook training as a confectioner and later a perfumer, and I’ve now been running AVM Curiosities for almost 10 years.

What was your earliest childhood ambition? 

When I was younger, I wanted to work with animals - either as a vet or in the wild, protecting endangered species. I once saw a video about a conservation team who travelled across the Amazon in a hot air balloon - they had this huge net that they would drop down on the canopy so that they could take samples of fruits and flowers. That always stayed with me. Though it’s different from what I do now, perhaps I’ve always seen the power of food and the senses. Food is a microcosm of a macro world.  

What difference are you striving to make in the world?

I want to make the museum and gallery environment a more inclusive place via the senses. Food and fragrance can transverse language barriers, and bring together audiences of any age, gender or physical ability in a shared experience. The senses can teach us, they can excite us and they can unite us. That seems more important than ever at the moment.


Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?

I can’t choose, I think you need both to be successful! Ambition will get you there but talent will keep you there.

What career advice would you give your 16yr old self?

Be more bold.

What's on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?

As a self-employed person, things are very up in the air at the moment. The cultural sector has been particularly badly hit by Covid and without the visitors it’s hard to know what lies ahead. However, there is light in the dark as people have started to realise the value of the arts. The creative industries are not an extra. In lockdown it was music, television, art and books that kept us sane!

In turn, I’m figuring out how to navigate this new sensory and physical landscape when it comes to audiences and experiences. I’m working with a couple of museums on some exciting things for next year and I’ve been doing a lot more writing and recording in the meantime. In these strange times what we need is content and I’ve got lots of stories to tell…

www.avmcuriosities.com | @avmcuriosities

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