Artist Tamar S. Manuel Grows Out of the CID Into Mixed Media

by Amanda Ong

At just 22 years old, Tamar Sunnam Manuel says someone could know him for decades and still know very few of his stories. Manuel is a practicing fine art and gallery artist who spent his formative years in the CID. While he started out in photography, he eventually found his way to mixed-media arts, meaning he does “a bit of everything.” But in his two-plus decades of life, Manuel has also been an amateur competitive tennis player, clothing designer, boxer, bowling champion, and dancer.

“I was a major business originally when I was accepted into [college],” Manuel said in an interview with the South Seattle Emerald. He and his mom had gone to visit her friend, who was a professor in the arts department at one of the universities he was accepted by. “I realized [art] was actually an option. I just don’t think I had grown up seeing somebody who had done art in a way that translated to me, because at the time, I still saw the need for monetary and academic structure and rigor.”

While Manuel eventually stopped pursuing his undergraduate degree, he gained traction as a photographer and exhibiting gallery artist while also working for a period of time as a car salesperson. Aside from pieces hung in residential buildings and galleries, Manuel has been a finalist in the “Seattle Restored” grant program and was able to exhibit a self-portrait reflecting on mental illness at the Wing Luke Museum, where he has a long-standing relationship .

Amanda Ong (she/her) is a Chinese American writer from California. She is currently a master’s candidate at the University of Washington Museology program and graduated from Columbia University in 2020 with degrees in creative writing and ethnicity and race studies.

📸 Featured Image: Tamar Sunnam Manuel is a practicing fine art and gallery artist who spent his formative years in the CID. Photo from “Reflections in Movement” by Tamar S. Manuel.

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