Tatia Cynae DePass
Artist | Painter | Illustrator
June 23, 1987 - September 25, 2018
"Sitting in front of a piece of paper I make a mark. This mark cannot be undone. For me there is freedom in things that cannot be undone. Creation is born out of permanent marks and mistakes. I read, I watch, I listen. I apply that which I consume onto the paper and enjoy the adventure of navigating the chaos of a committed line. This type of drawing has become a spiritual practice for me, allowing me to speak to myself by bypassing language. I am as surprised by the content as anyone else. Sometimes the images don’t wait for me to understand them before they come. In many ways I am only a conduit." — Cynae
“I conducted extensive research on the history and symbolism surrounding each letter of the English alphabet. From that research, I designed a new alphabet depicting my findings in visual form. My research took me through modern and ancient languages, the Kabbalah, the Bible, Sacred Geometry, pictorial language, hieroglyphics, alchemy, ancient religion, astronomy, astrology, tarot, mathematics and much more. Each “letter” is made entirely of clear plexiglas and represented as a dodecahedron, in honor of the alchemical and scientific symbolism of the dodecahedron shape, its connection to structure, consciousness and thus, thought and language.” — Cynae
Tatia Cynae DePass was an all-around exceptional artist. She was best known for her iconic “brain map” drawings, her research into, and subsequent depiction of, the shape of letters, as well as for her spiritualism, her exuberant personality, her love of music, her love of documentaries and her love of helping others.
Tatia Cynae Jorge Garcia DePass, aka Tatia, aka Tia, aka T, aka Cynae, was born June 23, 1987 to Puerto Rican-Cuban—African-American parents. She and her older Shondez were born and raised in Boston MA. During her early childhood, she constantly talked about wanting to become a lawyer. She took classes in — and showed a talent for — writing, theater, dancing and gymnastics. She was always known for her outgoing personality and for challenging the status quo. In high school, all the courses she took were advanced. Two of the many high school activities she participated in were cheerleading and performing arts.
1993-2001 – Edward Devotion Elementary School, Brookline MA
2001-2005 – Brookline High School, Brookline MA
2005-2007 – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI
2009-2010 – University of North Carolina, Charlotte NC
2015-2018 – School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, Boston MA
Tatia graduated from Brookline High School in 2005 and in the fall of that same year, entered the University of Michigan. In college, she took several different liberal arts courses, including theology, but was unable to settle on a major. Tatia left the University of Michigan after her second year. She spent a year in Boston before deciding to relocate to North Carolina where her father resided. After a short time, she entered the University of North Carolina as a political science major. She completed one year and was then forced to leave because of financial difficulties. It was around this time that Tatia began drawing and doodling and discovering her passion for art. She designed tattoos and taught herself to illustrate and paint. With the help of her father, she began exhibiting and selling her artwork at street fairs in Charlotte.
By the time Tatia returned to Boston, she had developed a substantial art portfolio. She applied to several colleges in pursuit of a degree in art. In 2015, she entered The School of the Museum of Fine Arts. For the next three years, she managed a marathon schedule of studying full-time during the day and working part-time overnight to pay for tuition, books and supplies. It all culminated in 2018 when she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree.
While in North Carolina, Cynae emerged as a self-taught artist working mainly with acrylics and inks. Her early work is noted for its lowbrow aesthetic and social commentary. She has been inspired by contemporary artists such as Alex Pardee, Brian M. Viveros, Robert Williams and by pure experimentation. She specialized in unique and unconventional concepts and experimented with unusual techniques. Her illustrations and paintings were done paper and canvas and on unconventional media such as wood paneling and mirrors. She later moved to sketching with micron pens and sumi ink on paper and canvas. There seemed to be no limit to her artistry.
ARTIST STATEMENT (2018) - Tatia Cynae DePass is an artist, whose work is an honest, unedited reaction to being alive and aware in today's world. Cynae works with Micron Pens and Sumi Ink to create detailed brain maps. With Cynae’s work there are no under drawings and no revisions. The effect of this process mixed with her unfiltered imagination is a magical hypnotic world filled with a variety of characters and situations ranging from the chaotic to the coy. The drawings morph about themselves drowning in a universe of ancient and contemporary symbolism that becomes a literal bombardment of information which physically, intellectually, and emotionally connects itself to itself. Recently, she has been scanning these drawings and laser cutting them into different materials to produce a variety of different experiences with the original drawings.
Cynae has shown in shows and galleries across New England and North Carolina. She was very successful at marketing and selling her creations.
2013 Out of the Blue Gallery, Cambridge MA
2013 Middle East Restaurant, Cambridge MA
2014 Cambridge Common Restaurant, Cambridge MA
2013 Dark Arts, House of Blues Foundation Room, Boston MA
2013 Black Like Me, Bunker Hill Community College Gallery, Boston, MA
2013 Into Your Art, Out of the Blue Gallery, Cambridge MA
2014 Art at Great Scott, Allston, MA
2014 Black Jazz, Bunker Hill Community College
2014 RAW: Boston Presents Current, Nicks Comedy Cafe, Boston MA
2014 RAW: Boston Presents Axis, Nicks Comedy Cafe, Boston, MA
2014 RAW: Boston Presents Scope, Nicks Comedy Cafe, Boston, MA
2014 Arts on the Harbor: Pop up Exhibition to benefit HarborArts, Boston Harbor, Revere MA
2015 Black Like Me, Bunker Hill Community College Gallery, Boston, MA
2015 Dark Arts, House of Blues Foundation Room, Boston MA
2015 RAW: Charlotte Presents Grandeur, Charlotte, NC
2015 RAW: Boston Presents Sensory Middle East Down Stairs, Boston MA
2015 African American Artists, Gallery Z, New York, NY
2016 Abused, Mission Gallery, Boston MA
2017 Cynae + Danielle Coenen, Piano Gallery, Boston MA
2017 SMFA Medal Award Gala honors James Turrell, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston MA
2017 Tufts/SMFA Drawing Biennial, SMFA Atrium, Boston MA
2017 Mission Hill Senior Thesis Show, Mission Hill Gallery, Boston MA
2017 Unbound Bodied (QTBIPOC), EMW Bookstore and Gallery, Cambridge MA
2018 Shaman Show, IArtColony, Rockport MA
2018 SMFA Medal Award Gala honors Lana Simpson, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston MA
2018 In Search of Coalescence: Senior Thesis Show, SMFA Boston MA
2018 End of the Year Show, SMFA Boston MA
2017 Tufts University Instagram
2017 Tufts Now, now.tufts.edu
2018 Glouster Sunday Times
2018 Boston Art Review, http://bostonartreview.com/reviews/search-coalescence-smfa-tufts/
2018 Deliciousline.org, https://deliciousline.org/review/280
2018 Boston Voyager, http://bostonvoyager.com/interview/meet-cynae/
2018 Boston Voyager, http://bostonvoyager.com/interview/thought-provokers-mattapan/
In addition to being creative, ambitious and passionate about all things art, Tatia was well known for her strong spirituality and for her determination to live life to the fullest on her own terms. She was always searching for the transcendent meaning of life. The spiritual paths she used were many, including meditation, yoga, astrology, tarot cards, chakra balancing and doodling. She was an experienced astrologer and a skilled tarot card reader. Tatia stated in an interview: “For me, there is freedom in things that cannot be undone. Creation is born out of permanent marks and mistakes. I read, I watch, I listen. I apply that which I consume onto the paper and enjoy the adventure of navigating the chaos of a committed line. This type of drawing has become a spiritual practice for me, allowing me to speak to myself by passing language.”
On May 20, 2018, Tatia Cynae DePass received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from SMFA at Tufts. She was 30 years of age about to turn 31. In August 2018, shortly after graduation, Tatia realized one of her many dreams — traveling abroad — when she visited her friend in Johannesburg South Africa. She returned from her trip, two weeks later, in a state of euphoria and resolved to continue her life journey with her next adventure. She had applied to several artist-in-residence programs and was accepted at the prestigious Vermont Studio Center for a three-month residency. There, in a “quiet, undisturbed, idyllic setting,” she planned to complete several projects and continue the research she started in college. The cost to attend would be substantial, even with the small scholarship she was awarded. She decided try to raise money by (1) starting a Go Fund Me campaign, (2) by creating artwork on commission and (3) by selling her “early pieces” of artwork on Etsy. At the time of her unexpected departing, she had raised enough money for one month.
On September 25, 2018, Tatia suffered a fatal tragedy, when, after a day of fundraising, she decided to go out for “some air”. Circumstances surrounding her passing are still unclear; on the surface, it appeared that she had drowned. Her case is still open.
Albert Garcia DePass never got to see his daughter graduate. He was a big influence in her life and very supportive of her art career. He dabbled in art and photography as a hobby. Towards the end of his life, he struggled with cancer. Tatia, already juggling school and work, traveled back and forth numerous times between Boston and North Carolina to help her father transition. He succumbed to his illness five months before she received her BFA.
“For the piece ‘Scroll’, I used my stream of consciousness drawing method to investigate my personal relationship between space, time, and experience. For 9 months I did stream of consciousness drawings on a large piece of paper - size 30' x 40'. Most of the time the paper was hung in my studio and I would hold in my ideas throughout the day until I was able to get back and draw on the paper directly. Other times, I would roll the paper up and carry it with me and slightly unroll it on whatever surface I could find and draw. This piece became a visual recording of those 9 months of my life.” — Cynae