Tammy Liu-Haller wasn't always an artist. In fact, for 15 years, she didn't create any art at all. "I spent my entire childhood drawing and doodling. It was my favorite thing to do. When our family would make weekly shopping trips, I would veer off to the stationary aisle because my mom always allowed me to get a new notebook or pen". Her skill grew a bit in high school, taking advanced placement classes and it was only natural that when it came time for college, art was her chosen major. "But they didn't teach you how to be a working artist..the business end of it. I loved the classes but I also knew that this painfully shy 20- year old wasn't going to move to the city to pursue the traditional studio artist's path. At the time, I only knew of graphic design and traditional studio art and once I crossed them both off as options, I gave up on the field all together".
She changed majors and went on to obtain her 4 yr degree, work in a museum, attend graduate school, work part-time at a golf course and own a real estate brokerage for 8 years. "Talk about being as far removed from art as possible!" It wasn't until a New Year's Eve party in 2012 that changed everything. "I had drawn a family tree for two dear friends who were hosting a party". She had created this family tree drawing only twice before. When she presented it at the party she didn't expect the response it received. "Everyone went crazy over it. They all started talking about how this should be a business. And the whole time, I'm just smiling and thinking "No way". Really though, they are a great group of friends and the was sincerity there. They believed in me and by the end of the night, a small part started to believe in me too." Within days, she set up her business as The Story Tree, making comissioned family tree drawings. "Commission work has been my greatest learning tool. Here I was, with this "art business", but with skills that were very rusty. When my customers requested something new, I had no choice but to figure out how to draw it. I had deadlines to meet and families that were excited for their artwork... often to be the centerpiece of an anniversary or birthday party. Over time, that built up both my technical skills and my confidence. I couldn't have asked for a better teaching tool". Eventually, her work expanded to include wildlife drawings, pet portraits and golf course commissions.
"Even though trees brought me back to art, my love as always been with animals. I donate artwork when I can to those organizations that rescue, conserve and protect both domestic and wild animals. My hope is to continue doing that on a larger scale ".