The Artist Behind Batch



Tamara LaValla is an accomplished artist and OCD chocolate maker inspired by the potential for mutually assured seduction.

Originally from snowy central New York, LaValla attended the wildly immersive NY State Summer School of the Arts and secured a spot in Albright-Knox Gallery’s permanent collection. She went on to earn her BFA in Illustration from Syracuse University and inclusion in the Society of Illustrators esteemed 37th Annual of American Illustration and exhibition in NYC.

Upon graduation, Tamara moved to South Carolina putting her degree to work as an award-winning Senior Artist for The Herald newspaper. Over the next 16 years, she taught at Winthrop University helping develop and implement an Illustration program in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

In 2003, LaValla cofounded a design firm which has grown into the present day Social Design House. The following year, she launched Up, a gallery, store and frame shop that featured work from local and international artists for nearly a decade. During that time, Tamara also served as an Artists U facilitator for the SC Arts Commission, traveling the state to help fellow artists build balanced, sustainable careers.

When not making or moving around the globe with her painter turned photographer husband, Zan, Tamara is mastering the art of craft chocolate in her second studio, the kitchen.




My drawings and paintings explore a real and persistent
preoccupation with desire, order, progress and work.

Building upon two decades in illustration and design, my current work abandons a reliance on ones and zeroes in pursuit of tangible artifacts that are both timely and timeless. I embrace the rigors of making in an ethereal, virtual world to transform myself into the kind of human I want to be. I invite the viewer to join my conversation via iconic symbols, the shimmer of metal leaf and the sensuousness of wax. My studio is a meritocracy where tenacity and growth are rewarded over safety and luck.

In this space where “Command-Z” no longer exists, I am slowly learning to yield control.