Christina Tarkoff Oil Paintings

Painting the People & Places of Philadelphia & Beyond

 Santa Fe Taos Pueblo #1  - Work in Progress

Santa Fe Taos Pueblo #1  - Work in Progress


“Art brings people together.”

With my paintings, I try to tell stories that cross traditional barriers such as age, income, education & race to help us understand the most important art of all — the art of being human.”


The 7 Things You Should Know About Me & My Paintings

1. Every Painting Tells a Story

My "why" as an artist is to create paintings that enhance your life.

When you look at my paintings, I hope that you can escape everyday life and worries for a moment. I hope my work inspires you to appreciate the simple joys in life and the world we live in. Whether it's children playing in a fountain on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, ice skating at Dilworth Park, or a musician strumming his guitar in Rittenhouse Square. I like to say that "Every Painting Tells A Story." My goal is to enhance your life by bringing people together to enjoy the beauty of our surroundings. To transport you from your daily life to that of another time and place. 

2. I am on a Mission.

As each day passes, it is important for all of us to feel good about our life and our surroundings.

I want to enhance your life by helping you create an atmosphere in your home or office that inspires you and makes you love waking up in the morning. People, places and every day life compel me to create original paintings that bring people together by inspiring a sense of joy, fun or laughter.

3. #ArtaPHILLYist

"ArtaPHILLYist" is a word I created to describe my paintings of Philadelphia. Every painting tells a story. I paint the "Streets of Philadelphia" to capture the soul and character of Philly and its people. I think it’s wrong that Philly lives in the shadow of New York City. Everyone should know that Philly’s art, theater, museums and sports teams…ROCK!

4. What Folks Say About My Paintings

"You are inspiring!"

"Love it Tina. So talented!"

"I cannot decide which painting is my favorite, the last one or this one. Well done."


"Beautiful, you are so talented."

"So cool to see Philadelphia sights come alive!  Love this series!"

"One of my favorites!"

"Tina, it's wonderful!"

"Wow Tina...amazing !!"

"It is great, I have been watching your updates as you worked on it. What a lovely finished piece."


"What a great painting."

"Very nice Christina!! Love it."

"@ctarkoff Oh Wow! What an amazing painting!"

"Beautiful as usual! Talented!"

"What a beautiful work of art, Tina!"

 "Beautiful pieces of art."

5. Life as an Artist—Obstacles, Challenges & Triumphs  

I have been an artist since I was 4 years old.

Since the time I learned to hold a pencil, pen, brush or piece of chalk, I was always drawing and sketching. 

I studied art and painting at Temple University, Tyler School of Art. I spent a semester in Rome, I studied under the best painting, printmaking and sculpture artists, any student could hope for. My education provided a solid foundation for not only my painting, but my future life as a graphic designer. My years in art school were a dream come true.

The Twenty Year Deferral

Life sometimes takes detours. Dreams and aspirations change. For twenty+ years, I enjoyed raising my family and growing my graphic design firm. During those years, I had no time or energy left to make art or paintings. 

The Abyss  

I was away from making paintings for so many years, I stopped thinking of myself as an artist. Art was created by others more creative and talented. Making art was a dark hole from which I could never see the light. It was unreachable, out of touch, not even remotely doable for me.

The Transformation—I Can Do This!

How did I experience a transformation and return to making art? How did I become an #ArtaPHILLYist? What was it? 

A trip with my husband to Santa Fe, New Mexico in November 2015! The amazing art and artists of Santa Fe's boundless creative community was my wake up call to restart life as an oil painter. The pervasive presence of art in the community of Santa Fe is overwhelming. The mere number of art, galleries, and artists struck me like a bolt of lightening! I can do this!  

The Triumphs

I am making art again! Since January 2016, I am working hard to bring visual stories about the people and places of Philadelphia to my fans and followers. It’s not easy, it takes time and energy, but my work as an artist feeds my soul. You may think it's unusual, but my journey has led me to this genre I call #ArtaPHILLYism!

6. My Accomplishments

I am proud that I continue to create a body of quality work, participate as a co-op member of the Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center, and continue to show my work at highly regarded art centers & galleries throughout the Philadelphia region.

Shows & Honors Include:

Cover, "Philadelphia Stories," Winter 2018.

Music in Rittenhouse

The Winter edition of "Philadelphia Stories," in collaboration with the Free Library of Philly's "One Book, One Philadelphia" celebrates this year's selection, "Another Brooklyn" by Jacqueline Woodson. "Philadelphia Stories" Winter Edition features "Another Brooklyn's" theme of how music is embedded into the stories of folk's daily lives.  My painting, "Music in Rittenhouse Square," has been chosen as the Cover Image!  

The launch event takes place at Free Library's Rittenhouse branch, The Philadelphia Institute, January 29, 2018 at 5:30 pm. My painting, along with the other artwork from "Philadelphia Stories" will be on exhibit until February 10, 2018 at the Philadelphia Institute.



 "Dancing at Rittenhouse Square" 2017, Oil on stretched canvas, 18x24

"Dancing at Rittenhouse Square" 2017, Oil on stretched canvas, 18x24

 "Rittenhouse Square" (etching) by Eleanor Banks from the Free Library of Philadelphia's Print and Picture Collection 

"Rittenhouse Square" (etching) by Eleanor Banks from the Free Library of Philadelphia's Print and Picture Collection 

2017 Recipient Free Library of Philadelphia's Cultureshare Honorarium
"Dancing at Rittenhouse Square," is the recipient of the Knight Foundations "Cultureshare Honorarium. "Dancing at Rittenhouse Square has been paired with a WPA era etching by Eleanor Banks (pictured above), which currently resides in the Free Library's permanent collection.

"Cultureshare is a free, subscription-based program that curates and distributes locally produced art, music, writing, and performance in conversation with existing holdings of the Free Library. The objectives include removing the financial and logistical barriers traditionally needed to consume art, highlighting voices of culture makers across diverse communities, encouraging engagement with the Free Library as a cultural institution, and supporting working artists in Philadelphia through funding and exposure."

2017 Manayunk Annual Arts Festival
The tri-state's largest outdoor, juried arts festival. Celebrating the best variety of fine arts and crafts from across the country, nearly 200,000 collectors, buyers, and designers visit Main Street for this event.

Manayunk Roxborough Art Center 
2017 "Philadelphia Places," 2017 Ekphrastic Show, 2016 Open Juried Show, 2016 Holiday Show, 2016 Members Show (Honorable Mention Cash Award) 

Mainline Art Center
2018 Professional Artist Member Exhibiition, 2017 Annual Gala Art Show

Philadelphia Sketch Club
2017 154th Annual Small Oil Paintings Show

7. About Me Personally!

 All dressed up! My hubbie, me, and our kids!

All dressed up! My hubbie, me, and our kids!

 Enjoying  life and a nice glass of chilled chardonnay in Firenze, Italia!

Enjoying  life and a nice glass of chilled chardonnay in Firenze, Italia!

 It's 2008! Phillies win the World Series! We are there! Crazy exciting!

It's 2008! Phillies win the World Series! We are there! Crazy exciting!


I'm a wife to a great guy for 30 years and mom to two Millennial children—one son and one daughter. I am lucky to have both my parents in good health and sound mind. 

Don't believe everything written about the Millennial generation. Both our kids are independent, fun, responsible, working, full-time adults. They keep my husband and I current on how to talk, act and not become two old fogies. Which is very helpful in my line of work!


I have to admit, I am passionate about the creative side of life. Whether it's a brilliant novel, lovely flower, nice glass of wine, or just sitting in a piazza and watching folks go by.


Did I mention I love baseball? It's fun for the family, it's so mathematical—9 innings, 9 players, 3 outs, 3 strikes, 3 bases...the stats goes on and on. Most of all, I love spending a beautiful summer day at the ballpark!


My home/studio is located just outside of Philadelphia, PA. I love Philly, I am not native to Philly, but I have grown to love it. Philly is a fun, gritty, proud town. We may live in the shadows of NYC, but that is why we try harder!

 Philadelphia Museum of Art. I love this place. Visit if you can!

Philadelphia Museum of Art. I love this place. Visit if you can!