Try to Tell a Fish About Water

The Art, Music, and Third Life of Norma Tanega


The first comprehensive book on the art and life of Norma Tenega.

This book is not yet published, but will be available from April 2022.

ISBN: 9781944860356 Category:


In addition to her successful career as a uniquely gifted musician and songwriter, Norma Tanega was a noted gallerist, longtime teacher, and a central figure in the vibrant and homegrown creative scene of Claremont, California. She was also a visual artist of astonishing originality. In Try to Tell a Fish About Water, the bold colors and gestural immediacy of Tanega’s paintings and mixed media art is presented for the first time alongside photos, illustrations, journals, and other ephemera. Featuring reflections and remembrances from Norma’s friends and collaborators scrapbooked together with the extraordinary visuals, Try to Tell a Fish About Water is a long overdue exploration of Tanega’s art career and a collaged testament to a life spent immersed in creativity.

Additional information

Weight 300 g
Dimensions 25.4 x 25.4 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 28 April 2022
Number of pages 150
Format Hardback
Contributors Illustrated by Norma Tenega, Text by Diane Divelbess
Dimensions 25.4 x 25.4 cm
Weight 300 g


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Norma Tanega was a musician, singer, songwriter, and painter who reached worldwide recognition after the release of her 1966 hit single, "Walkin' My Cat Named Dog." In addition to her solo career, she was a songwriter for Dusty Springfield, and performed with a number of groups well into the 2000s. A painter throughout her life, Tanega first began exhibiting her work at the age of 16, and received her MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 1962, with her later work often supported by the Claremont Museum of Art. She passed away in December 2019 at the age of eighty.