Written by Dorcas Solomon
The first time I met Tiffani was four years ago, I have completely blown away and inspired by her work and essence.
The Idea of – where do I fit in? What career do I pursue? Is this where I'm supposed to be? and going the unconventional path seems to be a reoccurring theme and question for the younger generation today. I thought to get some of Tiffani’s perspective and advice on this:
Tiffani – First thing I’ll say is the subject of your desire is anything but unconventional, people need to get this in their heads. I fight with this everyday…it’s not, no matter how society sees it, it’s not unconventional. I say that because the subject of your desire has its place, you just have to go find it. For instance, you love rapping, that tells me you love music, words, poetry, and writing… you really have to backtrack it that sense. “I love rap but why do I love it?” When I stop to listen to rap it’s very poetic and heart felt, and has very intelligent wording as well…So all these different aspects mean there is a place for you to fit within it… Your desire to be a rapper, an artist, whatever that may be, extends far past yourself, it always does. If it’s a selfish desire then you really need to go back and check it out because it can’t be selfish. So again, realize that what you want to be is not unconventional.
Secondly, whatever you want to be, try breaking it down into areas where you know you can fit into. I’m an artist, I like to paint, to draw – there are so many fields that calls for an artistic mind. My husband is a graphic designer & videographer, and I’m able to help him with his company…it involves colour theory, word placement, layout design, and I can do that. These things all involve some form of art. There is always something for you to fit into. Don’t ever think it’s supposed to be you sitting up in a studio by yourself. Also, be specific, any field can be very broad.
The third thing is when you find wherever those aspects that fit into your desire go pursue them. Figure out if you need more training, then go figure out how to get it, what school offers it. There is nothing wrong with going back to school even after society says this is the age where you should be getting a real job and blah blah (laughs). I’m 34 and I’m going back to school, a 3 – 4 year college to learn something new and better my art. There is nothing wrong with learning more or feeling the need to learn more, it doesn’t mean that you don’t “have it.”
The next thing is, don’t stop and always be aware of those instances that tell you are on the right track, that keeps you going, for instance, people like you (Dorcas) that says to me: “I was really inspired by what you did”. If you start looking forward to those instances, keeping your eyes open to them, you will find that they come at those moments when you feel your lowest, when you think to give up, and all of a sudden someone says something and you go “: ohhh that’s why I’m doing it,” it’s fuel to help you keep going.
My next one is write everything down, all the little ideas, sparks that come in your head about projects, anything, write it down because you are going to revisit it eventually, and it will fit into whatever it needs to fit into sooner or later.
And I will add that there is nothing wrong with crying, you don’t have to look like you have it together all the time – That’s a big one.
Dorcas – This is great, thank you, Tiffani… Tell me more about being an artist
Tiffani – Mastery is and should be first and foremost, just like back in the day of da Vinci. Sometimes I find artist don’t feel the need to practice and use God as an excuse, “letting the spirit lead.” The spirit can lead that’s wonderful, but in order for Him to lead you, you have to put yourself in a place of being willing to follow. Artistry is never an excusable title if anything it demands us to be excellent because we are artists. Artists are already looked at as bottom basement people because all we do is paint all day “breathing in fumes from the paint and get high” (laughs), that’s what a lot of people think we do. No one understands the type/kind of works that goes behind it. When people see my work they will bring me an idea of their own and say ” hey, you can just pop this up for me in like 30 mins” and I’m like “nooo!” (Both laughs) What people don’t realize is when they see me on stage and I complete a painting in 20 or 30 minutes, they never see the 2 weeks of practice. They never see the 15 times I painted it over and over again, nor do they see the huge pile of canvases that it took to make that one piece on stage.
Everything I do on stage is practiced. If I’m going to go paint on stage, I want to give people something that they can grab on to. I personally always want to give people something more than what they came in with, want them walking away with something more. I don’t want to tantalize their senses I want to surpass that. I want them to feel the person in the painting as they would feel themselves, I want to feel the situation and understand whatever is the moral of the painting at that point. I always say my aim is not to be the centre of attention, nor is it to take over the show, but rather be a part of what’s going on and help to reinforce it – I paint a form of realism because I want people to get more out of it…so in order for me to do that I have to practice.
Dorcas – Art can sometimes be viewed as easy …what would you say goes into your work
A lot (laughs). My process first and foremost involves a lot of research, from every source, it’s my priority, and I do as much as I physically can or know how to do. Take my fun stuff for instant, I go out and look at people or take a class, I’m currently in a class where I’m learning to paint the human form. The truth is while I have the instinct of how to paint this or that, I don’t always have the understanding that I desire. I don’t fully understand skin tones like I would like to, that’s why I’m taking a class. I’m bettering myself to better my art. So research is completely the first thing. If I’m doing Biblical stuff I research the bible. I dig deep and find out the real meaning of the scripture, and yes I pray as well.
I always have my sketchbook and pen with me when I go around. I go to the mall and draw people as they move around I really focus on movements… I then come back home to sketch what I think I’m going to draw before I even get to the main canvas. It’s a really long process.
Dorcas – Lastly what does the word “art,” mean to you?
Tiffany: Giving people more than what they came with.
Dorcas – Thank you so much, Tiffani, it’s been a pleasure
You can view more of Tiffani’s work on her website
“While Tiffani has been found painting in her studio or LIVE at various events and venues around Toronto, Canada, Tiffani is on the verge of a new adventure where she is attempting to make a childhood dream come true. September 2015 she will embark on a new journey where she will be attending school for Animation in the hopes of creating for Disney studios. (Gotta dream big, right?).”