“Faces tell the greatest stories...I want people to look at my portraits
and want to know the story behind each face.”
ZG: Why does portraiture play such a huge role in your artistic practice?
TC: Portraiture is my passion. I've always enjoyed watching people closely and studying their different features. Within my artistic practice, I enjoy recreating the details in skin textures and blending colors to create flesh tones. Strands of hair or the curve of a lip, a crease in the eye or the shape of an earlobe...these are all unique features that tell their own story. Through portraiture, I'm able to tell stories and connect with my subjects on an intimate level.
ZG: Intimacy and vulnerability are major themes of the work in Black as Pearls and in the technique of portraiture in general. How can vulnerability be a path to freedom?
TC: I believe that vulnerability is necessary for the path to freedom because it is honest. Honesty may not always be easy, but it is a crucial aspect of developing relationships, self-love, and personal growth. To be exposed to possible judgment or criticism, or to face the realities of imperfection can be a scary thing for anyone. But I believe that vulnerability opens the door to connect with others – and once you're connected with others compassion formed – and it is through compassion that love can be cultivated. Love is freedom.
ZG: Your metaphor of pearls representing the hardship that have contributed to the strength of black women is poignant. How can black women begin to shed the pain of our past in favor of the luster and iridescence that the pain has created?
TC: It is no doubt that we have a significant burden to carry as women. Events from the past as well as the present can discourage, disrupt and even scar us. Like the journey of a pearl, something beautiful can be molded from misfortune and hardship. It is important to note that this change does not happen overnight, it does take time. For women dealing with the pain I want to reinforce that fact that you were not created to be dull and bland, you were created to shine bright and I encourage you to focus on the light that you are and beauty that you can give back to this world.
ZG: Does your identity as a biracial woman factor into the topics you address and the way in which you address them?
TC: Yes of course. Throughout my life, I have been exposed to a variety of different cultures and I am empathetic to all points of views. I make it a point to represent different races within my body of work.
ZG: Historically fine art has been predominantly white and male-centered. How can black women play a more prominent role in the fine arts space in the next ten years?
TC: I think we need to continue building together so that we can be stronger together and shape our own voice within the fine art arena. We don't have to follow the traditional pathways to validation in a scene that isn't welcoming or understanding of our work – instead, we can develop our own standards in fine art, by creating platforms to celebrate our own talent, share our own stories, and stimulate thought and positive action through our own works.
About the Artist
"It’s the intimacy of portraiture that I enjoy the most. There is no hiding or pretending when someone is studying your every wrinkle and strand of hair, and there are no flaws in raw beauty. From the very moment, a first stroke is laid, my subject on paper turns into a real person in my mind - with whom I’m building a relationship with. I’m talking to that person, shaping its features, creating a personality. Some of them I fuss and share tears with, while others capture my heart and make it hard for me to let go... I want people to look at my portraits and want to know the story behind each face - or at least the stories we shared together in the studio...”
Tiffany's art is characterized by soft blends, realistic features, and a clean aesthetic. She infuses her creative eye for design to compose her compositions with subtle geometric flair. Tiffany enjoys exploring many different mediums such as color pencil, watercolor, and oils, but pastel pencil has become her favorite medium to work with as she strives for the continuous improvement of her craft. She is an active member of The Portrait Society of Atlanta as well as The Portrait Society of America and works from her home studio in Austell, GA.