Women in Art: Tiffany Chanel
Tiffany Chanel and her work caught my eye on Instagram and when I saw her post about her show “Colored People” at the SK Art Space in Brooklyn, I definitely took a Saturday afternoon to jump on the train to Eastern Parkway to see it and meet her in person! Her vibrant personality is a direct reflection poured into her work, as well as, the intricate detail of the pieces in person is stunning! Here’s a short interview to introduce everyone to this amazing artist on the scene!
What sparked you to pursue your art full time and what was the timeline to lead up to have this show?
Tiffany Chanel: People showing interest and just believing in me sparked me to pursue my art full time. Art was never the goal. I randomly created all gold converse for myself 8 years ago and just by wearing them everyday people started asking questions and wanted to know how could they get a pair as well. The same with portraits. I was randomly asked to create Tamara Mowry son Aiden and took it as a challenge. When she posted the finished picture, it went viral and my first orders came. Since then, I have been allowing my gift to guide me in the direction I should go.
Talk about the journey with getting to work with brands versus commissions?
TC: Well, commissions are the start to building a business and gaining exposure. The more commissions you receive, the more homes your work and name end up in. It is a beautiful feeling. I also love that I am paid to create people’s portraits with my vision and that I am trusted to do so. Being booked with commissions is a great feeling, but the flipside is that there is no room to create what you genuinely want to create for yourself because your time is consumed with orders. I find it to be hard to plan for a show or to focus on growth and creativity when the focus is working on other people’s work.
Working with brands is a totally different experience than doing commissions. It forces you [to] think more business-like and it also forces you to grow. In my experience, when contacted by brands I am always asked to do something that I am slightly unfamiliar with. That's the beauty in it. You have a few days to accept or decline the offer. It comes down to trusting and believing that you were asked to do this because you most definitely can fulfill the task. Funny enough, that belief is strong enough to make miracles happen. It always feels like pressure which means that fear is always in the equation. I always say with fear there is no comfort, and if you are comfortable there is no growth. Being booked by brands helped me with conquer so many things beyond just artwork. The whole experience forces you to level up! The experience is never the same, for me at least. When you finally finished the task and realize that you actually did it, now you continue on your journey with a new level of growth.
What is your inspiration for painting certain celebrities like Nipsey, Baldwin, Basquiat, Yara etc. and for your original pieces? What are your techniques?
TC: Honestly, I just love people. I find them to be amazing. Of course, there are levels to it. I could gravitate to a person based on facial features, energy, what they do in the world to impact others, the fact that I find them to be amazing and I think others should know about them as well, or simply because of all of the great things a person has done in the world. All of those names come with a great story connected to them because of all of the things they have done in this world.
My techniques are simple, I see in color so that's how I paint. I focus on the shadows and exposure in pictures. The more I grow, the more I am able to see. My biggest focus is [to] create artwork that forces people to feel. I want you to feel nothing but good things about the person without even knowing them. I want you to feel texture with your eyes. I aim for my viewer to be drawn to the inner beauty of the person.
Talk about how saying yes has motivated you to push you past fear and move you forward
TC: I had to make it my goal to say yes to everything that I wanted because eventually you get tired of missing out on opportunities because of fear. That same energy that fear hits you with when an opportunity arrives, is the same energy I had to learn how to hit fear back with and it was simply just by saying the word “YES”. I had to realize that fear is never going away, so I instead learned to accept the fact that it will always show up when a huge opportunity would come. Instead of letting fear bully me I started to welcome it by hold[ing] fear by its hand through the process. Saying yes has helped me to grow, become stronger, more confident in my choices as well as myself, and it creates this challenge that I know that I will always accept. [T]he goal is just making it to the finish line. The majority of all my experience came from saying yes when I was totally unsure.
What’s next for you after the showing and for rest of this year ?
TC: Great Question! I knocked some pretty big goals this year. For the rest the year I am just focused on growing creatively and allowing my passion and gift to continue to guide me in the direction I should be going in and the rooms I need to be in.