This week, Boneshaker Press brings you some one-on-one time with Tiffany England! Tiffany is a new Boneshaker Artist contributing this year to the third volume of “Encounters with the Imaginary“. You can find out more about Tiffany here.
What’s your background?
I spent my childhood exploring crafty projects such as sewing clothes for my troll dolls, which evolved into making comics during class in high school. My crafty tendencies ended me up at art school where I spent the next decade nerding out on the Golden Age of Illustration and discovering my favorite artists like Gustaf Tenggren and Arthur Rackham.
After art school I moved to Los Angeles to restore paintings and to fulfill my art school fantasies of getting up close and personal with some of the great paintings of all time. In my spare time, I worked my ass off as an independent artist and with the help of my art school friends, we started a pop-up art show. In-between our day jobs, we curated pop-up gallery shows in Los Angeles and New York.
In 2015, I had my fill of the big city and moved back to my home state of Arizona to focus all my attention on painting as an independent artist — in the meantime, I make a living as an office coordinator (and sometimes graphic designer) at a local sticker shop.
What got you interested in the arts to begin with?
I blame my high school teacher, he really got my gears going. He was my first experience of meeting an artist who made his living as such and encouraged me to continue on with my art education.
When did you decide to dedicate yourself to art?
There is no definitive moment, but after so many years of education there really was no other option for me. I love drawing, what else could I do?
Do you remember the first piece of art you made that you were really proud of? The one that made you say “yes I am an artist!”
Yes, I remember clearly. It was my second year in art school, I had a class in editorial illustration. Our teacher made everyone fill out a questionnaire about themselves and then turn it in. He mixed up the questionnaires and redistributed them throughout the classroom. We were to pick two questions and make an illustration from that. I spent the next week immersed in the assignment, but the night before the project was due, I had only nailed down the drawing. I spent the night painting till 3AM. Only then did I realize how fulfilled I was by the project — I ran across the apartment complex to my friend’s house to show off my work. That was the moment I realized I loved illustrating.
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
Coffee and then more coffee. I also try to make sketching a daily routine. My goal is to draw without worrying if it’s something I’d like to share with the world — the habit of doing it everyday keeps my mind and hand sharp.
How do you measure your level of success/achievement?
I used to measure my level of success by how much money I made, but that hasn’t gotten me anywhere but in debt. Success now is more about how I feel about the illustration and if I was able to illustrate an idea that’s both visually interesting as well as conceptually.
What is your dream project? If there were no time/money restrictions what would you create?
I have no dream project per-say because I’m making the dream. I made the decision a while ago not to take on projects that I didn’t absolutely love.
What advice would you have given yourself ten years ago?
Don’t try to freelance, you’ll spread yourself thin – instead work on your own story and start learning social media and marketing.
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
How do you keep your creative spark? What keeps you motivated?
Lately, hiking keeps me motivated. I get out in the woods and get inspired to paint.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
I’d love to be able to have creative freedom as well as making a livable wage off my illustrations. I know that is a very long term goal and I’m okay with that. I’m taking steps at setting up a shop with a variety of products and sometime in the near future I’d love to set up a Patreon and eventually Kickstart my own book.
What’s your main challenge when beginning a new piece of art?
Getting the motivation to start. Sometimes I’ll take a break from painting and it will turn into a week off or sometimes a month. The ideas don’t stop during this time, but the first step back into making art is always the hardest. I found that I need to have the next piece started before I finish the previous one, just to keep the ball rolling.
What are you working on right now? (Other than this project) What are you currently obsessed with?
Because I work at a sticker shop, it’s hard not to be constantly thinking of stickers to make. When I don’t have a big project going on, I spend my time illustrating stickers. I’m in the works right now for some witchy halloween stickers…
Would you eat the moon if it were made of spare ribs?