Name:Tiffany Skyers, also known as CreaTiff Artistry - Painter and Graphic Designer
Location: Charlotte, NC
Bio: Tiffany has been interested in the arts since her youth. At a young age, upon entering private school, she was tested and her attention to visual detail was noticed. Her desire to put her world on paper was encouraged by her family, teachers, and mentors. Since middle school, her work has been exhibited in coffee shops, libraries, and museums. However, she did not begin accepting commissions for logo, tattoo, and painting designs until high school.
While attending college, Tiffany began to network with her surrounding art communities of Charlotte, NC and Savannah, GA. She has been invited to participate in events as a featured live painter and vendor for organizations and businesses such as as the Queen's Collective, the indigos, ELLOHBEE, JAHA Hair Studio, indieThi3ves, The Nonfiction Art Gallery, Salute Life, etc.
Eventually her build up of requests lent hand to the decision of starting her own business CreaTiff Artistry in the Summer of 2016. In June 2017, Tiffany graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design with her Bachelors in Fine Arts, Communicative Design. In December that same year she was invited to participate in a Miami Art Basel event, Unplug Miami 2017 hosted by Salute Life. In the future, Tiffany's goal is to open her own custom t-shirt company and a teen club catering to art therapy for at risk youth.
Describe your experience as an art student. What prompted you to apply to art school? Did you have a support?
My experience as an art student has always been rough. Growing up I was the student who would push the assignment requirements and rules as far as they can bend. The teacher would say draw a line, I would draw a curved line. In middle school it was encouraged, in high school I frustrated my teacher, in college it was pendant on my professor. I would either have a Professor A who would want me to adhere to the traditional ways of things because they were enforcing the need for technique, have Professor B who encourage my desire for experimentation, or have a Professor C who encouraged my risky behavior as long as I used the taught techniques to accomplish my goals. Professor C was always my favorite. I had the opportunity to be myself while learning in the process. My learning became individualized to me and I believe as an artist I grew so much more and faster when I was able to use what I have learned to refine my craft to not only be appealing to me but others around me in a commercial setting.
I’ve loved the arts for as long as I could remember, whether consciously or subconsciously. As a child it was discovered upon examination at a private school my keen attention to detail. At three, when asked to draw a person, rather than doing a typical stick figure with just a head and limbs, I went the extra mile to make fingers and eyelashes. As a kid I said the “politically correct” things when asked what did I want to be when I grew up, I wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, or teacher. Yet I had a love to draw and color. Every Christmas rather than asking for the latest toy or clothes I would ask for sketch books, mediums, and art kits. To be honest I do not believe any one to notice that it was what I loved to do until the end of elementary school.
When high school was near end and the big question came up of what did I want to do with my life, I couldn’t help but to say to be an artist. In high school I tried my hand at everything, from JROTC, athletics, computer sciences, physical science, and the arts. The arts is where I was happiest and thrived. I was in art competitions and winning, making school murals, VP of Art Club, successful in fashion club, in web design classes, drawing logo and tattoo designs for clients, and even won Mrs. Creative. It was my knack, so I felt that it was only right that I pursue a career in the arts. I felt like liberal art colleges, although they had art programs were not open to creativity, and upon stepping onto the premises of art colleges I just felt like I belonged. I clicked with the energy of those on campus.
As a kid my parents always encouraged me to be myself no matter how different I may seem. I was a wonderer, story teller, actress. I would be the girl to get rough with the boys but dress up with the girls. My parents never put me into a bubble, they just asked me to be successful in whatever I set out to do. So when I first said I wanted to go to school for the arts I was shocked that everyone was so taken aback with the statement. However after conversation I realized they supported my goals of being an artist because they thought it would always be a hobby rather than a career choice. They were originally very fearful of me becoming a starving artist, and hence did not want me to study art. But after research we discovered that the arts can be any profession you make it to be. That many artists become designers to establish a steady income and simultaneously pursue a career in their medium of choice. They became more comfortable with this idea. My decision was to become a graphic designer in which could use my skill of painting in my work for a textured approach to the precise lines created via computer when creating digital art. In a sense I wanted to bring to mediums together. So far I have been successful branding myself using the two elements. As my work has grown, so has my support from friends and family.
How did attending art school prepare you in starting your art business and career?
Art school taught me how to become a team player, self-evaluator, constructive critique, pubic speaker, and how to handle myself accordingly in a professional setting. It taught me how to ask questions and answer them. All these things has made it easier for me to problem solve as I have begun to establish my own business and career. When branding I do not just design something because it is aesthetically pleasing to me, but also based on how I would like outsiders to see me. School has also taught me to evaluate the likes and dislikes of clients and take note the importance of feedback: good or bad I have learned to have a tough skin and to learn from mistakes rather than take them personally. However my biggest lesson was that I must believe in the value of my work because it will never be deemed successful until I have the confidence behind what I have done myself.
What was your biggest accomplishment during your attendance and why?
My biggest accomplishment was GRADUATING! I know that is so literal but college for me was extremely hard. From being away from home and learning to be responsible for myself, to keeping up with such rigorous courses was physically and emotionally stressful. I am a free spirit who felt confined and forced to grow up. I never thought college would be for me, however I have no regrets! As an artist I gained so much historical knowledge, psychology, and I’ve learned how to effectively express myself. As a painter my technique has grown due to knowledge of color theory and application. As a graphic designer I learned so much about computers I could have never imagined could be possible from web design and coding, to packaging, app design, inks and printing, print layout, etc.
What is next for you now that you are finished with school?
Now that I am finished with school I would like to work as an in-house designer for a company. I have thought of for possible hotel chains, travel companies, etc something that allows my creativity to blossom. My aspirations are to possibly work with a media group like The Community located in Miami Florida. I met with them at a career fair at my college and fell in love with their design solutions. They tend to mix different mediums, like photography paint and graphic design. However, for now I am working nationally as a freelance graphic designer for small businesses and selling paintings, prints, and apparel based on commission and in art shows. Years down the line I would like to open a non-profit organization in which caters to the rehabilitation of juveniles via the arts in Miami Florida.
What is some advice or tips you would give to a fellow BGWP who is interested in applying/attending art school?
- Research your school thoroughly. Do not just listen to stats and testimonials only. If possible, see if you can explore the campus on a typical school day. Ex: I really wanted to got Pratt because of the name but after reading up on them they are very traditional in the arts, and it felt to me like they would be creatively constricting. I associated Pratt with Divinci. I wanted to go to Full Sail because I hated school and just wanted to get my degree, but after going on campus it appeared like a creative technical school. I reached the campus tour and was in awe of the beauty of the school but not excited by the curriculum. I stopped at SCAD per chance and it was MY perfect fit because it was an open campus which allowed for exploration and inspiration from the surrounding city, it encouraged creativity as well as refinement in order to aide in the commercialization of the artist, the buildings themselves were inspiring. The labs and studios were decorated by student work in which got me excited to create myself.
- Upon attending art school you must learn to be patient with both yourself and professors. Not everyone is going to “get” you. Sometimes as an artist you won’t even understand yourself. This makes more sense when you find yourself feuding between what looks nice and is practical.
- Remember school is a place to learn so problems and mistakes will come up, just use them as learning opportunities.
- Just take tasks as they come and although it is good to set goals don’t be discouraged when things don’t go as planned. God has a plan for you, it just may not be the one you intended for yourself.
- Take advantage of extra help. The art world is all about who you know. Take advantage of opportunities your teacher gives you to get to know them one on one, meet with other artists, or even to learn something new outside of class. Never know when that could be a recommendation, help you solve an issue you’ve been struggling with, etc. I personally love working with other artists getting feedback and hacks. You never know, someone may provide a cheaper, more effective, easier means of doing a project you’ve been longing to accomplish.
What does being a "black girl who paints" means to you?
To me it means double negative AND double positive. As a black woman I have two strikes against me, my race and my gender. Then to be a painter it is stigmatized that we are daydreamers who only make enough to go from hand to mouth. However, as a black female painter I also think of strength. Due to constant stigma one must fight to live above the expectations of others. I rather be known as one who is proud of who she is, where she comes from, and her desire to express herself beautifully without words and opening the imagination of others to thoughts outside their own.