Name: Tiffani Sahara
Location: Baltimore, MD
Bio: Tiffani Sahara was born and raised in Boston, MA, but has lived in Baltimore, MD for the last 18 years. Tiffani Sahara has always loved to create, but never thought of pursuing it as a career. In fact, the one art class that she signed up for in college, she ended up dropping so that a senior who needed it to graduate could take it instead. For Tiffani Sahara, art started as just a hobby, and developed into a passion and a necessity about six years ago. Art is therapy, art is life!
Tiffani Sahara paints with bold, vibrant colors, and always finishes with a touch of gold. Her artwork depicts natural beauty, love and heartbreak, struggles and triumphs. Tiffani Sahara only paints what speaks to her heart and soul, in hopes that her work will speak to yours as well.
Describe your experience as a current artist.
I am currently a full-time worker and a mother of four young children, who finds time for art after a busy day of work and when the children are sleeping. I have always loved to draw and have always expressed myself through art, but I just recently identified the sense of purpose that it gives me. I painted on canvas for the first time six years ago; inspired by my good friend (now father of my children) who is a full-time artist. From that day it became a hobby, developed into a passion, and is now a necessity for my sanity. Art gives me meaning. Art is life!
What was your occupation/education prior to becoming an artist?
Sometimes I wish I could say that I am a full-time artist, but the truth is that I am still passionate about what I do at my full-time job. I have been in the human services field for over 10 years. Presently, I am a Care Team Coordinator at a high intensity group home for adolescents. I am a natural born helper and healer. Through my full-time job, I have developed more empathy and love for others, as well as for myself.
What was your biggest challenge in pursuing art and how did you overcome it?
There are many challenges that come with being an artist. My first challenge was growing the confidence to define myself as an artist, even when others who are full-time artists did not consider me a “real” artist. Now that I have overcome that challenge, my biggest obstacles are 1) finding time to create and 2) creating even when I’m not “feeling it”. There’s always a “pull” from the inside of me… a NEED to create, but it isn’t always possible to meet that need. I usually find time to paint once my children are sleeping, despite being tired after a long day at work. Then there’s the artist’s worst enemy called creative block. Even when I do find time to paint, sometimes I’m just not feeling it; whether it be because of creative block or depression, sometimes I just stare at the canvas and then walk out of my art room. I am still working on overcoming this obstacle, to be able to paint even through these funks, because painting is where I find purpose.
Describe your biggest milestone or project achieved since pursuing your art.
One of my most rewarding moments as an artist was being called an artist by world renowned artist Larry Poncho Brown. This was the moment that solidified it for me. I am an artist! Prior to then, I struggled with confidence as an artist—calling myself an artist, and speaking about my art. Now, when I create, fear doesn’t stop me. I don’t overthink and try to prove myself as an artist. I paint from my heart and soul.
How does your personal style, identity, and/or beliefs translate into your artwork?
I am a lover, a helper, a healer. My art reflects self-love, shares stories of overcoming pain and trauma, and conveys strength (mainly the strength of women).
What is one thing that makes your art unique?
A lot of my art contains subjects who do not have facial features (faceless art). When my subjects do have faces, they are typically abstract. I want people to be able to look at my art and see themselves. I want people to feel emotions, without me telling them/painting which emotions they should feel.
How do you maintain your mental health and inspiration?
Painting gives me a sense of purpose and keeps me sane. Even when I’m feeling depressed, or experiencing a creative block, I am learning to push through that funk because creating is what helps me to heal. I have learned that, by healing myself I am healing others. My new mantra is “feel, reveal, heal”. You must allow yourself to feel emotions, no matter how uncomfortable they might be. Identify those feelings. Assess what made you feel that way. Share your story/testimony. Through sharing your story, the healing happens. For me, that healing happens through art.
What is some advice or tips you would give to a fellow BGWP interested in furthering their art goals?
Always be true to yourself; never compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone’s journey is different. Everyone has a story to tell. People want to hear YOUR story, and if they don’t then it’s not for them….but it will always be for you.
What is next for you?
B'MORE ARTSCENE• Tiffani Sahara will be featured at Harlem Fine Arts Show DC• Over 80 Artists + Galleries of the African Diaspora • Thurs-Sun, June 14–17, 2018 • 101 Constitution Ave NW • Opening Night DC PLUS Three Fantastic Days: Art Exhibition & Sale
What does being a "black girl who paints" means to you?
As a “black girl who paints” I hope my journey inspires others, not just other “black girls” but everyone who connects with my art. God has given me this gift for a reason. I pray that I never paint in vain. I want people to feel things when they see my work. I want them to see God.