Name: Tiffany Davis, artistically known as Atl Art Vibez
Location: Atlanta, GA
Bio: Tiffany Davis is originally from Kingston, Jamaica and has lived in Atlanta, Georgia most of her life. She is a full time artist and mother of three. Tiffany has always been an Artist at heart and started drawing at a very young age, being an Apprentice Artist for ArtsCool, a summer job in high school where she enhanced my art skills. Although Tiffany always wanted to learn painting but never had the opportunity until her recent years, she continues to practice constantly and teach herself. She paints almost daily and has been taking custom orders for 3 years now, which has helped her achieve many of her goals, and is a painting instructor, teaching paint classes for small and large groups. Tiffany participated in her first art show earlier this year and hopes to take part in more events in the future.
Describe your experience as a current artist.
I have been a full time artist for 3 years. I started drawing as a child, about five years old and continued to draw my whole life but it has always been just a hobby. I started getting into art ever since I could remember my dad always drew pictures in my birthday cards and I was excited about it because I had no idea my dad knew how to draw. That sparked my interest and I began practicing my own drawings. My dad was superman to me and I wanted to do everything he did and I knew that drawing was something I could get better at to impress him, so I began drawing blueprints for him (he is a carpenter/ landscape artist). I was also very interested in his landscape designs and the fact that he could be so creative at times with so little. I never realized how much watching and following my dad around while he was working would influence me to later become an artist. I’ve always been very creative and imaginative. I spent a lot of time alone growing up and most of my thoughts became mental pictures. Some I wish I could keep forever and I wanted to do just that. Capture my thoughts on paper… immortalize moments real or fantasy. It was like being a magician; I could be anywhere or anything in my drawings.
What was your occupation/education prior to becoming an artist?
Before wanting to become a full time artist I wanted to become a pharmacist, I had taken so many chemistry courses only to realize I was having way too much fun drawing molecular structures than learning the subject matter. In fear of disappointing my family I stuck with it as long as I possibly could but my heart wasn’t there. After having my second daughter I decided I needed a break from Chemistry and thought I would explore something else I loved which was cooking so I then went to culinary school. Wonderful experience, I loved it, was top of class but the void was still there… Not only did I feel incomplete I realized my favorite part about culinary school was plating, I realized I was designing my food on the plate mentally before I even got to that step. At that moment I knew I should just do what my heart was telling me and become an Artist. It was there inside me, no matter what path I chose I knew I would come back to art. Art has always been my therapy, it feels like home. I quit my restaurant job in October 2015 and I haven’t looked back since. It was definitely hard but I was determined and I had the support of friends and family members that believed in me. Some would ask for me to paint portraits for them to gift and although I was terrified because painting was never something I felt comfortable with, I could draw but not paint but through my commissions I would then enhance the skills I needed over time. Finding myself has been very hard, especially because of my children. Time is limited, it is often noisy in my house and the pressure of having to provide for not just you but three children. I have a very supportive parents, siblings and fiancé that also played a huge role in giving me time for myself and helping to support when my business whenever it was struggling.
What was your biggest challenge in pursuing art and how did you overcome it?
My biggest struggle has been patience. I like to paint quickly because I feel like there are so many images in my head that I need to put out and there is never enough time. I always find it hard to put myself out there as much as I would like, to tell my story and opening up to the world. I like to let the art speak for itself but describing the personal reasons for certain things can be a little difficult for me in fear of being misunderstood, a lifelong problem of mine. As I become more confident in my art it is however becoming easier and I am beginning to pour my heart out onto the canvas. Being a full-time artist is very difficult and throw in mommy duties and yikes… Being an artist you don’t just have one job but ten… the entrepreneur life is rough and it’s exhausting but if you want to be a full-time artist you have to be prepared to do research and promoting your art 24/7.
Describe your biggest milestone or project/series achieved since pursuing your art.
My biggest achievement is the accuracy of my portraits. When I started that was the hardest part for me and also going in depth adding a background to the portrait. Now I’m able to add more details and landscapes in my paintings. This was very important because I do a lot of commissions, most are portraits and my art has now become a combination of the two.
What is one thing that makes your art unique?
I absolutely love nature and the calming feeling I get from painting scenery and water while using bright colors because they make me feel happy so I find ways to combine the two. I also love combining women with nature and I plan to do more of this type of work as my skills increase. Also the addition of jewelry and metallic paints. My art is very versatile, I paint anything from realistic portraits to abstract pieces it all depends on how I am feeling at that moment.
What is your favorite art technique and why?
I love getting hands on, I use my fingers a lot to paint because I express myself more freely. I began using this technique one day when I was frustrated for, I remember being very emotional, I just grabbed my paint and started smearing it all over and it began making me feel better. By the time I finished I felt so relieved and it came out great, it was like transferring my energy onto the canvas. Now when I’m frustrated I finger paint. A new technique that I enjoy is using acrylic paint and then going over with oil for details. I like to finish things quickly so this allows me to cut down on drying time when using oils. I also enjoy adding beads, jewelry and other items to my pieces to add dimension.
How do you maintain your mental health and inspiration?
I am easily motivated, I watch a lot of painting videos and I look at artwork daily and it keeps me inspired. I like such a huge variety of things so it’s very hard for me to run out of ideas or things to paint, if anything I’m constantly in overload because I can’t get pieces out fast enough. However, sometimes I do become depressed which helps my art but leaves me in a hole I sometimes have to drag myself out of.
What is some advice or tips you would give to a fellow BGWP interested in furthering their art goals and/or owning her own business?
Believe in yourself, once you do that you can accomplish anything. Patience and practice are so important, the more time you spend working on your craft the better the outcome. Also to be a successful entrepreneur you have to invest in yourself and your business, whether it’s better supplies or investing your time, it is a must!
What is next for you?
I plan on focusing more on my personal art and limiting the amount of commissions I take on so that’ll have more time for my art. I also want to work on realism with oil paints and just becoming more creative and letting myself go. I would actually love to get a degree in fine arts and possibly a masters, my future goal is to become a college professor and to teach fine arts to students and to share my experiences in finding myself with those students, hoping to inspire as many people as I can along the way.
What does being a "black girl who paints" means to you?
It means everything to me. Growing up I did not see many black painters and I’ve never had a black art teacher so I wanted to see that change. I was lead to believe that being an artist was not a real job, especially for someone like me. I see so many amazing black artist out here especially girls that are proving that idea wrong.