Today we’d like to introduce you to Tiffany Wong.
Tiffany, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Growing up in the Bay Area, CA, I was trained to be a classical pianist, and even eventually got my B.A. in piano performance. It was really fundamental to my development as an artist, because it taught me the relationship between the freedom of self-expression and structure. Both of those things shouldn’t fight each other, but they can really work together for my growth and enjoyment. Also, fun is a big part of creative life! In 2013, a year after college, I decided to pick up watercolors for the first time and do a small painting everyday of December. It was for me to have fun. The community around me encouraged me to continue after the 31 days, which was a big part of why in continued. I started to do custom commissions and local Collab’s here in Chicago. A year into it, I realized that I really loved painting, because it essentially forced me to focus on one thing – something that is tactile – and it was restful. I rarely can get into that state of mind. So, when it happened, there was a positive ripple effect that spread over my life.
In the past 3 years, I became more serious about how painting is such an incredible opportunity for me to be mindful and to practice self-compassion. It takes more than skill to paint. It takes vulnerability of making a piece that doesn’t match my expectation and knowing that that is ok. The process is where life happens and also where deep joy can exist. It’s not easy to be present, but painting is such a great way for me to practice.
This year has been really special, because through Instagram I’ve gotten to hear from many people about their stories and how they see/relate to my paintings. Connection to my authentic self is important and empowering but connecting to other people is really where I find energy. It is so amazing to interact with other humans that I wouldn’t normally have the exposure to – then to also having meaningful conversations is such a motivator to press on.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I am a big believer of not seeing myself (and others) as different compartments-work/relationships/creativity/fun/spirituality. Instead, it is really powerful to see how all things are connected and work together holistically. This view of self and life plays a big part of my artwork.
Currently, I am working on a collection of work that explores my racial identity as a Chinese American. My parents immigrated from Hong Kong in their 20’s, and subsequently had me and my sister. There are so many tiny pieces complicated pieces of how I’ve built my identity, and unfortunately has been tainted with many microaggressions and systematic influence of our western white supremacy. In my paintings, I’m trying to take a closer look at these tiny pieces. Untangling the pieces and pulling out the toxic parts has been difficult and incredibly growing for me. It is slowly releasing my internalized racial shame. It has also opened up many conversations with other people of color along with many white friends. The movement amongst myself and the people around me makes me hopeful that the work of looking inward will amount to outward change.
My inspiration draws from the idea of the ground/soil that we all are grown out of, the grit that it takes to do the needed self-work, the beauty of leaning in, and how different parts can come together in a healing kind of way. Rusty reds signify the ground, mustard yellows – nostalgia, chalky textures – grit and friction, pinks – lightness and love. Recently, I’ve been using mostly acrylic and pastel on canvas. I love that my artwork is an instrument of vulnerability and connection that can accompany me through it all.
Something that I like to say to people looking at my abstract art is read about what is behind the piece. Just looking at it is great and could mean something to someone but entering my story will give depth to the experience. My hope is that the viewer of my art would walk away having their perspective changed by how I see the world and also a connection of how they relate to the human-ness of my experience.
What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
If painting (or anything really) helps me in loving myself and others more, than I think that is a success. Sometimes it might mean pressing into something uncomfortable and other times it means just having childlike silly fun. As an artist, if I am able to do things that creates space for me to grow holistically, I am successful. I don’t think that monetary standards are helpful, but of course I hope that it comes along.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I put daily content on instagram.com/tiffanywongart! You can watch me talk through my pieces and paint there. All my collabs, workshops, and pieces for sale are posted there. You can also contact me through tiffanywongvisualart.com.
If you’re interested on one-on-one painting sessions or creative consulting, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Website: tiffanywongvisualart.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: Instagram.com/tiffanywongart
- Facebook: Facebook.com/tiffanywongart