AB+L had the chance to sit down and chat with the lovely Tiffany Latrice. Tiffany is not only a visual artist, she is also the executive Director and founder of TILA Studios. TILA is a visual arts incubator co- working and shared gallery space serving female visuals artists in Metro Atlanta area. Tiffany shared some insight on her personal art career as well as her work with the studio. Check out the interview below.
On her own creative endeavors.
AB+L: How would you describe your work?
Tiffany: My art is a feminist statement that seeks to combat androcentric world views of women's role in society. Through my compositions and texture, I move women from marginalized spaces to spaces of power and agency.
AB+L: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Tiffany: I find inspiration through my intimate relationships with my family, lover, and friends. I use them as first hand sources to build ideas and expound on my own personal experiences. Recently, I started taking the train to work and using MARTA as my preferred mode of transportation. By doing so, I have been able to experience the nuances and simplicities of life. I don’t have the anxiety or the confinement that a car provides. By interacting with people, things, and objects, it pushes me to think holistically about my practice and how complex, yet simple, and routine life is. Now I am learning to create amongst people and use people as my source of inspiration.
AB+L: What is the lasting impression you want to make on others with your work?
Tiffany: I want people to feel and be okay with feeling something. Too often throughout our day, we overlook our emotions and say to others that “I’m fine” when you are really not. I am completely transparent in my work, openly sharing heartache, pain, and joy by threading personal letters from ex lovers, using my body as the subject in my work, and giving the work a title that directly correspond to an experience. By doing so, the audience is engaging in a visual dialogue between the painting and themselves. I hope that by being as open as I am, I can show that we all go through similar rainy season and that it is possible to come out on the other side of it all.
AB+L: Why do you create?
Tiffany: Art is more than a passion. It is my way of communicating to the world when I no longer have the words. By leveraging art as a way to facilitate change or discuss something that is uncomfortable is one of the most timeless and greatest forms of activism. I come from a family of artists, educators and forward-thinkers. I have always been pushed to challenge the status quo and think outside of the box. Going to an international boarding school from middle to high school provided me the opportunity to see the world at a very young age and understand my role in society. I am an artists not because I see it as a money-making career but I see it as something that can bridge differences, generate dialogue, and create change. I have also noticed from all of my travels that tourists tend to frequent museums and entertainment attractions. This means that people connect with others through this public experience of art. Art has power. Public and street art have even more power. I want to be a part of that dialogue and facilitate change.
AB+L: What do you think is the biggest obstacle for a creative?
Tiffany: The biggest obstacle for a creative is exclusivity and lack of access. There is always the “token” minority artist that receives critical acclaim or very limited resources for minority artists to produce a robust body of work. As a woman and a minority, we are doubly excluded because we are encouraged to seek jobs that don’t allow us to “just” be creatives. Typically people perceive our passion and commitment as a hobby. It’s also has some voyeuristic and hyper-sexualized elements that “if you look good, then you must be good at what you do.” I do not confine myself to categorizing or separatism. I actively state that I am an ARTIST and that my job is to actively break down barriers so that obstacles becomes less frequent in order for talent to shine.
AB+L: Why did you start till studios?
Tiffany: I founded TILA in September 2016 after enrolling in the C4 Ignite Program. I realized that by combining my extensive art practice with my astute business acumen, I could help women in Atlanta become trailblazers in the art world. While practicing in Atlanta, I noticed that there are barriers to entry for women who are artists, especially women of color. Experiencing those barriers myself, I created TILA Studios to provide women with a safe space to create ambitious art projects, receive professional development and art management services, as well as exhibition opportunities with our on-site gallery.
AB+L: What is your dream accomplishment for the studio?
Tiffany: I want emerging female artists to look to TILA as their safe space and home for their careers. I want them to know that I see them, that I want them to succeed within their artistic practice and that I am willing to go on the journey with them. Too often we steer young women from taking creative jobs because of "risks" established by society's expectations of us. I want women to know that an art career is possible and feasible. For the world, I want them to know that Women Artists are Here. Women Artists Have Been Here. Women Artists are staying and plan to shift the art world so it can be more inclusive.
AB+L: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue an art career?
Tiffany: An amazing female entrepreneur and blogger, Chakayla Taylor, once said in her podcast that we all need to “become the master strategist of your life. Invest in your dreams so your success can manifest.” Becoming anything or being great at anything takes a lot of work, planning, risk, sacrifice, determination and perseverance. There are days where I begin at 4:45am and end at 2:30am. My dreams keep me awake because I love myself so much that I believe that I cannot and will not fail. Because I have taken complete ownership of my life and the people who are in it, I am surrounded by the best and most brilliant minds. I believe that you should also have an accountability partner. Someone that is not afraid to tell you when you are wrong or give you that extra word of advice when you need it the most. That person for me is my partner, Keenon Rush. He is one of the most hardworking individuals that I have ever met. He also believed in TILA before I really understood the importance of it. His love, passion and commitment to the success of my business is the greatest gift of this lifetime.
AB+L: What do you think the role of an artist is in society?
Tiffany: The role of an artist in society is to be the truth tell and change agent. We bring light to the uncomfortable and misrepresented. If we are not honest with our work and who we are, then we aren’t artists.