the silent dredge.
i was fortunate to meet tiffany bozic at the fecal face gallery while visiting san francisco in march. i have been a huge fan of tiffany's since i was introduced to her work in 2003. tiffany is kind and incredibly warm. we struck up a convo chatting about jewelry, art and the conservatory of flowers. later, when i got back to boston, we corresponded by email and she agreed to the following q & a. she was beyond gracious.
tiffany's show bedtime stories opens at kinsey/deforges gallery next saturday, may 24th. it should be an amazing show. w/ each grouping tiffany's work becomes more incredible and defined. if you aren't familiar w/ tiffany's work, i really urge you to check out her website and view her paintings enlarged just to check out the detail. it's stunning, really.
in your more recent work, you paint subjects that can be scary or phobic inducing, such as rats, eels, snails, etc. you paint them so vividly and exquisite, removing any sort of macabre vibe or cynical undertones, bringing a real beauty to them. can you talk a little bit about your take on these critters and what drew you to paint them?
that's funny. i still find it surprising that some people have phobias for these specific subjects. although you'll never see me paint maggots. i don't have any interest in painting these things to 'shock' people. i paint them because i believe that they are very beautiful. i love them. eel's are so sensual and albino lab mice are so bizarre and 'unnatural'. i also choose to paint subjects that i understand. i grew up with saltwater tanks in my house – we had ribbon eels. i based the sphere of mice painting off of a little white mouse i saved from an owl-collecting trip up north. maybe my adoration comes through – i hope anyways.
you lived on a farm until you were six. i think often as children we assign stories to nature, i know i did...did you?
yes, I think I am still at that game.
yes, i still long to be 5 again back at that farm in arkansas when all of my friends were animals. i thought i could have conversations with them. they would let me in on their little secrets. i thought it was us against those terrible humans. a strange thought at 5 maybe. though i'm not entirely sure if i have completely shaken that longing to be accepted. as i've grown older i've come to understand more of course. but there is always going to be that part of me when every time i stumble on a critter in nature i so want it to be my friend. but no, they usually run away. this is the price we pay for teetering on the top of the food chain.
barrens of suburbia.
do you have animals?
i grew up with a lot of pets, but wouldn't consider myself a pet person. without any outdoor space, i think it is a little unfair for pets to be in the city. although, i do have a little parrot named kitty. kitty was a gift from a friend. he pretty much rules my house. i live in a big loft space with huge windows and high ceilings where he is given freedom to fly around at his will. i do the best i can, but still wish he could be outside.
sure, i can talk about the paintings that i made some time ago. let's see, i created the sphere of mice painting that i just mentioned, to try to describe what i call the "big little dream". where everything seems microscopic and larger than the galaxy at the same time. it's the 4 am dream that some people get.
another example that i like to use is the "best intentions" a boobie bird tied to a heart, which basically illustrates the fears, associated with falling in love. the seahorses in "first frost" represents the end of love. every painting stands for something different, depending on what i seem to be interested in exploring any given day.
with time the truth comes out and i understand what it was that i was going through. i couldn't do this with the current paintings i am working on – i am still learning from them.
the best intentions.
it was wonderful. i felt like i was given a VIP pass into a secret nature library. also, i had dr. rich mooi, a brilliant scientist passionately describing the interesting discoveries of how each specimen evolved at my side throughout. when i was designing the exhibit i had to think about what specimens we would be able to put on display. there are literally thousands of specimens in jars. where do you start? both rich and bart shepherd from the Steinhart Aquarium helped me narrow it down to a few of our favorite subjects. in the end i chose to paint a few critters that i knew we would be able to house in the live tanks that i designed. so there was a lot to consider.
yes, i could spend the rest of my life just feeding off of that experience alone. unfortunately, as far as i know i only have one life to explore these ideas.
more than i can say. from an artistic standpoint i was overwhelmed with inspiration and excitement for the possibilities of new ideas. i also grew from the experience of working with a large team of people at the Academy of Science and the Steinhart Aquarium. i am interested in the motivational power of fear. i felt a bit intimidated by the project when it was proposed to me, and we pulled it off very well. so next hurdle i believe in myself that i can jump even higher.
little things. a film by todd bell.when i met you recently in san francisco you had just come from the conservatory of flowers. is that a place you go often? where else do you go to be inspired?
that was my first time at the conservatory of flowers. i had a couple of girlfriends volunteering there and they would always bring me back beautiful clippings from the plants and tell me that i needed to go there. i suppose i shy away from the city a bit.
i think the biggest source of inspiration, besides the Academy is traveling. throughout the last year and a half i traveled to four different countries. i think every painting i have made recently is laced by those adventures abroad.
song of sound.
what do you listen to when you paint? when you're not?
i've been listening to NPR a lot. when i'm painting i listen to blues (Vaughn, Armstrong, Fitzgerald), old classic rock (Dylan, Beatles), folk etc. i wouldn't compartmentalize Bjork, but she's my favorite.
i am absolutely fascinated with nature. i spend a lot of time outdoors just watching and listening to the wind blowing through the trees and little creatures stirring around me. then i can hear my own thoughts echo inside me. painting is just a medium for me to push these thoughts through. i also love the process of discovery. every time i start a painting it is exciting for me to let my brush lead the way, and i follow my instincts. i learn so much about myself from this process, and in turn feel like i understand the thread that connects all living things to each other. it is a feeling - i can't describe it.
i think it is great! i knew i was always going to be an artist, but to make a living as an artist is an entirely different story. i was a pretty isolated girl coming out of ohio with hardly any academic knowledge of what it meant to be an artist. i wouldn't go so far as to say that i thought all artists had to cut their ear off, but instead; play into the system of the 'art business' world. this is not the reality for everyone. it is possible to do your own thing. you just have to learn to stick to your guns, work hard and make sacrifices.
we haven't locked down the title to the show yet. i was thinking of calling it "bedtime stories". the show will open may 24th at the kinsey/desforges gallery in la.
and after that? summer plans?
i have plans to travel abroad again and show in sf. but don't have the exact dates worked out.