Thursday, January 15, 2015

Artist Interview with Tiffany Calder Kingston

I am thrilled to be able to share my next artist interview with you all. I can't remember how I found this artists work but I find it mesmerising, beautiful & rich. The colours, textures, shapes, lines & patterns light me up inside, drawing me in & very importantly, each piece shows (to quote the artist) the ' and energy found in nature.' Here's a little challenge for you (many of you will already be doing this) but next time you see a tree, try dropping its label of 'a tree' & try to view it as if you'd never seen one before, as if you were a child seeing a tree for the first time & you didn't know what it was called. Gaze at it's height, look at its array of colours, feel the texture of the bark & leaves, smell the leaves.....if you really go for it you'll have an interesting & wonderful experience & it may even open up a whole new world for you.
This artist's work really captures & celebrates the vibrancy & beauty of nature -a beauty that we get all get to share & enjoy for free! A beauty that we should all be doing our upmost to preserve & protect & I think this message comes across wonderfully through Tiffany's exquisite work.

So poor yourself a cup of hot tea, grab a biccie or two & enjoy my next artist interview with Tiffany Calder Kingston.

Hi Tiffany, can you tell us a bit about yourself/your background & how long you've been painting professionally for?
Hi Emma, thanks again for all your devotion to the arts and those who create as a full time occupation. 
I have two types of painting careers. For fifteen years I worked as mural artist and designer. Most of my work involved painting murals or paint effects which were used in commercial venues, TV stage backdrops, special event theming and private homes plus a visual retail merchandiser in between all of the above.  I accidentally found myself painting murals after completing a graphic design course. I always wanted to be an illustrator but instead I found myself painting and being part of large scale projects which involved following the requirements of what a client would like. This type of work took its toll physically on my body and I also found that I was not creating what was in my heart and soul as it was always what a client would require. I needed to make a clean break away so  I left Melbourne to pursue a small fashion retail business which I owned with two other friends in Byron Bay. After two years I sold out of the business as I felt my creative soul was calling again. Without even realising it the natural habitats of this area were starting to awaken my new journey as an artist.

When & how in that journey did you discover Mixed Media and how did your style develop into what it is today?
Once I sold my business I had a massive empty void so I began painting just for myself as a hobby and I had no clue of what type of artist or subject matter was my interest. I took some life drawing classes and dabbled in creating a painting style which broke away from my old habits of painting a mural. I needed to go back to my raw style of drawing and art that I had way before I embarked on formal training. In other words I needed to get messy, not follow rules and just loosen up again. I had no interest in being judged or doing what was in or out of art fashion. I just did what ever came naturally. Then one day I painted a piece titled 'Cranefly' (see below). I painted something which spoke about the environment and yet what came out was a painting of wetlands but on a deeper level I felt like I had found a voice to express my personal beliefs about how humans relate to nature. Next door to my home were wetlands and I had no idea that the environment was speaking to me and seeping into my subconscious ( if that makes sense).  This painting cracked open my style of cutting in shapes and scraping lines into the paint work.

What are your favourite techniques & art supplies currently?
I use acrylic paint as this dries fast and I can move on into the next layer quickly. I am an impatient person so the style I use is one I have also created to suit my energy. I have always used paints like interior house paints in my old profession and now I use something similar which contain no toxic chemicals as I also get sick from some products. Some times I use a faux gold or silver leaf on my work and eventually I hope to explore mixing in pastels and ink.

When starting a new piece of work, staring at a blank canvas can be daunting. What is your go to/favourite method you use to create the backgrounds for your paintings?
You will laugh but I put any excess paint left over on my brush onto a blank canvas. I keep a new canvas sitting next to me whilst painting another. I just start by using random colours which I layer on top of each other. I never know what it is going to look like.

For anyone trying to turn their creative passion into their career it can be very daunting & intimidating. Can you tell us how you overcame any negative thinking (if you had any!) about your career as an artist?
I had a part time job while I started painting and I began slowly to show my work in public. I used small art shows, cafe's etc to trial my arts reaction. I also listened to other artists out there who gave me great advice. Some people work well being self employed because they are self motivating and realistic with what to expect. I knew I was not going to show my art or put it on any gallery walls unless I had resolved a style that was truly me. An art career takes a thick skin and I think it is important to always have a financial safety net such as a part time job as a support otherwise you will freak yourself out about the pressure of making money. The focus will only be about ' the art has to make money'. If you feel this way the art suffers and the flow goes. Give your art time to shine and ripple effects will happen to support your transition from being a part time painter to a full time profession.

For anyone just starting out in their career what do you think is the best way to get your work out there & seen? For example, an Art Agent? Approaching possible clients or galleries with your portfolio? A website, Facebook? Blog? A combination of all?
Depending where you live can make or break how much you are seen. In my situation being a beach side tourist town I felt I needed to connect with galleries Australia wide by showing them my work in person so I decided to invest in my art by booking a stand at an art fair in Melbourne. 'The Affordable Art fair' gave me the platform to introduce myself to many galleries who approached me at my display stand.
Also having a great website that is modern and clearly shows your work is important but the confidence comes from finding ways for galleries to meet you and identify with your style. I am an artist which suits the affordable art market and I don't pretend to try and be in the upper end of the art world. Too many people think success as an artist is at this higher end. It is important to be realistic with your style and capabilities. There are galleries which compliment different art styles and once you know who they are and there client base then approach them or submit work. If you get turned down by a gallery it may be because your art is not suiting their gallery. 
I also only choose to be with galleries who are nice people to work with and have integrity for the artist. I am not interested in galleries which take a long time to pay you or do not put effort in to promoting you. I wont put up with arrogance and if a gallery says you need them more then they need you then I am usually not interested. I dislike how some galleries play with an artists financial vulnerability. Many artists do not have a business head but it is still important not let galleries take advantage of you. It is a 50/50 business relationship.
Lastly because of social media and websites etc artists can now promote themselves more and sell direct if they choose. For many artists this is all we need to do to set up an income stream which suits a lifestyle. In the end the choices we make have to ensure our art flow is not compromised.

What other artists are inspiring you at the moment?
I love lots of art- illustrative styles. I really love Olaf Hajek, Jennifer Davis, Del Kathryn Barton. Also I love indigenous art and enjoy finding images of primitive paintings.

Thanks so, so much for taking part Tiffany. Please tell us where we can connect with you.

website: Tiffany Calder Kingston
facebook: Art By Tiffany Calder Kingston

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