Interview with Artist Tiffany Toland-Scott
The beauty of art in its myriad of forms, is that it is subjective. Many people can look at the same piece of art and see completely different things and feel different emotions upon viewing the work. When you have a love for something and talent as well, it is a wonderful feeling to be able to share it with the world. When you’ve poured your heart into projects and can see them come to fruition, it is a rare and wonderful thing to experience. Enjoy getting to know Tiffany Toland-Scott and her art.
GeekPost: How long have you been an artist?
Tiffany: When I was a kid my grandmother was a folk artist, so I grew up painting along with Bob Ross and grandma. It never occurred to me that it was something you could actually do for money until I was a teenager. I tried selling my art at a few street fairs close to my house and ended up meeting Amy Brown at a street fair we were both vending at. She gave me some good advice and encouragement, and I was having a lot of fun selling my art, so I just kept doing it. That was 16 years ago. I’ve done a lot of different things since and “started over” with different mediums a few times. I think of my career in phases or stages. I’ve been in this current phase for about 3 years, and I think this is probably the one I’ll stay in. It took me a long time to really find my voice, and I had a lot of interruptions from life and chronic illness, but I still got there eventually.
GeekPost: Where does inspiration for your work come from?
Tiffany: I never really know how to answer this. Most of my paintings develop intuitively and I just get ideas. There are some things that help the process along, mainly mythology and fairy tales. Sometimes the well runs dry and you have to fill it with bad romance novels and pictures of cats, though.
GeekPost: What was the hardest part of your journey to becoming the artist that you are today?
Tiffany: I think it was most difficult to wrap my head around the idea that I could paint whatever I wanted to. I used to think I had to try and paint things that would be commercially viable, but one of my most popular paintings is a groundhog I painted like a religious icon, so I think that idea has been thoroughly debunked.
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GeekPost: I read on your website that you live in a 110-year-old “haunted mansion”. Do you ever experience any interesting phenomena in your home?
Tiffany: It’s kind of just a joke. It’s got kind of a creepy aesthetic, and people probably think it is haunted when they walk or drive by. Strange things happen from time-to-time, but it is very old and most things can probably be explained away rationally. If there is a ghost here, it’s probably just a nice old lady that wonders where all the carpets went.
GeekPost: Do you have a favorite creature or object to sketch and paint?
Tiffany: No. I have favorite paints and a certain mood or aesthetic that I like the most. I do have things that I DON’T like to paint – architecture, sharp lines, unnatural objects, etc. It’s kind of stressful to me, trying to make sure everything is the perfect angle and perfectly straight, and I like my paintings to have a dreamy quality. I don’t think angles and hard surfaces help with that. In college I excelled at painting cars, but I haven’t painted a single car since. It’s not that I can’t do it – I just don’t like it. I also can’t figure out how a car would work into the enchanted forest scenes I tend to gravitate towards. There are a lot of things like that – they just don’t live in the world I’m painting.
GeekPost: What would you say is your favorite thing about art shows?
Tiffany: I love getting to connect with people through my art. There’s an almost buzzy energy at a good art show, too – it’s something I don’t really experience anywhere else. Seeing all of your hard work framed and displayed is also very rewarding. Sometimes you can get really lost in the sauce in the studio. All the finished work goes into cabinets and boxes and you sort of forget it exists. You can start to feel really unproductive and bad about yourself if you never spread it all out and see how much you’ve really accomplished.
GeekPost: Do you have any hobbies that you enjoy, when you’re not creating captivating art pieces?
Tiffany: I play a couple of video games, hike when I’m able, but most of my time is taken up by my art business and my family.
GeekPost: Here’s a question about the creative process. How long does it take you to go from sketching to putting the final touches on a painting?
Tiffany: It varies a lot. If it’s a painting for someone else, that they’ve described to me, it can take up to a couple of months. When I have my own ideas to paint, they hit like lightning and they’re fully formed, so it’s only restricted by how fast I can paint.
GeekPost: I love that you have artwork that depicts many body types. Do you believe that inclusion and body positivity are important?
Tiffany: Absolutely. I grew up in the 90’s when everyone wanted to be super-skinny and everything else was “ugly.” I never saw myself represented in anything until the TV show “Ugly Betty,” which still has the pretext that she is ugly or feels ugly when she was anything but. When you only see people that don’t look like you, you start to think you look “wrong.” When I started seeing more people that look like me in various media formats I stopped feeling like there was something wrong with me. I don’t want other people to look at my art and feel like there is something wrong with themselves. I want them to look at it and think, “I’m magical, too.”
GeekPost: Is there anything else you would like to share here? Any upcoming projects that are in the works?
Tiffany: I’ve been, and will continue to be, working on an angel tarot deck for Llewellyn, along with some personal projects, and then, who knows? There’s always a lot of things going on around here and every day brings another opportunity.