Maker Profile: Tiffany Wong, Painter + Musician
How did you start painting?
So in November of 2013, I was at Marshall’s--it’s really unglamorous--when I picked up a really basic beginners watercolor kit. I hadn’t painted before, so I just picked it up and thought what if I did really little paintings for every day for the month of December and I’ll call it Tiffany Wong “Artmas”. Then I did it for 31 days, and it was really fun. It was so much fun that I kept it going into 2014. I just enjoyed it, and other people enjoyed it. I started getting friend [commissions], and it wasn’t only fun, but it was super restful. I’m the kind of person who lives in my head, and I feel like detached from my body--I’m just all in my headspace. To sit down and to focus on one thing and to use my hands in physical form was really therapeutic and restful. About a year ago, I [realized] this was so healthy for me that it would be the coolest dream to do what gives me the most rest as work. I’m just surrounded by awesome people who do creative things and businesses, so little by little, I tried it, and I think I’m still in that “try” phase.
What’s your background?
I got my piano performance degree for my bachelors. I was really intensely into classical music all throughout my life, and into high school and college. Then, I decided to do be a singer/songwriter right after college, so I’m still that; I still perform and write music. Primarily, my background is music, whether that is classical or folk. I dabbled in painting growing up, but it was never really something I thought I would do.
What inspires your work?
I feel like it has changed a lot. Initially, it was really concrete things like a potted plant. It was something that I knew I could [depict] in a minimal way. Over the past three years, I’ve learned a lot about myself, and asked myself really basic existential questions about who I am and what gives me life. I think that has really crept into my work; I think now I would say nature is a big part of my inspiration. I just went on a huge, epic road trip. All the inspiration in the world was [there]. So nature is one of them. I think children and their playful, lighthearted spirit is a huge inspiration of mine. I nanny a little bit, so I always watch [how the kids I nanny] move. I think that another inspiration is intuitive inspiration. I’m really lead by how I feel, which may sound a little bit cliché, but I don’t’ think it is at all. I think it is really good to be confident in who you are, and being lead by your intuition, and being aware of your intuition is huge.
What brought you to Chicago?
I came here for school, and I have been here for almost eight years now.
If you weren’t here, where would you be?
I think I’ll be here for a while, but I’m from the San Francisco area, so my heart will always be there.
How do you spend your free time/how do you take time for yourself?
One of my favorite things is coffee in the morning, a book, and if I’m feeling crazy, some meditation and maybe yoga. That’s, like, my dream. I don’t really get to do it often. But coffee and reading happens a lot. I think that everything that I intake outside of artistic inspiration is still inspiration, so I like to be really well read, because it will just seep through into my person and into my art.
Why do you think it’s important for creative women to come together and collaborate?
I think that art is all about connection. I think art is not only a way for me to connect with myself, but it is also a portal to connecting with others. Sometimes it is just as simple as me connecting with the present state that I am, and when other people look at my art, they can connect to that experience. Even if [art] can feel like a solitary experience, we can all connect through the emotions that are depicted through art.
Collaboration is great because I feel like it is so nice to feel like I am not alone in it. A lot of times I do feel alone, but when I see others doing really well or being able to work with other women gives me a lot of joy and inspiration.
What is your advice for young creatives?
My advice to young creative is to be really serious about who you are, and be really confident, but don’t be serious about what success means. You just need to do it, and you need to do it for a long time to get good. You just need to not care about what other people think, and be really confident in who you are and why you’re doing it.
How would you describe your style/aesthetic?
I would describe my style as, hopefully, clean, intuitive, whimsical.
How do you stay inspired?
This year is my year to branch out into poetry. I’m going to learn about poetry, and I’m going to write it, and I’m going to read a lot and that will inspire my paintings. And always keeping up my curiosity about anything and everything.
I always make coffee, pour over coffee, and I read a little bit. Then I get ready, and that’s my morning routine.
Right now, my favorite indulgence is food documentaries on Netflix. I love Chef’s Table: France
Favorite woman run brands/businesses?
Chelli from CHC. She is one of my favorite people, and she is just really inspirational, not only in her high quality products, but how she treats people. I think she is amazing. She is really kind to me. I also love that book #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso.
Your star sign?
I’m a Leo. August 14.
My favorite flower is dahlia, and I love tropical plants; big, leafy, lush houseplants.
Savory or sweet?
Pizza or taco?
Coffee or tea?
Saturday or Sunday?