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Art & Life with Tiffanie Mang

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tiffanie Mang.

Tiffanie, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I was born and raised in San Diego. From age six, I jumped right into the arts and fell in love with it. After studying at a local art School, US Arts, for eleven years, it was time to figure out what I wanted to study in college. I knew I wanted to incorporate my love for the arts, but I wasn’t sure how. After watching the movie Avatar by James Cameron, I fell in love with the fantastical worlds that were portrayed in the movie, and there you go! I decided to study animation and film. I applied to the USC film school and got accepted to the Hench DADA Animation and Digital Arts Division. I loved the power of being able to create and share stories through moving images… drawing with your own hand. I created my first 2-D animated short film titled Emile (which you can find on my website www.tiffaniemang.com) during my senior year of college all animated in Photoshop with hand-painted watercolor backgrounds.

After graduating, I worked as a freelance concept artist before landing a job that changed my life. In Feb 2016, I applied to be an animator on the film Loving Vincent, an animated feature film about the life and mysterious death of Van Gogh. The main catch that drew my eye was that the entire film was animated in oil paints. As a painter working in gouache and oils, that factor appealed to me intensely. Two months later after I applied, I got a call from the studio asking if I wanted to fly over and take a test for the film. I was about to teach an eight-week plein air painting class at Society of Illustrators LA, but I knew that if I turned down this opportunity, I would forever regret not at least trying. So, in two weeks, I found a cheap ticket, a substitute for my class, and I flew to Gdansk, Poland, to take the three-day test at Breakthru Films Studio. It was the most grueling test ever, and I truly thought I wouldn’t make it through (and how embarrassing that would have been because I studied animation!). But thankfully I passed and went on to complete a two-week training course before officially working on production as an animator for six months. It was an incredible experience that changed my life- the work itself was so unique, and I was surrounded by so many talented artists from all over the world. I met my best friend/ sister from another mother Charlene Mosley in Poland (it was there we found out we were both from SD) and it was there overseas that I feel my artistry blossomed.

My time in Poland was unmatched to anything else, and I will always recall it with fondness and nostalgia. It was definitely a work hard play hard scenario where we indeed drowned in oil paints all together as artists, and because we worked so hard, we also danced hard on the weekends to loosen up our muscles from sitting around all day! To give you an idea of how much we painted- the wrinkles in my hands and fingers retained green paint for all six months until I stopped working on the film. I animated a total of six shots, and I was fortunate enough to get to paint a variety of characters, from Dr. Gachet, whose head was the size of a penny in one shot, to a closeup shot of Armand’s face. I learned so much from painting each scene, and I can say that working on this film helped me mix colors a lot faster.

After working for six months, I backpacked around Europe for two months and visited so many beautiful cities like Prague, Krakow, Bern, Martigues, Whistable, Canterbury, and many others which provided me with so much inspirational fuel for future paintings. It was my mission to fill up one whole sketchbook, a journal, and a gouache sketchbook during traveling, which I did. I do believe traveling is so necessary for artists, especially for landscape artists, because the more reference you can draw from in real life, the better your paintings will be.

I came back to LA in 2017 and went on to work full- time as a freelance concept artist at a 3-D projection mapping studio called Bart Kresa Studio. I created preliminary concepts for projections that were “painted” onto the facade of the Disney Concert Hall for the Game of Thrones Season seven party (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMJJnWdGKUM). I also created all the projection designs for the 2017 HBO Emmy party at the LA Pacific Design Center.

Even though it was a fun job, something was still calling me to pursue my true passion of becoming a fine artist. That is why six months ago, I moved back home to SD and got a studio– Studio 15– with my good friends Charlene Mosley and Kaitlyn Fusco at Art on 30th. Transitioning from working full time and having a stable income to becoming an independent artist has been, in short, thrilling, tough, and incredibly humbling. I know I am just starting off my career as a fine artist, but I am so excited to pursue what really brings the biggest smile to my face, which is drowning in oil paint or painting outside trying to capture all those subtle colors in a landscape before me.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My passion and focus is painting landscapes en plein air and in the studio. I am currently focusing on natural and architectural landscapes inspired by Europe. I paint small gouache studies en plein air ( around 6″x6″, 5″x7″ or smaller) and I take some of them back to the studio and develop them into larger oil pieces. To me the thrill of plein air is something that will always be unmatched- I love and revel in the time restraint and the fact that I am capturing something raw, organic and pristine in front of me with my own colors.

I consider myself an impressionist painter. I never seek to reiterate the exact reality in detail of what is in front of me, but I strive to capture the energy and essence of the subject matter in my brushstrokes and colors. I am always pushing myself to explore new color relationships in my landscapes so the viewer will be impacted by first sight when they look at my paintings and feel like they are transported into the scene. I constantly am analyzing color and light, observing how different times of day create the most beautiful and unique color palettes.

Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
As I have just recently moved to San Diego and transitioned into being an independent artist not too long ago, I am just starting out and learning so much because it is very different from the entertainment industry, I will say that it is definitely very difficult to get the ball rolling at first, and one has to be patient and constantly strive to make opportunities for themselves because they won’t always come knocking at your door. For example, I love teaching and sharing my passion for the medium of gouache and plein air, so I am seeking ways to make that a stream of revenue by teaching workshops and classes at a variety of schools and organizations. I also continue to freelance in commercials and animation.

I think being an artist will always be hard because, in the end, you are your own boss, motivator, and worst enemy at times. Success partially depends on the kind of art that is in style and trends that come and go. The most challenging part- for me at least-is being your own marketer and trying to find your niche of where you can fit in a while still maintaining your unique style, so you don’t blend in with the rest. I think to be in San Diego as a plein air painter, I would love to see more cohesive plein air groups coming together and painting, and more classes offered in plein air painting as well.

I also would love to find more classes that talk about the business side of being an artist, because that itself is a whole new learning curve. It would also be really beneficial if galleries, for example, held open portfolio reviews for budding artists who wanted to have their work critiqued by professional artists and gallery owners to have that nice exchange between young artists and more experienced veterans. I do feel like there is a divide there, and I would personally love it if there were more networking opportunities.

In the end, I believe that as fine/ independent artists, if you push hard enough, are proactive in finding opportunities to display your work and make an effort to improve your art continually, get feedback, and network, there is no way you can go down, only up!

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I update my work most on Instagram; you can find my public profile at my handle tiffaniemangart. There you can find most everything I am working on, including upcoming workshops or classes I will be teaching.

I also have a website at www.tiffaniemang.com. There I have select gouache work and oil pieces featured, as well as a “Store” section where I sell my gouache sketchbook Ab Intus featuring gouache paintings from Poland and California, as well as select 11″x14″ matted prints of my oil paintings.

Lastly, I have a facebook page at www.facebook.com/tiffaniemangart, but I update that the least. If anyone is interested in purchasing paintings, they can go on my website where I have prices listed, or my Instagram and DM or email me at tiffaniemangart@gmail.com describing the piece they are interested in.

Of course, you can always visit our Studio 15 at Art on 30th! Just email me to make an appointment. There are also public shows every month at the Ashton gallery downstairs, and our studio is always open for visitors to come during those receptions.

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