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Meet Tiffany Bociek of Tiffany Bociek Studios and Bociek and Bociek Studios

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tiffany Bociek.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Tiffany. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have always had the desire to make art. I don’t believe I was born knowing what “art” is, but I do know that from an early age, I wanted to make things (whether that be costumes, plays, pictures, food, anything). I just knew I wanted to live and fully explore a creative life. I can remember my fourth grade “career” day when we students were required to come to class dressed in the finest representations of our future careers. I remember opening the door, the outside sun shining into the classroom illuminating a room full of children dressed up as vets, firefighters, doctors, and a variety of “acceptable” future career choices. Then there was me: dressed in an oversized, white-button down shirt covered in paint smears, holding my great-grandmother’s antique wooden paint box, and under my other arm, I carried a desktop easel.

I remember walking to my desk, setting up my little “career” station and feeling out of place among the sea of lab coats, khaki zoo keeper uniforms, and little suits. Yet, I don’t really know if I cared that I felt “out of place” because I knew that I wanted to be an artist or whatever “artist” meant to fourth grade me. In fifth grade, I made my first sales as an “artist” making jewelry, only to have my little enterprise shut down by a teacher who wasn’t too keen on me selling my jewelry at school. I knew what I wanted then, and it has been the only constant vein in my life; I had a passion to make things. So today I do just that! I make. I have my own personal studio practice called Tiffany Bociek Studios where I focus on creating and exploring the wonderful elements of making encaustic artwork, drawing, and jewelry.

While attending University of California San Diego, I met my husband, Neal Bociek, he himself being an immensely gifted sculptor who has been making wonderful, energetic, colorful, thoughtful, yet lighthearted and fun pieces since the mid-1990s. Together we created a studio practice called, Bociek and Bociek Studios, which started in 2009 with a piece called Sic’Emore that was exhibited along the San Diego waterfront for the Port of San Diego’s Urban Tree Exhibition. In 2010, we exhibited again for Urban Trees. The next year, we got an opportunity to create a piece for the San Diego History Center (SDHC) for their Tuna! Exhibition. Then we had the opportunity to make another piece for SDHC for the Bottle and Kegged Exhibition. In addition, we created a piece for the Hyde Gallery.

Thus, our Bociek and Bociek Studios grew, working together and exploring our passion and love for art through projects and various exhibitions. Almost ten years later, in the spring of 2017, we had the great opportunity to install in Lexington, Kentucky, a permanent public sculpture entitled: “My Home is a Horse and Track.” This art depicts and is dedicated to Isaac Murphy, one of the great jockeys in horse racing. I have always had a hard time staying focused on only one field because I like to have as many fingers in as many creative pies as possible by continuing my passion to draw, to turn wood, to make jewelry, or to make things in new ways. After buying our first home, my husband and I are now voracious in the garden constantly creating new areas of beauty and interest with plants and sculpture.

At the same time, I have an obsessive love affair with cooking. Like crazy passionate—I easily can spend a minimum of three days straight in the kitchen trying to figure out how to make nut-free lavender French macarons or perfecting my dough lamination skills. I will spend hours researching various cooking or baking techniques.

Cooking, for me, is an art form of desire, which I share with close friends or family. I think desire is what drives my cooking, desire to learn, to practice, to take simple ingredients and watch them metamorphose into elegant dishes. I will spend months researching for a dinner party and cook a seven-course dinner where guests can indulge in things like wild mushroom consommé, rabbit fricassée, boeuf en croûte, and pâte fueilletée crowned with Riesling poached pears and cream. Each course is lovingly and thoughtfully paired with a delicious wine. My pursuit of the creative life followed me throughout every stage of my life evolving and morphing into different forms. I followed my passion to community college stating my major as Visual Arts and taking as many art classes as I could fit into my schedule while holding down two part-time jobs plus amping-up a budding makeup artistry business.

My university years solidified my passion to create as I graduated from UCSD’s Visual Arts program in Studio Practices with a focus in drawing and being blessed to have studied under great artists like Kim McConnell and Jean Lowe, Rubèn Ortíz Torres, and Barbara Kruger. I once had a professor at UCSD state to a class of maybe 10 to 15 students that: “Over half of the class in here will not be making art in 10 years and the other will be because they don’t know how to do anything else.” I was angry at first when I heard that. I saw it as an insult, but now I understand: I have to be making something, and I think I have always known this about myself. I have had a successful, yet small, make-up business, which has given me the opportunity to meet some amazing people. In high school, I found I had a knack for makeup artistry.

This was before YouTube tutorials, so books were my main reference source. I would coax friends, family, and pretty much anyone who was willing to sit in my makeup chair while I practiced make-up techniques on them. To enhance my skills, I completed a course in makeup artistry, and subsequently, I worked in the make-up industry and formed my own makeup business. I loved seeing the transformations or helping people understand their own beauty. I still work in the industry for an amazing company called Beautycounter, a certified B-corp company revolutionizing the beauty industry by creating high performing products that do not cause long-term human health issues. I got interested in this company because of their dedication to the pursuit of clean beauty that goes beyond their product lines but all the way to the steps of Washington where they have been demanding safer standards for the industry. It is truly a wonderful company to be a part of.

Because going to school for art and completing my course for makeup wasn’t enough, I was working for my best friend’s mother as a wedding florist. This art form was another vital area that was rounding out the creative path I was choosing. Floristry was really my first experience with sculpture. I learned about form, design, color, texture, balance, shape, and dimension. Looking back, I can see that all these small subtleties of my young adult life were building the foundation of fulfilling my passion to live a fully creative life. It was never a smooth road to follow my passion. Life, school, career, side projects, family, friends can easily get one sidetracked. As soon as I feel like “I am making it! Ahhhh, it’s happening!!!” BAM—something in life distracts my attention. Through everything, I have always kept my heart in line with my passion, which is to create.

I extend from there, and I have had the opportunity to exhibit artwork on both coasts, install a permanent sculpture in Kentucky, and have had solo exhibitions. The more I walk through this life, the more I realize it is about the subtleties of each day that make up the sum of life. I wake up each morning inspired to create, to build something, or to make something. I truly try to follow that passion and to just let my hands do something, anything. I have made some amazing things—sometimes these objects are meant to be seen, like the sculptures I make with my husband, or my encaustic work, which is now hanging on someone’s wall. Sometimes the outcomes of my creative wanderings are just for me, like my lavender and lemon curd nut-free French macarons or my white chocolate, lemon zest and pumpkin seed braided brioche.

Has it been a smooth road?
The biggest obstacle, if I am honest, would be myself—I am my own worst critic and my own biggest roadblock. It is easy to get caught up in the daily tasks and routines of life. I get preoccupied and will easily sidestep the creative life I want to lead. Like I said in my story, I have multiple focuses and love having many fingers in various creative pies. I have to make a conscious decision every day to make creativity a dominant part of my every day. Lately, I have been taking time to step back and evaluate what is most important in my life. I have been spending time reading, journaling, slowly trying to uncover some hidden inner truths.

I have to ask myself what goals I want to achieve and most importantly; at the end of my life, when I I look back over my accomplishments, achievements, opportunities, missed opportunities, wrong turns and miss-steps, what sort of quality of life did I lead. It is easy, especially when my husband is like-minded, we can easily drill down into whatever project we are working on and become so narrowly focused that life can pass by. I want to make sure I am always expanding and growing, exploring and discovering new talents or influence that will enrich not only my artwork and my whole life.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Tiffany Bociek Studios and Bociek and Bociek Studios story. Tell us more about the business.
Tiffany Bociek Studios and Bociek and Bociek Studios are very dear to my heart.

Tiffany Bociek Studios is my own personal artist studio. I use a variety of mediums to create my work: hot wax found objects, paint, graphite, etc. I focus mostly on encaustic because I love the textures and versatility of the encaustic medium. When I first saw an encaustic piece at a Gallery on Newbury Street in Boston, MA I remember just wanting to sink my nails into the rich wax layers just to see the texture in the wax. Little did I know that curiosity is exactly what was involved in encaustic making. I love to watch the hot wax move across the substrate and then fusing my layers of colored wax together to create the depths of colors, lines, or imagery. It is truly a transcending moment.

Encaustic also allows me to indulge my other passion for antique/vintage everything—my favorite antique being antique magazines. I purchased my first antique magazine at the age of twelve. It was an oversized, 1922 American McCalls magazine with a feature serial story by Zane Grey. I have held on to that magazine since the day I purchased it. Since then, I have added to my collection. I adore the hand-illustrated imagery and stories that fill the pages of these antique magazines. These illustrations have become the catalyst for my work both in my encaustic work and in my jewelry work.

Currently, you can find some of my jewelry at La Playa gallery in La Jolla. An amazing hidden gem of a gallery that has featured some truly talented local artist. At La Playa Gallery I have had the wonderful opportunity to showcase both my encaustic work as well as my jewelry in September of 2016 in an exhibition called Dream-Romantic Disorientation.

Bociek and Bociek Studios is the studio practice I have with my husband, Neal Bociek. Together we make large-scale sculpture mostly using fabricated steel and some found objects. Lately, we have been incorporating natural plant life within our work. We have created a wide variety of outdoor and indoor pieces ranging in size from 3 feet tall to about 22 feet. I am fiercely proud of our achievements since our studio inception in 2009. We have work with the Port of San Diego, as well as the San Diego History Center, the Garden at Cuyamaca College, San Diego Botanical Gardens, as well as the Bluegrass community foundation in Lexington Kentucky.

This past spring 2017 we erected a permanent stainless steel sculpture for the Bluegrass Community Foundation and The Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden honoring the legendary jockey, Isaac Murphy.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Michelle Hayes of Michelle Hayes Studio

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