Meet creator Tiffani Glenn who is a mother, a wife and an amazing artist, capturing the energy and range of black women of different walks of life. We got an exlcusive interview with Mrs. Glenn. She answered our questions on her artwork, the things that inspire her and the stories she likes to share through her work.
First tell me about yourself. ( city,state, age, favorite vegetable, top 3 songs from your playlist)
My name is Tiffani Glenn and I am an artist born and raised in Tampa, FL. I’m 32 years old, and married with two children. An 11 year old son and a 4 year old girl.
My favorite vegetable is broccoli.
The top 3 songs on my playlist at the moment are Set You Free by Bryson Tiller, Sky Walker by Miguel, and Lust by Kendrick Lamar.
Why do you paint? Where does your passion for painting come from?
I paint because I love the creative process behind mixing and blending colors and how it all just eventually comes together to create something beautiful. My passion from painting comes from being an avid art lover all my life and from being inspired by other painters that I admire.
Being an artist also allows me to share my vision with the world and hopefully inspire others.
When did you know you were an artist? What does that mean to you?
I’ve known I was an artist since I was a small child. Probably between ages 5 and 6. I would draw on anything I could such as cardboard, shoeboxes, even the walls lol. Being an artist to me means a way of expressing myself and the ideas that are in my head. Being an artist also allows me to share my vision with the world and hopefully inspire others. Most importantly it means I’m not afraid to be creative!
How do you choose your subjects? Tell me about your most recent painting.
Most of my subjects are African American women. I love to draw them with a look of confidence. I enjoy drawing them with a caricatured or stylized feel. I feel this allows me to have fun while painting them. In most of my paintings I intentionally emphasize many of the physical features that we are sometimes criticized for. These are features that embody the black woman such as full lips, kinky/curly hair, or wide hips. I include these features because they are features we should love and embrace. I don’t always have an idea of what my piece is going to look like, often times I just pick up the canvas and start drawing. However, I do always aim for my pieces to have a fun, sassy feel to them with bold colors.
My most recent painting called “Be Fearless” features a woman wearing her natural hair in an Afro. She is standing with her arms behind her back and one leg crossed over the other wearing a white crop top that reads “fearless”. Her large golden hoop earrings with a flannel shirt tied around her waist were added to give her a sense of style and swag. I don’t often paint many background details in my piece because I want the focus to be on the character I paint. I love to include details that can represent the African American culture in some way.
Is there an artist your admire or is inspired by?
I am a huge fan of artist Ernie Barnes. His work is phenomenal! It is also very animated and fun, often featuring characters with exaggerated features such as long arms and legs. I love the way he would overemphasize certain physical features while creating work that represented the African American culture.
What kind of stories do you look to tell with your work?
I want women and young girls to be able to look at my paintings and see a piece of themselves. I want them to know that there is nothing wrong with the texture or curliness of their hair or the fullness of their lips. Just as they can look at my paintings and see women who look confident and beautiful I want to ensure them that they can look at themselves and see the same thing and embrace who they are.
Name an important quality you’ve learned about yourself through your creative journey
Through my creative journey I have learned that I am not a quitter. Meaning that throughout my journey I have had times when I felt like giving up at being an artist. There have been times where I have been tempted to compare my work to that of another artist and felt like my art wasn’t “good enough”. However, there was always something in me that made me keep picking up the paint brush and doing it again. Perhaps just my love for art. I am determined to show other artists, especially black women that through determination and hard work you can create your own journey and path that will inspire others to keep going also. Keep your focus and NEVER compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone’s journey is special and unique.
What is/was the most difficult skill or technique for you to master? How did you overcome it?
One of the most difficult techniques I’ve had to master is shading. Because of my background in animation it was always natural for me to draw things very flat and 2 dimensional (like cartoon characters). When I first started, most, if not all of my paintings were very flat and lacking depth. However, because I knew I wanted my pieces to have more depth to them I practiced more shading techniques in each painting I did. I improved by using real life references to work from and also studying the art of other artist who had already mastered the technique of shading. I still won’t say I’m a master but my skills have improved tremendously over the years. Practice always makes perfect!
How did you develop your style?
As mentioned above I studied animation in college so my drawing style has always had more of a stylized approach. Anytime I would try and draw things that looked realistic I would find myself getting bored with it. Drawing with a more animated style allowed me to be more creative and feel like I didn’t have to follow any rules. This is why my style has an animated feel behind it and why you may see exaggerated features on my characters.
Is there a difference between Love & Hip Hop women we love to hate or hate to love and the women you capture in your paintings?
Lol. I try to capture images of women that everyone can love. I want them to represent positivity and confidence for Black women and girls. However, I do think they are stylish and beautiful like many of the women on Love & Hip Hop.
To see more of Tiffani’s work follow her on instagram @artbytiffanig