I walked up to the painting and stared. It was above a plush bed in the most beautiful store I had ever seen. I walked back and forth several times so I could watch the canvas sparkle. As I toured the 8,000 square foot space, I kept going back to that painting to admire the spare but layered paint in the most beautiful whites and blues.
The store is Vancouver’s The Cross Decor & Design, and the artist is Tiffany Collins.
Tiffany’s art is dazzling. When I look at her Mixed Media art, I feel pure joy. I had to know her story, her inspirations and creative process. I also wanted to hear about her life as an artist living on Canada’s magnificent West Coast. Meet Tiffany!
Angelique: How did you get started?
Tiffany: I have always had the creative butterfly in me. I believe creativity lives differently in everyone, and art is just one way of expressing emotion. My first two official Mixed Media pieces where made for my mom and dad. I wanted to give them the perfect Christmas gift and so I decided to make them a large piece of art for their home. They still hang on their walls today.
A: Do you paint full time?
T: Like a true creative mind, I am inspired by many things. I believe letting your mind explore, enjoy and be exposed to new things, are key to my continuous growth as an artist. Therefore my time is not only spent painting, but also creatively contributing to two incredible companies: The Cross Decor & Design and Booje Media.
A: Where did you learn to paint?
T: My background is in Interior Design. I completed my studies at The Art Institute of Vancouver. Since I believe in continuous education, I have taken multiple photography and art classes at Emily Carr University of Art & Design, but a lot of what I do in my creative process has been experimental discoveries.
A: How do you create a piece?
T: Most of my work is custom made for clients. I really enjoy the process of working with someone, picking the ideal canvas size for their home, and curating the perfect colour palette for their space. When working on a piece of art, it is important for me to have time to make the right decisions. Since my process is based on layers and settling time, I need to always remain in control of my timing and patience.
A: What tools do you use?
T: The fun part of Mixed Media painting is that it encompasses so many different mediums. That’s what I find so exciting! Every piece I make is slightly different in terms of the materials I use, but a couple key items in my practice are palette knives, moulding paste and Canadian made wooden-panel canvases.
A: What lead you to add the gorgeous sparkle to your paintings?
T: Ah the sparkle! My art has always been inspired by old, distressed walls I’ve seen on my travels (mostly in France & Mexico where my parents are from). To me, naturally worn ceramics or old concrete walls, oxidized copper, and sun bleached wooden facades are simply the most gorgeous visuals. That being said, for a few of my art pieces I thought what a unique juxtaposition to add some sparkle! Something natural mixed in with something magical – where light allows the piece to live. To my surprise this subtle addition has become a common request by many of my clients!
A: Many paintings are sold on your site. Are you working on a new collection?
T: I currently sell some of my art through @TheCrossDesign and yes I am currently working on an exclusive collaboration ‘collection’ with a well known designer influencer. This is currently in the works and I hope to reveal it this fall! I’ll be announcing this collaboration on my Instagram account in the coming weeks…
A: Do you also help people decorate their home?
T: I like to think taste level is a big part of what I do. I love to give clients ideas of what kind of art we can create after seeing their space or hearing about it. It might be something as subtle as a note of Robin’s Egg blue found woven into their rug that can be tied into their custom piece.
‘Creativity and ego cannot go together. If you free yourself from the comparing and jealous mind, your creativity opens up endlessly. Just as water springs from a fountain, creativity springs from every moment. You must not be your own obstacle. You must not be owned by the environment you are in. You must own the environment, the phenomenal world around you. You must be able to freely move in & out of your mind. This is being free.’ – Jeong Kwan
A: What led you to choose this quote for your homepage?
T: Chef’s Table is mine and my husband’s favourite show for so many reasons! We were in Tofino, BC on an R&R weekend when we watched the episode with Monk Jeong Kwan and were completely moved by her. This passage literally brought tears to my eyes. Being an artist brings many internal conversations to the surface, thoughts of fear and doubt. This quote reminds me to always choose positivity, to never compare what I do to anyone else, to stay humble and most of all… remember to always feel freedom of emotion.
A: How does your life in Vancouver affect your art?
T: I am one of those people who can’t stop raving about Vancouver. I feel so incredibly lucky to call this place home! Living in a city/country that offers seasons is a huge inspiration, but having my family and friends here is really what makes this place ‘home’.
A: Do you live in the city or in nature?
T: I am all about balance. I live in the city, but getting away to the Sunshine Coast or Whistler is a soul necessity.
A: Vancouver is incredibly beautiful! Do you take advantage of the lakes and mountains?
T: Absolutely. The ocean is my biggest magnet. In the summer you can find me on the Seawall going for a stroll to Granville Island or watching the stunning Vancouver sunsets! Also getting into the mountains and smelling that fresh green air is priceless.
A: Describe a moment of inspiration that lead to a painting.
T: The first moment that comes to mind is a photo I took in a carwash over 4 years ago. When I snapped an iPhone photo of the moving window washers it created an image reminding me of a watercolour painting; so beautiful it inspired me to create a similar piece for our own home (with a touch of my rustic-textural style).
A: Has being an artist ever been a struggle?
T: Of course there are challenges, moments of insecurity (I get so nervous every time I reveal a painting to a client) but I know that will never change, because I will always care about my art and making my clients happy.
Thank you Tiffany. I can’t wait to see your new collection!
P.S. Her overalls are from Zara.
All photos provided by the artist and The Cross Decor & Design.