WELD Artist of the Week: Tiffany McAnarney

Career: Community Manager at WELD|  Connector|  Grind-Extraordinaire
Website: www.tmacstudio.com
Mantra: Find beauty in the small.
Interview by: Kristin Read

What is guaranteed to make you laugh?

People dancing in my personal space. It happens a lot more often than in most people’s normal life. Well, since I’m normally the one dancing, I guess that’s why people feel safe / comfortable enough with me to do it.

When did life shift to where you found yourself “deep in doodles”?

Ya know, that’s a loaded question. I’ve kept an art journal since seventh or eighth grade, and fortunately, they’ve just gotten better. In college, I struggled to take notes during lecture, so I started sketching what they were talking about. The act of doodling helped me to better understand how my mind works, so I can perform better with day-to-day tasks. If I try to manage a digital list of to-do’s, I’ve found I’m useless. But, if I make lists and draw with them, I’m likely to get them done. I also love taking notes when I talk to people. That’s why I think my best doodles come from sitting in church for 1.5 hours, and letting the words I hear unfold on paper.

What’s your trigger?

I’m not a huge fan of just “watching” things—when the content is just handed to me like that I have a hard time absorbing it. On the other hand, sound seems to be my trigger—podcasts, music, conversations—that’s why I’m so productive at WELD, the music keeps me going. If it’s quiet in someone’s house . . . it freaks me out.

Where do you find your “creative juice?”

I have a hard time doing anything creative when I’m happy. The best things I’ve created—that I’m proud of—have come from me being completely self aware, trying to sort things out in my mind, figure out why I feel the way I do, and actualizing those emotions. I wish I was the type of person that could create art when I’m happy, but my best work comes from the rawness of being heartbroken. It’s comforting to know it’s the same with other artists. To be an artist is to have some kind of melancholy about you. True artists aren’t satisfied with the status quo like most happy-go-lucky people, we instead try to do everything we can to dig deep under the surface of things, find those emotions, and express them.

What is your best-kept secret?
I feel like I’m a pretty open book. Everyone thinks I’m super crazy or eccentric when in reality I’m really just a nice, normal, and caring girl. My best-kept secret: I’m just like everybody else. 

What has been your proudest moment thus far in your work?

I completed a total of 27 pieces for my senior exhibition, painting most within four months. I actually told my family to go to my art reception instead of my graduation, and they did . . . I was that excited. My college work was very scholarly, well thought out, and meticulously executed. I love looking back on those pieces. Seeing hours of hard work come to fruition was an incredible personal experience. To this day, I really love my work . . . I’m sure that sounds bad, but I feel like it’s not my own. There’s a beauty in that.

What do you find most inspiring about working with other creative minds?

It’s inspiring to watch the community of creatives at work. Most people enter into new situations and environments looking for the negative first, but it’s not like that with our community. Regardless of how awkward it may feel for a newcomer, people enter the space trying to see the best in everyone they meet. Everyone has his or her own unique style and approach to offer. It has never been about competition here, it’s all about collaboration. For that reason, I think people want to be a part of our community. WELD is doing what most art organizations are striving for and have a difficult time accomplishing. I think that’s part of our secret sauce—the openness of the community. Dallas needed this place. 

As an artist, is there anything special you hope to accomplish?

The pieces I create are equally as important to me as the relationships I’ve made with people I’m creating for.  I think of artist Jackson Pollock—most of his paintings are priceless—while he was alive, he just gave a lot of his work to friends when they were out drinking. To be truthful, I’m not fully satisfied from selling my work. Ideally, I would create a painting a week, and have it paid for by friends coming over with a bottle of bourbon. There’s a freedom that comes artistically when you’re not always working to sell your craft.

When creating, what goes through your mind?

The best and truest art comes from the subconscious. The only thing I really think about is color theory. In that moment, yes my hands are creating the piece, but I feel like it’s not me. It’s interesting looking back at the final product because you realize it really was you . . . It’s like whatever needed to be created was there all along, you just didn’t realize it. If you’re trying to paint-by-number, or write what you think others want to hear, etcetera, it will never be as beautiful as the work that naturally pours from the inside out. Too many artists want to create art that sells—only painting something others would want hanging in their living room. They limit their work to specific dimensions and color palettes . . . none of it comes from their desire to create—it reminds me of “put a bird on it.” I really believe that if we are true to ourselves as artists, we will focus on creating from within—no matter what we do, there will be a fan of it.

Doug Klembara