We had the good fortune of connecting with Tiffanie Mang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tiffanie, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk taking is the number one tip I tell my students in the workshops, classes, and mentorships I teach. In painting, it means venturing into the unknown, painting what is out of your comfort zone, and letting your hand flow even when your mind can’t exactly dictate why you are putting down the strokes you are creating. In my personal experience, all my best life lessons have come out of taking risks, and I cannot stress how much value failing and learning from those mistakes has given me. In my career, the biggest risk I took was moving to a foreign country, Poland, for 6 months to work on a film, Loving Vincent, the world’s first fully hand painted feature film about Vincent van Gogh. I flew over in March 2016 to take a test, bringing one suitcase with me and not knowing if I would pass or not. Six months later, I had animated 6 shots from the movie, and was embarking on a 2 month back-packing trip across Europe. If I hadn’t made that decision to go over to Poland, take the test, and join the production, I would not have made the friends and memories I made, explored Europe to the extent I did, gotten better at mixing color, and discovered so many more revelations that have shaped the career decisions I make to this day. It is because of working on that film that I decided to pursue fine art more; now I am in a happy in- between joggling freelancing in commercials and film and making a name for myself in the fine art world. The second big risk in my career was leaving my studio job in 2018 to move back home and rent a painting studio with a couple friends. I was not happy at my job, and although it was steady pay, my heart was just being suffocated. I moved back home from Los Angeles to San Diego, giving up financial stability in order to pursue what I was really passionate about- being an entrepreneur, teaching, painting, and traveling. During this time I reached out to multiple organizations to teach workshops and classes in gouache painting, applied to tons of gallery shows (and got selected in 22 shows in 2019!), and also applied to a few plein air painting competitions inside and outside of California. I ended up solo traveling to beautiful places like Capitola, Curacao, Oregon, Georgia, and even London in 2019! I cannot describe in a nutshell how amazing all these events were! Each one was a gamble, as I had to spend money on transportation and sometimes lodging, but in the end, I ended up selling enough paintings to make back profit, and the memories and sightseeing was priceless. One of the most thrilling painting competitions was being invited to Plein Air Curacao, an island in the Caribbean. I was almost not going to go because the ticket to fly there was not cheap, but in the end, I decided that I would be more disappointed if I didn’t go. I taught a couple workshops to make back the money, and I ended up selling over half my paintings there in the show! Not only that, but I got to explore a beautiful Caribbean Island extensively, be immersed in a vibrant culture, stay with an amazing host family, and paint landscapes that I never would have had the opportunity to paint in San Diego. Through these experiences, I have developed one motto that I try my best to follow- never say no to an opportunity that you think you can grow from, because you truly never know what you can learn and experience if you don’t try.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Ironically my main business of launching my mentorship program really took off during this year in 2020 when Covid 19 hit. It has been such an amazing journey getting to where I am now, and a great learning experience. The idea to launch my mentorship program started around 2019, when I was teaching workshops and realized that I really enjoyed teaching. Since I come from a unique artistic background where I paint traditionally in gouache and digitally in Photoshop, I wanted to launch a program that helped digital artists master the fundamentals of painting through honing their observational skills and understanding colors through traditional color mixing. Nowadays when it is possible to create paintings through traditional and digital means, the world of art has expanded into even wider bounds with the variety of tools. Both ways of creating artwork are just tools at your disposal to manipulate and create beautiful artwork if you have the right fundamentals. I created my own mentorship program with the goal of closing the gap between digital and traditional mediums by demonstrating how I apply my philosophies from traditional painting into digital painting, and vice versa. When I announced my program in December of 2019, I really expected maybe only two people to apply. I kept the application seats low and limited it to 5 people max; since this was a mentorship program and my first time launching anything of this size, I wanted to keep it small to make sure I could deliver. Thankfully, I had 5 people sign up for the first spring term, and I got students from all around the world, such Japan, New York, Portugal, and LA! The first term was a success, and literally just through promoting student work on my Instagram and word of mouth from the students, I steadily got more and more applications coming in. In the summer term, I had 8 students, and in fall term I had 9 students. I got to meet people from all around the world such as Slovakia, Germany, Netherlands, Korea, Malaysia, and more. I am blessed that all my students so far have had a wonderful work ethic, and I am proud to say that all of them have improved! A lot of students repeat terms with me, and I have forged some new friendships that I hold dear. I care deeply about my students, and to see them improve is the greatest gift for a teacher. This first year in 2020 proved a success; therefore I have already announced and launched my mentorship program for 2021, for which I have spring and summer terms filled already. I have expanded my business to teaching digital painting mentorships and gouache painting mentorships, so double the work, and double the fun! My mentorship program helps emerging and seasoned artists solve the frustration of creating paintings that lack emotion, structure, and harmony. By enrolling in my program, students walk away with a renewed understanding of the fundamentals in painting so that they can confidently create images that tell stories with intention. Understanding the relationships in drawing, value, composition, and color until it is embedded in your brain is the framework for developing your unique artistic voice. I do not advertise teaching one to paint in a certain style; I am training students to master the tools they have at hand to unlock their full potential and create pieces that sing from within. The tools and fundamentals are a means to an end, the end being your narrative and message!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my friend was visiting me in San Diego, I’d definitely take them to all the beaches! I would show them my childhood favorite beach Torrey Pines, visit Del Mar, Lajolla, Mission Bay, and Seaport Village! In terms of eating, I would have to take them to Buca de Beppo and indulge in tiramisu and pasta, Extraordinary Desserts, Taste of the Himalayas for some Nepalese inspired food, and some burritos at Robertos. I would take them to my favorite coffee shop in Del Mar- Bird Rock Coffee- and sit for a nice chat with some coffee and toast. We would definitely visit Balboa Park and spend a day exploring all the museums there. We would definitely do some hiking in Torrey Pines, Cowles Mountain, and Sunset Hills National Park.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Where I am right now, despite this weird time in 2020, is thanks to a series of events that have made me a stronger person, tight support of friends, and books I have read that have enlightened and inspired me. I have to thank my parents, first and foremost, who have never told me that I can’t achieve what I set out to do. They have given me the encouragement and support I need, and most of all, a home to come back to in March 2020 when I was coming back from a broken engagement (yes, I moved to another country for a man, but that’s another story in itself, and one which also taught me A LOT!) It was during this time that I was in the middle of running my first term of my digital mentorship, and I would not have been able to do this without a home where I could focus on my business without any distractions. I am eternally grateful for this, and is it because of their support that my business has been able to grow. I also am very thankful for a few friends, who have truly helped me through the thick and thin. I believe it’s important to have a few close friends versus a lot of casual friends, and these friends are people who I can open up to and share my deepest thoughts and fears with. As I mentioned earlier, I went through a painful breakup earlier this year, and it wasn’t until hindsight that I realized that this whole breakup was a blessing. I became mentally stronger and more resilient, and for that I am so grateful that I went through this struggle and left a relationship that was potentially debilitating in the long run. I gained a new understanding of what a healthy relationship should be with friends, family, and your significant other. These friends helped me realize new insights, were loving when I was struggling, and also gave me tough love when I needed it. I am also so happy to say that I am dating someone new; this relationship has actually given me this unparalleled energy I have never felt before because of the consistent support and encouragement he gives me for my art and business. It is also this year that I got into reading much more. I now cannot start my morning without reading for 30 min. I started reading all kinds of books (mostly not art related) about relationships, philosophy, and fiction. I cannot tell you how eye opening some of these books are. One of my favorites is “Soul Shifts” by Barbara De Angelis, which helped me grow from one of the most difficult periods of my life experiencing heartbreak. Another book that is one of my all time favorites ( and one that I reread recently!) is “Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse. I am currently reading this book called “Courage to be Disliked” by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga, and it is blowing my mind slowly! I love reading books not related to art, because I actually find that the concepts I read are in fact very applicable to art and help me shape my mindset more positively so that I can approach my work in the best way possible.
Other: Daily Paintworks (my store) https://www.
Beti Wozniak Justin Hooper Corey Peters