Navigating the contemporary art world as a self-taught artist is no easy feat. However, Tiffany B. Chanel successfully made it happen, which is an art Black women universally know very well — making the impossible possible.
The kaleidoscope portraiture artist embarked on her art career in 2012 by custom-painting sneakers. As vibrant colorways inspired each stroke of her paintbrush, an unexpected pivot slowly came to the surface.
“Those vibrant color palettes transformed into backgrounds for my portraits. Exploring the process of creating these backgrounds on a larger scale was fascinating,” Tiffany told HelloBeautiful. “I discovered that enlarging these shapes added a dynamic sense of movement to my canvas, which captivated my interest. Going big with my paintings introduced me to optical illusions.”
Tiffany earns an opportunity of a lifetime
Fast-forward to 2015, Tiffany’s talent earned her a career-defining opportunity — a commission to create a portrait of Tamara Mowry’s son, Aden. Tiffany admitted it was a first that ultimately boosted her confidence. Not to mention, the gorgeous portrait went viral, which cemented her status as a notable artist.
Seeing the opportunity as confirmation to explore portraiture further, Tiffany created pieces for filmmaker Ava Duvernay and actress Aisha Hinds. Since then, she has made portraits of Lupita Nyong’o, Yara Shahidi, the late Prince, and many more.
Tiffany B. Chanel unites the BedStuy community through art
With so many accomplishments under her belt, Tiffany knew that the time had come to bring the community together through art. So, on August 19, 2023, Tiffany presented “Breakfast With Tiffany” in BedStuy, which featured a champagne brunch and a preview of her abstract collection.
“After 11 years of painting, it felt like the right moment to share my new work with my community, especially to express my gratitude to my day one supporters and everyone else who has been there along the way,” Tiffany explained. “They have supported me in countless ways, and I wanted them to feel the same love and appreciation that I feel from them.”
At the breakfast, Tiffany unveiled her latest collection, inspired by her love of music. The collection features mixed media abstract art that “serves as a visual testament to the profound impact of music on our emotions and movements, creating a multi-sensory experience for the viewers.”
One standout piece, “Walking Shoes,” features breathtaking texture and line work with eye-catching gold leaf, which Tiffany said is inspired by Mali Music’s song with the same name.
“The texture in the painting represents all the challenges we face, but it’s in white and gold, symbolizing the beautiful journey we’ll one day appreciate,” Tiffany told Hello Beautiful. “The gold lines are moving all in one direction, towards our dreams and goals. It’s all about walking that path, no matter how uncertain it might seem right now.”
And that path for Tiffany has proven to be fruitful. The artist, who was once an art teacher in NYC’s Department of Education system, is now a full-time artist. And while she has made strides in making art a vital part of child development and education throughout her tenure — from after-school “paint and chill” sessions to enriching professional development sessions for teachers and administrators — she remains open to sharing her passion for art and influencing the masses.
Navigating the art world as a Black woman comes with its struggles. Luckily, Tiffany encourages aspiring female artists to stay the course.
“Trust your instincts and believe in your capabilities,” Tiffany said. “Remember, no matter your level, document your journey. Your story is a testament to your growth, and it’s worth sharing with the world.”
Check out Brooklyn artist Tiffany B. Chanel’s new collection and other artworks on her website and social media platforms.
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