We see artwork everyday, whether it’s on a poster or a cereal box in the morning, but rarely do we get to create art for people wear for the rest of their lives. This week’s alum is an illustrator and tattoo artist, and talks about how to create and experiment with your own style in your artwork. Below alum Tiffany Meyers describes how her education at Marywood helped her succeed in such a cool job, and become a well-rounded individual.
Graduation Year/Major: 2010, I was an Illustration major with a minor in Graphic Design and Art History.
What is your current job/work I work at Vision Burn Tattoo and Gallery in Dunmore, PA as a tattoo artist.
1) What was your favorite part about Marywood?
My favorite part about Marywood was the people I met and the resources that were made available to me. I was pushed out of my comfort zone of using the same mediums I had always used in high school. I was able to experiment with art forms that I wouldn’t have necessarily tried on my own without any guidance. It was also wonderful to meet so many students and professors with different backgrounds, interests, and styles. They exposed me to different ways of creating art and showed me that there are many different ways to appreciate art. I think that has made me a much more well-rounded artist.
2) Any advice for current art students at Marywood?
My advice would be to take everything in like a sponge. Being in such a comfortable environment surrounded by people that want to help you to become the best artist you can be is an amazing opportunity. You only have so many years here; make them count! Go to all the events, listen to all the guest speakers, go on all the field trips, get the most you can out of your experience. Sometimes it’s hard when you aren’t being forced into creating or attending something because a grade isn’t involved or you think a project is outside of what you want to be doing, but if you’re just doing the bare minimum, why are you even here in the first place?
3) How did your art education at Marywood help your career?
Generally to become a respected tattoo artist, you have to complete an apprenticeship under an established tattooist with plenty of years of experience. You want to learn under someone that knows what they’re doing and whose work you respect. Finding someone like that to be willing to devote their time to teaching you their trade is not an easy thing to do. Having an art degree helped me stand out. My portfolio contained work that I was very proud of and I was able to talk professionally about my goals and experience as an artist. Now that I am a tattooer, my background in art history as well as my experience in many different mediums has made me much more well-rounded than I ever would have been. Majoring in illustration gave me great practice for what I do now. Even though we obviously weren’t working with skin and ink as our medium, we were taught how to make a concept or idea into something beautiful. Not to mention, the training I received in the Adobe programs in my Graphic Design classes has helped me cut hours out of the work someone without that knowledge would need to create a design.
4) What is your favorite part about your job?
I get to create art that people wear for the rest of their lives. To have someone respect your work enough to entrust you with that honor is an awesome thing. Every day is a new project.
5) Do you think an illustrator needs a style? Why? And do you have any tips on developing and illustration style?
I think it’s much easier to sell yourself as a illustrator when you have a definite style you’re comfortable using for the rest of your career. The problem with that is it puts a lot of pressure on someone very early in their professional life to figure out what that style is. I think there is a definite danger in latching on to something too soon and stopping yourself from further growth because something isn’t in “your style”. Your new works could end up being the same stale things you’ve already created. I had a very hard time in college figuring out exactly what my “style” was going to be. For most of college, I really had no idea how I was going to use my Illustration degree in the real world and I didn’t want to be pigeonholed in one direction if I changed my mind as far as what career path I chose. I wanted to work in several directions and see which I enjoyed most and which I thought would be most marketable. The good thing for me is, as a tattooist, you have to be able to be flexible in your artwork. Sure, a definite style is something that comes through eventually when you’re the successful rock star we all hope to be someday, but you will get requests for all kinds of subject matter and styles. If you aren’t flexible in that way, it makes it harder to work with new clients. My advice would be to listen in your portfolio reviews, listen to your professors and other professionals that have seen it all before. They’ll let you know what’s unique about your work that will set you apart from the rest of the pack. Definitely take into account what they think you should be focusing on in your style, but don’t be afraid to experiment any time in your career.
6) Three words to describe your work.
Figurative, eclectic, personal!
Featured image courtesy of Tiffany Meyers
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