FEATURED ARTIST | NOVEMBER 2013
Bio: Tiffany McAnarney isn’t only a person with a hard-to-pronounce last name (mack-an-arn-ee), she’s a craftsman of — and a person forever dedicated to — watercolor painting, pour-over coffee, and meaningful friendships. Although she hails from Middle-of-Nowhere, Oklahoma (not an exaggeration), she currently lives (and loves) her life in Oak Cliff. Or, for some, the portion of town known as the part of Dallas that isn't like the rest of Dallas.
Favorite Dallas hangout: Davis Street Espresso
AHD: Some folks discover their passion late in life. You were practically born doodling. Tell us about your artistic beginnings, and how they led you to earn a BFA in Studio Art and land a position at WELD.
TM: I always had an incredible passion for art, but was definitely not born with the skills to be an artist. Art teachers always tried to push me to be a photographer because I had a good eye for composition and color, but no follow-through with my hands on paper. When I got to college, I was addicted to drawing classes and working in coffee shops. When a professor asked me why someone, like me, without any clear talent would choose Studio Art as their major, I told him that I deeply believed that if you have enough passion for something, then learning how to master it would simply be a technicality.
After I graduated, I moved down to Dallas (where I knew only my aunt) and started working in coffee shops. I quickly made my rounds through that circuit and met an incredible amount of talented folks.
When WELD was in its infancy, I was introduced to Austin Mann (the founder), to help establish a coffee program. We quickly became friends, and within weeks I was helping him launch the space.
AHD: In your series Life Beyond Site you juxtapose photorealistic drawing with realms and dimensions beyond mere physicality. What is it about those other worlds that attract you?
TM: My grandfather was a physicist, and so I was always obsessed with Quantum Mechanics, which to me feels like the scientific explanation of a spiritual realm. It comes down to the belief that life is more than what can be seen with our eyes or felt on our skin. It’s possible to exist in more than one reality at the same time, and that our lives resonate further than the years written in our wrinkles.
AHD: You're working on a new series of paintings with brilliant, kinetic colors, but you also capture life's truths through black ink and paper via doodling. How are the two mediums different, and why does each resonate so well with you?
TM: They are more acts of compulsion rather than well-calculated artist endeavors. If I’m not being commissioned, critiqued, or bought, it is easier to create work that reflects who I truly am as a person. Not as an artist, an idealist, or a creator; but as a deeply flawed human being just trying to thrive. It’s been an important practice as I move onward in my profession.
AHD: You refer to your position at WELD as "professional friend". What is a facilities manager, and what do you do when you're not repainting the cyclorama for the 81st time?
TM: It’s interesting to try to explain to people what I do day-to-day at WELD, or even what WELD is in general. It’s so much more than just a workspace, and I do much more than hang out with people. Basically, we are trying to create a culture of community, and I personally do whatever is necessary to accomplish that. From emailing to pouring double Chemex, helping prep for productions, connecting members to each other and to job opportunities, all the way to restocking the fridge or sitting in on test shoots.
AHD: Working from home sounds like fun, but WELDers experience the many benefits of creative co-working (not to mention free coffee and beer). How do you go about creating the sense of community your members seek, and how do you try to inspire them?
TM: We try to create a space that evens the playing field. No matter where you are in your professional walk, there is always someone you can learn from, someone you can give advice to, or just a new friend to go to lunch with. By providing space with great amenities, it’s difficult to walk into WELD without feeling inspired. If anything, I talk members through their piles of ideas and try to help them rationalize which ones to breathe life into.
AHD: Through your own studio work, your time at WELD, your Life in Deep Ellum sightings and more, you're as plugged into the local creative community as anyone. What do you see happening with Dallas creative folk that others might miss, and how can AHD help to strengthen that community for the common good?
TM: I don’t know about you, but it seems like Dallas has been on the up and up for the past two years. It’s such an amazing place to be right now. Almost as if we are living in a time people will reflect back on and say, “what a time to have lived in Dallas.”
I think the best thing we can all do moving forward is to continue to break down the barriers of this idea of competition. I know I feel it so often as an artist…that I’m not as talented as someone else, and my skills are not up to par...but isn’t that the beauty of community? No two people are ever exactly the same. My hope is that we continue to strive towards being unique while maintaining camaraderie.
AHD: When might we find an original song to accompany the existing awesomeness on your website?
TM: Haha. I’m not sure I will ever post any songs. There are quite a few areas in life where I have learned to be vulnerable, but I have not yet reached that level of insanity. For now, I will reserve my silly little love songs for quiet evenings with friends.
AHD: What's next on your calendar? Where can we go learn more about your work and musings? And how can we apply to join the WELD creative community?
TM: We are hosting our annual WELD Show on December 13th, which consists of the cream of the crop work by WELDERs in 2013. It’s currently being curated by an editor at National Geographic, so you’ll just have to stop by the show to see if any of my work made it in!
Since we try not to pack people in like sardines, we do have a curation process with membership. We are not always able to take on new members, but we are always open to expanding our community. Stay connected with Creative Labs, Events, meetups, and happy hours by checking out our website (weld.co) and Facebook page