We had the good fortune of connecting with Tiffany Matheson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tiffany, what role has risk played in your life or career?
While there are different kinds of risk, I find calculated risk to be an essential part of achievement. Without risk there is no change and change is a healthy, invigorating facet to being alive. I have taken many risks in my life, perhaps most notably by being willing to start over; I left a successful career in international business to return to school with the intent of being a physician and graduated with a degree in Biology only to decide to pursue a career as an artist instead. In the studio I encounter risk constantly with each new method or material I experiment with; at times I achieve the desired outcome immediately and other times I learn ways of interpreting and utilizing unexpected results. My attitude toward risk can be summed up in Albert Einstein’s quote “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” May we all have the courage to risk trying new things.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The road that brought me to where I am today was full of hills and valleys, twists and turns, with more challenges and rewards to come. Life holds some form of difficulty for all of us, and I’m not sure that many people could honestly describe their journey as easy. The sooner we accept the variety and changes that life holds instead of grasping at the temporary, the sooner we can begin to experience living; however, this is easier said than done and requires lifelong dedication. As an obsessive planner, I find it difficult to stay rooted in the present instead of projecting into the future, and I am constantly reminding myself to take a deep breath and be where I am in that moment. The thing that excites me most about my practice is that, while I do use and build on foundational skills, I am always incorporating something unfamiliar which keeps things fresh and invigorating. I’m not locked into any particular media which allows my creativity to flow with great breadth and range, and I am constantly learning. My educational background as a scientist means I approach art making from a different perspective than those with formal art training. I see art as a means to experiment, discover, and explore; a way to self-express, to interface with the world, and to play. It is my hope that others may have a similar experience while viewing my work. A few upcoming projects I’m looking forward to include a meditative video piece for Night Lights Denver, a Monet inspired make-at-home project for the Denver Art Museum’s new Art at Hand program, an environmentally conscious park installation for the LandMark exhibit, a series of haute couture, light-up flower women for the Museum of Outdoor Art’s reopening of Marjorie Park at Fiddlers Green, and a solo exhibition at Pirate: Contemporary Art that is currently slated for mid-June. I’m most active socially on Instagram stories, if you want to stay in the know on how things are progressing.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
A large part of the joy of Colorado is the beauty of our outdoors, and there are several national parks that would be high on the list, such as Mesa Verde and the Great Sand Dunes, or taking a hike on any of our Rocky Mountain trails. Other must do items, for which there are many choices, are touring local breweries, a hot springs soak, and attending an event at Red Rocks. For a good day trip hit up the Maté Factor in Manitou Springs for an energizing grassy drink in a treehouse setting served by a member of the Twelve Tribes religious organization (something like a hippie/Mennonite mash up) before going on a scavenger hunt to find and taste the water from the eight different mineral springs that are the municipalities namesake. It’s fun to walk the alleys in RiNo to take in the constantly evolving street art, and there are many food and drink options; sadly, one of my favorite area restaurants, Bijou’s Little Curry Shop, has recently closed and will be missed. However, my favorite breakfast spot, Rise and Shine, has multiple open locations serving up the best biscuits in town – get the buttermilk with egg, cheese and hash browns – trust. Visiting our multiple art museums, galleries and districts all go without saying, and a trip to the International Church of Cannabis provides a tasteful way for out-of-town quests to encounter the often cliché culture while experiencing the amazing murals of Okuda San Miguel. A walk through the Botanic Gardens is always a win, and to top it all off a trip to Denver would not be complete without a visit to Casa Bonita which is an essential piece of local americana.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to thank Rian Kerrane for agreeing to have me in her art classes despite the fact that I was primarily studying in the sciences; her willingness to include me and the freedom to explore and experiment she allows for in her classes set me on the path I currently follow. Rian in turn connected me with the Museum of Outdoor Arts, where I met Tim Vacca and the rest of the MOA family who proved instrumental in providing me opportunities to learn and grow as an artist in a professional setting while I was still a novice, and which is an ongoing relationship that I cherish. I also want to thank my dear friends, Nicole Banowetz, for always being willing to answer my many curious questions and for bringing her wealth of knowledge and experience to our conversations, and Scottie Burgess for being my ‘art twin’, a mutual sounding board, and a constant source of support. There are so many others in the creative community who have been and still are a part of my journey, and I am grateful for you all.
Heather Longway, Richard Romero, Salim Khoury, and Drew Austin and Tiffany Matheson