Tiffany Rysdale is an emerging artist with a passion for painting. She has also received a lot of accolades of late, she was the 2014 winner of the peoples choice award for the Emma Hack Prize, her work has been displayed in numerous exhibitions, including the Helpmann Academy Graduate exhibition and her latest exhibition Amalgamate at Urban Cow Gallery. She is also a keen street artist having painted murals at various locations in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. Her work stems from her myriad of hand crafted soft toys, which in turn become the subjects of her paintings. The toys take on a new life as they are placed into situations and environments. Often they can interact with the natural elements of the world around them and take the viewer on a journey of discovery. In a world where violence and destruction are often witnessed, Tiffany’s work is a refreshing trip into childhood wonderment. Her characters smile through their adventures and; like watching children in their first experiences of life, we as the viewer relate to them on a personal level. Tiffany’s work is something special, whether it be on the walls or in a gallery it is noticeable and speaks from the heart! I was able to ask her a few questions about her work.
Could you describe your background?
I was born in a village in Scotland called New Lanark, and lived over there until 1994. New Lanark is a small 18th Century village and a major Scottish tourist attraction and our house over looked the River Clyde, it was a really unique and unusual place to live.
I grew up around the scent of oil paints and turpentine. Both my mum and my grandfather are painters, my grandfather still teaches art over there.
How long have you been painting for?
As long as I can remember. I started attending art classes after school when I was in primary school… I was probably about 9 or 10. Art has always been encouraged; my teachers in primary and high school were very supportive.
Where did you study?
My BA at AC Arts in light square and I just finished my Honours at Adelaide Central School.
But I’ve learned a lot from workshops, Robin Eley’s masterclass and other short courses.
Why do you do what you do?
Art is and always has been a huge part of my life, my personality and being. It enriches my life. Resilience, flow, awe, connection and possibility are all part of the experience of creating and learning. It’s tied in with my happiness and value in life. Painting is my happy place!
What is essential to the work of an artist?
Love for what you do.
What jobs have you done other than being an Artist?
I currently work as a sales assistant at Typo (stationary store)
What is your most embarrassing moment?
Last year I built a larger than life-sized character which was an awkward thing to transport. I had many funny looks driving around with it as my passenger.
You create your artworks from your own handmade soft toys? Could you tell us a bit about them and how it came about?
My love of character design and toy culture led me to explore the construction of fictitious characters, which act as the main figurative element within my work. As with all character designers, they seem to be a playful extension of the artist’s personality. I like how characters operate and what it does to replace the main figurative element with something fictional instead of the usual human figure.
They came about in my studies in 2007/2008. I was painting a variety of characters in collaborative graffiti art at the time and I liked how people responded to characters on the street. So I found a way of crossing these different disciplines to work in a fine art / studio practice.
Where did your interest in soft toys come from? What do they represent to you?
I’m not necessarily interested in soft toys. I love character design and the production of toys as a form of merchandise is a by-product of that culture.
By creating my own ‘handmade soft toys’ I have my own working models to paint from. It’s a practical working method. They function purely as my models and allow me the flexibility to play as an artist in the process.
If you were to give one piece of advice to an aspiring artist what would it be?
Go to college!
You can see more of Tiffany Rysdale’s work on her website and Facebook page.