Jan 30, 201702:43 PMCity Beat
Against the Grain
Rain dances down the window and a dreary sky blankets the area outside. Inside, artist Tiffany George greets me with a beaming smile and an exuberance most lack on a day like today.
Her studio at the Mechanicsburg art gallery, Metropolis Collective is decorated with flowers, string lights and the portraits of many cogent women.
“I've gotten a little bit of push back because my ladies-- some people interpret them as aggressive,” she says.
George questions why it needs to be one or the other. Her art always maintains a playful balance between embracing insecurities and the strongest attributes her subjects possess. Occasionally, George is so inspired by a person's personality that she re-imagines iconic roles with them in mind.
Referring to the Wonder Woman portrait on her wall, “The young lady who posed for that, she's such an amazing woman. She's gorgeous and strong and inspiring in her own right. And I was so excited to have met someone who embodied all of those things in an actual person in front of me, not just as a comic book character.”
Impressed with iconic female characters, and female world leaders, George shows me a few pieces of the legendary Princess Leia. George has carefully thought out the position and wardrobe of her Princess Leia pieces. Refusing to create her in the infamous gold bikini, Instead, George chooses her more powerful moments.
Drawn to Art Nouveau, George loves to play with lines. A technique she learned from admiring artist Alphonse Mucha and his juxtaposition of defining lines and soft coloring.
During her first few years of tattooing, the industry heavily embraced photo realism. A technique George learned that came with certain consequences.
“I hated lines,” she says.
Later on, she began exploring lines through painting and blending in some of her tattoo-esque style. George comments, “I don't think they have to be mutually exclusive.”
While George has developed her own niche and style now, that wasn't always the case. The tattoo artist was looking for an outlet to explore her creativity without the busy production schedule and the stifling that comes along with creating someone else's vision.
Unfortunately, the culture surrounding tattoos and tattoo artists, wasn't as receptive as George had hoped. “I would go home and paint in secret. ...There was totally a time in tattooing when painting wasn't cool. You weren't an artist. There was this real tug between, 'you're a tattooist, you can't do this. You can have one, you can have the other, but you can't be both,'” she says.
In hindsight, George offers, “Art just has a way of finding a way to happen.”
On February 3, George's solo show “Modern Muse” opens at Metropolis Collective in Mechanicsburg. The opening reception is from 6 to 10 p.m. To see more of George's work visit her website, www.tiffgeorge.com or on Instagram _tiffgeorge_.