We had the good fortune of connecting with Christine “Tiny” Irizarry and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Christine “Tiny”, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Although risks can be incredibly scary, they often allow us to reach new heights, open more doors for ourselves, and help us as humans understand that we are capable of so much if we just give ourselves a platform to be great. When I think about risk it is incredibly necessary in order to grow.

I have so much to say with my artwork. Even when it’s been intimidating to share, I know that someone out there is waiting to see it, be healed by it, or need it in their current space. I have taken risks with applying to calls for art that I wasn’t sure my work could stand up alongside. This type of risk and putting the worry behind myself led me to a piece of art being on display in NY Times Square. Risks have continued to benefit me and keep me evolving professionally and artistically.

When I first started releasing my 3D reactive series it was new for onlookers and I was nervous to chat with people. Over time the repeated conversations have allowed me to become more comfortable and relaxed in social settings and this series will really be a pivotal moment in my art journey that I will refer to often.

I am generally pretty introverted but I must be willing to share and step out of comfort zones to allow people to see me and my creations. If I stay hidden and quiet how do I expect others to see and appreciate my artwork? I have purposely put myself into situations within the last two years where I am painting/creating in front of onlookers at events. I have fallen in love with the fear it brings, because the experience itself is incredibly rewarding.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve always envisioned myself as an artist through and through. At a young age I began creating thought provoking works. I was awarded first place during my first art show in second grade which was about world peace. Over the last several years I’ve really started to build my brand and allow people to see more of me.

Most people ask me how I got the nickname Tiny. I was adopted under the age of two and as a newborn I could be rocked to sleep in one hand. The nickname never faded and so you will always see my art signed as “Tiny”. My signature alone is bold and it is because I am proud of what I create.

In my lifetime I have had to overcome many adversities and creating is therapeutic for the younger me, the current me, and the future me to speak out in my art. If I give the viewer pause at any time it makes me light up with joy. I’ve had viewers admire my work and suddenly its as if we understand one another because we’ve been able to connect through a story I told in a particular piece just by using movement, color, and occasional words. My life is art.

I am a college drop out, and I don’t have that art degree that some galleries are looking for. Gatekeeping in the community is real but us art outcasts of the world have very raw and true stories and put us in a position to create magical and meaningful artwork that can raise an eyebrow, start a discussion, and unite people.

Although the lack of a degree is a setback and may keep my needle moving a little slower it doesn’t diminish the quality of work I produce. Hard work is never easy. I create goals which usually begin with a loose plan I draft at the beginning of each year then I get in there and tackle it. Getting intimidated and putting a pause on my artwork is never an option for me because I don’t want to lose any momentum. I work a full time job as a project manager and I am a full time artist by night time. Eventually my plan is to transition into a full time artist so that I can put 100% focus on what I was put on this rock to do.

I want people to know that the art I’m putting on walls is part of a story and that I am thankful they are watching this story unfold. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that I spent too many years hiding myself and my work from the world.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would definitely encourage them to plan a week where Art Battle Dallas is happening and fairs in and around the city. We’d go to Lucky’s Cafe at least once because CHICKEN AND WAFFLE. We’d stop by the local dog park with the dogs and let them play while we plot out a couple of the days.

We both love good photos so we’d find some great places to take pictures of the skyline and grab some photo ops in Deep Ellum. We’d have an afternoon of fun in Bishop Arts planned and go thrifting in Dolly Python.

We wouldn’t be able to let the visit go without the obligatory Dallas scooter ride experience and catching a theatre show would be a must. We’d pop over to Plush gallery and Deep Ellum Art co to see what the local artists are up to. For one day we will spend most of it walking everywhere and shopping because why not!? Rodeo Goat burger would be there to save us after we’ve worn ourselves out. There is so much to see and do!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Fresh out of high-school I enrolled in a community college where I met my incredibly talented Art Professor Tom Sale in 2001. The encouragement I have received from Tom over the years has been incredibly meaningful. Tom is not only a wonderful friend, artist, and mentor; Tom is also a pillar of the art community. Tom is selfless and gives so much of himself to others by volunteering for local non-profits and coordinating artistic involvement in nearby cities. He lends a helping hand often. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I would have near the solid foundation as I do now.

Website: tinyirizarryartwork.com

Instagram: tiny.irizarry.art

Facebook: www.facebook.com/vinovingogh

Image Credits
Art Battle Dallas, Jodi Ortiz, Rebecca Blakemore, Mary Rollins Thomas

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.