We had the good fortune of connecting with Tiffany Wolf Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tiffany Wolf, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
My work life balance used to consist of museum work and personal art practice work. When I got married there was a shift. And another shift when I became a mother. Since my museum job requires a lot of creativity, it can be difficult to garner additional energy to produce work in my studio. It’s just important to keep my expectations for myself realistic. It’s all about priorities.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve had some incredible opportunities. I was a member of 500X, a large artist coop in Dallas. And a founder and collaborator with the Fort Worth based artist collective, HOMECOMING! Committee. I currently share studio space with a handful of artists that are much more prolific than I. Which is a good place to be. It’s kind of like buying the smallest house on the best block. It’s motivating to see how productive everyone is around me and hopefully a little shine will rub off on me.
When I was in grad school, James Sullivan asked if I was a “servant to my space”. And I think that is still applicable to the way I work. I like to consider where the works are living. Sometimes even making work that directly responds to the character of a space. We all want to live with art. So, how does the work change when you think about how the works lives in its environment. Thinking like that definitely makes the white box of the gallery seem pretty limited. I like the history of objects and interior spaces.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We would definitely hit up the Fort Worth museums. Whether she likes it or not! A quick visit to the studio, where I made my bridesmaid dress from her wedding into a piece of art work years ago. We would have to eat an El Campeon burrito and drink a margarita at Salsa Limón. With extra habanero sauce! We would also have to get some BBQ from Heim, a smokey cocktail on the river at the Woodshed Smokehouse and some coffee from Ampersand. I’m thinking specifically of my high school best friend and, knowing her, we would HAVE to hit up ALL the local coffee shops. Martin House Brewery is in my neighborhood on the eastside of Fort Worth, due to COVID, it’s been AGES since we’ve been there for open house. That would definitely be a priority. And I love to cook! So, we would have to do a bit of shopping to make the fanciest dishes we can find and stream some dumb shows in the background. And a day trip or two over to Dallas to visit friends, girls night at a boutique hotel and do some shopping and of course, more museums.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents were the first in my support system. I was always a maker. They let me have full control of the hammer and glue gun at an early age. They didn’t bat an eye when I switched majors my junior year in college from interior design to fine arts. I also was lucky to have a great high school art teacher, Mr. French. I took every class he offered. And even though I wasn’t great at everything, Mr. French’s art room was a second home for all of my teenage awkwardness. My undergrad support system was incredible. Big shout outs to Cam Schoepp, Margaret Meehan, Dick Lane and the late Ron Watson. My entire undergrad experience was shaped by phenomenal professors. Cam Schoepp knew that a little fear was a good motivating factor for me. He gave me enough water to either drown myself or learn to swim. My graduate student experience was terrifying for my introverted young self. I had picked up momentum at the end of undergrad and wanted to power through and tackle my masters. I’m glad I did. I tapped into that motivating fear and I was able to meet and endure both the criticism and support of some incredible artists, including but not limited to; James Sullivan, Peter Beasecker, Noah Simblist and Lily Hanson. I think I made my best work at that time in my life. I continue to be surrounded by an incredible support system of family, artists (I have some amazing studio mates) and my fellow museum educators. Special shout out to my dreamy husband, Scott Smith, who endures my erratic schedule and my constant need to be making.