Tiffany Budzisz is an artist, freelance illustrator, and graphic designer in Front Royal, Virginia. Along with her husband, Mike (an amazingly talented artist in his own right), Tiffany is working on opening an art studio and gallery called Art In the Valley. There you will find works from local artists, scheduled classes, and even her own beautiful works on display.
It’s those beautiful works, posted on her Instagram page, that first caught my attention. When I read about her and her husband’s intention to open the gallery, I knew I needed to include her in the WORK Folks’ group. Tiffany is the latest individual to demonstrate the beautiful combination of raw talent, hard work, and diligence that helps transform a passion into an honest day’s work. I’m so fortunate that she was kind enough to answer a few questions for WORK Folks.
1 - How long you've been doing this particular work?
I started working professionally in the art and design field in 2000, right after graduating from VCU’s Communication Arts & Design program. 17 years! My first job was as a graphic artist for Richmond Magazine, I did a lot of illustrations for them as well.
2 - How did you got started/interested in this field?
I’ve always loved art. I started early in life. At age 2 I was painting ceramics in my mom’s paint-your-own ceramics studio. My mom always encouraged me with my art. (Thanks Mom!) When I was in elementary school, my uncle and I started painting along with Bob Ross on PBS. I had a set of Bob Ross brand oil paints and brushes. I went to VCU for college and had many wonderful professors. In one of Chuck Scalin’s illustration classes, we worked on dimensional illustration projects and that’s how I was introduced to paper sculpture. (Thanks Prof. Scalin!)
3 - Are there any particular tools/ inspiration that help you continue to do this to the high standards/quality you insist upon?
I use archival quality materials in all of my paper sculptures. I particularly love Canson Mi-Tientes and Fabriano papers, as they are acid-free, come in a wide range of colors, and hold their shape well once curved and “sculpted.” I also use an archival bookbinding glue and acid-free foam core to create the layers and dimension you see in my work. I prefer X-Acto brand blades for cutting. They are more expensive, but I’ve found that the generic brands don’t have a super sharp point and don’t cut as well. I go through a lot of blades.
4 - Is there someone in particular that inspires you now or inspired you when you started?
There have been many inspirational people in my life. All of my amazing professors at VCU, creative directors that supported me as a designer and illustrator, and colleagues who worked long hours with me when deadlines were looming. Most of all though, while growing up my Mom inspired me. She worked hard to support me, she always encouraged me to do well in school and continue studying art. And today, my two young daughters inspire me, to be the best person I can be, as a role model for them, and to support them on their journey in life.
5 - Can you describe your work ethic? Short-cuts you will not take, things you won't give in on, even if it meant more business, money, etc.?
I work very hard, I’m kind of a perfectionist about my art and I’m always trying to push myself further with each new piece I create. I will work late hours, missing a deadline is not an option unless it’s an emergency situation. I’ve had to turn down freelance work at times when I’m too busy. I don’t want to take too many jobs, rush them, and put low-quality work out there. That doesn’t benefit me or the client.
6 - Any advice to individuals starting out in a similar field?
Work on your art, sketch, daydream, read good fiction. Get on social media and share your work, follow other artists who inspire you and network with them, ask a lot of questions. Get used to receiving critiques of your work, learn to compromise based on your client’s needs. Working for an agency is a great way to get started and meet good creative mentors. Take some business classes, or read business books, if you want to start your own art or illustration business in the future.
Check out some of her beautiful work below. You can follow Tiffany on social media: Instagram @tbudzi and Facebook @tiffanysatelier, or follow the art gallery She and Mike are opening soon: @artvalleyva on Instagram and @ArtintheValleyVA on Facebook.