Tia reminds us that putting in work matters whether that be raising the best cat or empowering women.
As a kid what do you remember doing all the time? Oddly, I remember playing/being alone most often as a child. I grew up on a farm until I was about 8 and I really only had my older brother around to play with, so I was most often found alone playing with horse toys or hanging out with animals. I've really always been an imaginative introvert - I'm sure my parents just thought I was weird.
Why do you call Des Moines home? Well, it became my home by default - growing up nearby (Norwalk), this was just the next step for an aimless adult. Why is it my home now?
Firstly, I've never had a reason to move away. I'm certain there are more interesting and inspiring and bustling places to live and I could have a very fulfilling life somewhere else, but I'm not the type to feel suffocated in Des Moines or move just because it's "not cool" to live in Iowa.
Secondly, in the past couple years, I've finally felt like I found a REAL appreciation for the city and a purpose in helping shape Des Moines as it grows.
"I've really always been an imaginative introvert."
What’s currently keeping you busy? I just finished a frantic couple of months finishing up my new art show (on display at Mars for the month of December). Now that I've finished that, I'm a little swamped with Christmas commissions and pet portraits. Also, the Des Moines Girl Gang is in the midst of a wonderful growth and transition time, so the core members of the group are keeping very busy working on all the behind-the-scenes stuff to make 2017 a goddamn great year!
Walk us from idea to final product when it comes to one of your paintings or illustrations. I think I'll never have an answer to this question that feels "good enough", or thoughtful enough. For my latest show, all the pieces were done with a very specific theme in mind so I always had a "vibe" in mind when I was coming up with ideas. What I'd usually do is go through my folder of animal stock images to see if anything seemed appealing. If nothing hit, then I'd usually look around my house for inspiration - some animal skull or design element that can be a jumping-off point. Once I find a focal point, I'll sketch it out, and the rest of the image usually comes together organically. From there it's just a lot of tedious inking and detailing.
What are you most proud of and why? Uh...well, I've had my cat Marla since she was a super tiny kitten, and everyone that meets her agrees that she's the best cat they've ever met. So I guess I'm pretty proud that I raised a really great cat.
"Just...make shit happen, don't just talk about it. "
From one maker to another what is your tip or advice? I usually get a little aggressive about this when I'm in group meetings or brainstorm sessions, but my best advice is to GODDAMN. DO. IT. I hear amazing ideas from people every day - things they consider pipe dreams or just hypothetical cool ideas, and very few people understand the privileged position we are in right now.
In Des Moines, at this moment, YOU CAN LITERALLY MAKE ANYTHING HAPPEN. One year ago, I had a drunken idea to have an all-female art show, and that idea has grown into a 2,000+ member strong organization. Anyone can pick up a new hobby and learn it, anyone can make an art show happen, anyone can make a concert happen, anyone can build their idea from the ground up. Des Moines is FULL of people right now who want to help, who know the right people and will be thrilled to facilitate and offer ideas and solutions. Just...make shit happen, don't just talk about it.
Who is someone you admire that others may know in the Des Moines area and why do admire them? Ah, jeez. This is a currently ENDLESS list. The more people and artists that I get to know in Des Moines, the more this list grows. Honestly, I haven't met a single creator in the city that I DON'T admire. I guess that I get extra swoon-y over the folks that take DSM by the balls and stay here to help make the city more interesting by opening new restaurants and stores and brands and workspaces and groups and collectives. I dunno, if you guys want me to make a list, I can try, but it would be so long. SO. LONG.
Walk us through your typical weekend? This question really makes me nervous because I'm SUCH a house person. If I were to break it down to the *most* common weekend, it would consist of a couple days of me sitting at home under an electric blanket, re-watching my favorite 3 NBC sitcoms on Netflix, and working on art or commissions. Maybe once a weekend I'll have an event or two and I'll dress up and go out, and after those weekends, sometimes I'll spend Sunday nursing a hangover.
Convince us to visit one of your favorite places in the Des Moines area. Ok, so, several years ago I remember going into the Lift once or twice and reaching my peak social anxiety because there was this super cool group of people who were recognized and well-known and they always hung out at the Lift and literally nothing was more intimidating to me at that time.
Fast forward, and I'm slowly realizing that I *might* be in that group now, which feels a little super wacky. It just feels amazing to know bartenders at a place, and pretty much will always run into several cool people you know, and just always have a place that is default when nobody wants to make a decision on where to go. No matter when you go, you'll 100% always see amazing art on the walls, and I'd say there's no better place in DSM to make connections with local creatives. The drinks are always consistent, and the beer is always cold, and there are goddamn good deals throughout the week, and the music is always on point. Plus, it's always dark enough in there that you won't feel weird on a first date.
"We have the opportunity to literally shape the art scene of a city on the rise."
If you could grant the Des Moines one wish what would it be and why? We have the opportunity to literally shape the art scene of a city on the rise. We need people who want to step up and put themselves out there and get things done, and make themselves vulnerable with new ideas and take a chance.
My one wish for Des Moines is that we, the local creators and makers and do-ers don't squander this chance. Cities don't get this opportunity very often.