Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) changed its name to Re:wild in 2021
Tiffany Bozic has donated a painting to be auctioned at our 2018 Global Wildlife Conservation benefit at Christie’s at Rockefeller Center in New York City. We will use these funds to purchase and preserve land from one of the last unprotected cloud forests in the Americas.
Tiffany’s paintings and sketches layer highly emotional, surreal metaphorical themes onto traditional nature illustrations. She paints in acrylics on maple panels, using a complex process of masking and staining so the natural grain can collaborate with each composition. Her work is inspired both by her extensive travels and the research collection at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, where she was an artist in residence.
We caught up with Tiffany to discuss the connection between art and nature.
Q: How does nature inspire your work and influence your creative process?
A: I have a deep love of and fascination with nature. I first began my intimate view of the natural world in my formative years running around wild on a goat farm in Arkansas. I drew and painted what I saw up close: the cycle of life; the birth and death of the animals around me. As an adult, I’ve had the great fortune to travel to very remote corners of the Earth (including the Galapagos, Namibia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea) on scientific expeditions alongside my biologist husband.
I have authentic experiences with most of the creatures I paint by photographing them, studying them in their natural setting and researching them. I also paint on wood so each painting is a signature of nature: a unique marker of sunshine and water that formed the grain of maple wood panels. My paintings explore universal commonalities between human beings and other living organisms, such as reproduction, diversity, emotion, evolution and the struggle for survival.
Q: What can your art teach people about the natural world?
A: I hope my curiosity is contagious! There is quite a bit of research that goes into most of my paintings. I carefully choose subjects to tell stories that can educate and inspire people to get outdoors more. If people discover all the amazingly wonderful things I see and love about nature, they may respect nature enough to fight to protect what remains of ecosystems and the diversity within. The more we understand about the natural world, the more we will understand about ourselves and the role we play as stewards on this planet.
Q: How do you feel about your work helping to conserve a tropical cloud forest?
A: It gives me goosebumps! I am so proud and honored to be involved with this project! I’m looking for opportunities like this one to connect my art with conservation, and to help make a positive impact on the world by protecting its diversity.
Q: Why do you paint on maple panels?
A: I’ve been painting nearly exclusively on wood for almost two decades for many reasons. First, I love that each panel of wood is unique, was alive and has history. In many of my works I allow the wood grain to show through and inform the composition. So in this way I’m essentially collaborating with nature. Also, because I use watered-down acrylic washes to essentially stain the wood, it takes on a beautiful texture and warm vibrancy after I have the paintings varnished.
The method I’ve developed is a very difficult, finicky process. Because the paint absorbs into the surface of the wood, I can’t erase any mistakes. Therefore, when mistakes inevitably occur, I have to find new ways to resolve the issues. But I love and respect each panel of wood I’m painting on, and want to do the best I can so I don’t waste it. My focus has always been on growth—we advance our practice when we challenge ourselves to do things that are new and difficult. It is fun to push myself outside my comfort zone and figure out the puzzles as I go. That’s the journey, and what it means to be alive!
Q: How do you choose which animals to depict in your work?
A: I am always looking for examples in nature to cast characters to tell a specific story. I often choose my subjects because I have personal experiences with them or they fascinate me. Other times they come to me through books or conversations with my community of biologists.
Q: Tough question: top five favorite animals?
A: I love so many different animals that it is really impossible for me to choose only five. If I had to choose, I would say my daughter is my favorite animal. Actually, humans in general are deeply fascinating creatures to me. Maybe I’ll start with just the animals I adore that I’ve seen on our property, like hummingbirds, Pileated Woodpeckers, Spotted Owls, bobcats, scorpions, spiders and foxes.
To learn more about Tiffany’s work and the other artists participating in the Global Wildlife Conservation benefit, see the private auction catalog.