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The life and times of Tiffanie Anderson: from celebrity to homelessness to celebrity artist

The former singer with Girlicious is all about painting for entertainers and celebrities now

She’s been called “The Pretty Artist.” Professional art creator and painter Tiffanie Anderson knows the benefit of hard work, dedication and the power of putting blood, sweat and tears into a labor of love. She spent years painting entertainers and athletes and she continues to broaden her horizons by developing new ways to create art for the famous.

The 28-year-old went from being in the popular girls group Girlicious (formed by Robin Antin of the Pussycat Dolls) when she was just 21 to a highly-regarded artist, painting for athletes such as boxer Floyd Mayweather to actor and singer Ray J — Anderson’s first celebrity client.

“I found out that Ray J was going to be somewhere,” Anderson said of presenting her art to him. “I just knew he was going to be at this random location downtown, filming some show. I knew he was going to be there in two hours. So I was like, OK — two hours to paint Ray J. So, I painted Ray J, and then I pulled up on him on the street. He was so nice. I was like, I have something for you. I was nobody at the time, I had no power, he was, like, who are you? You should be more popular. So, then he posted it on his Instagram and then I got a lot of followers from that. And then, he hired me twice after that just for some other stuff. He was my first break into the public. And he was so sweet about it. I will always give him that credit.”

The self-taught artist and Los Angeles native even lived out of her car during the critical time of switching from touring the country as a pop artist to delving into the world of visual art.

As one of the rising stars in the art community, she’s painted for celebrities such as The Weeknd, Matt Kemp, Jason Derulo, Belly, Amber Rose, Dr. Dre, The Roots, Carlos Boozer, Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa.

When she was in Girlicious, she painted for Will.i.am and he traded a beat for it.

She’s painted the whole defensive line of the Los Angeles Chargers, Ole Miss standout defensive end Marcus Tillman, Kobe Bryant and others.

The Undefeated spoke to Anderson about her journey.

When did you first start singing?

Anderson: I was singing since I was a little kid. In my mind I always knew. I am going to be a pop star. You could not tell me I wasn’t going to be a pop star. From a little kid, I had zero other aspirations besides being a signer. So funny that I even ended up doing what I do now.

How did you develop into a visual artist?

I was in Girlicious, and it was extremely stressful. It was very, very stressful. The music industry is very crooked. So, I was superstressed out. Something that I can do that will take my attention for a couple of hours, that isn’t about music. I was like, maybe I’ll start drawing again, I haven’t drawn since elementary school. I was 20. I painted Barack Obama, because he was running for president at the time.

Why art?

Because I feel like you have one life to live, from what I know. You never know. Maybe there’s such thing as reincarnation. I don’t know, but from what I know, you have one life to live and I just don’t think God put us on the earth to be working at Walmart. I just feel like I have a destiny and I feel my destiny is art and I have to stick to that, because if I don’t stick to that, then I won’t live out my life to full potential.

How did the experience of living out of your car shape you?

I think there’s a lot of power in struggle. I don’t have anything to fall back on. I don’t have dual options, but to succeed at what I’m doing. If I don’t make it, I’ll be back in my car. So, I think going through that struggle motivates me to keep moving forward.

What I do is difficult, it’s physically difficult. I kind of do hard labor every day. It’s hard, No. 1. And then, No. 2, the devil gets in my mind sometimes. Going through the hard times I went through, I could tell other people with full confidence, hey, if you work hard, doing whatever it is you want to do, you have no choice but to succeed. I use myself as an example.

What’s your favorite thing that you’ve ever created?

More recently I’ve started this new style. I used to use glass, but now I’m starting to use crystal and all these different sparkly things. I’m pretty excited about it. Every time I walk into the studio, I’m kind of spellbound by it, and I think it’s so pretty.

What are you trying to communicate through your art?

It’s really simple. I know it’s human nature for people to be attracted to things that are A, large and glittery and shiny. People love that, so I think I just like to kind of get people where they’re spellbound by the materials I use more so than actually what the image is.

What creative medium would you love to pursue that you haven’t yet?

I really want to do art with spikes. The spikes actually have screws on the back, so I would have to screw each one in. I would have to drill each one in, but I think it would make for really cool art.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The best piece of advice I’ve ever received was: Worry about your art. If you focus on your art, the money will come later, so focus on what you’re passionate about and don’t worry about the money, because that is inevitable. If you’re focusing on your craft, the money is inevitable. It’s going to come anyway. Don’t think about the money, just think about the art. That’s what also helped me make tough decisions in the beginning of my career when I would have to choose between food or canvas.

What’s been your most embarrassing moment?

I had a client that just looked so creepy. He was so creepy-looking. He just looked a serial killer. I don’t know why, but he just did and then I texted my friend, ‘Oh my god, this guy looks a serial killer,’ but I accidentally texted it to him. He said, ‘Did you mean to send that to me?’

What do you dislike most about the art world?

I hate how political it is. It’s very political. I feel like I’m a lot better than a lot of people who are very, very, very successful, but because the politics say that they’re good, they’re good. They could do a squiggly line and a little two drops and then, ‘Wow, that’s art.’ I mean, there’s some art that literally is blank, it looks like a dot, and then, ‘Wow.’ To me, I think that’s the most frustrating.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you.

There’s an artist in L.A., his name is Retna. His art is all over the city and so you think you don’t know how he is and then I’ll show you his art, and you’ll be, ‘Oh, damn, I know who that is. I’ve seen his art everywhere.’ He’s dope. I messaged him on Instagram and I said, ‘I would love to come to your studio and work for you. I’ll do it for free. I’ll wipe your sweat.’ He let me come to work for him for one day and I mean, he just knocked out three masterpieces in one day.

What’s been the hardest part of your journey?

The hardest part of my journey is I have to do a lot of mental maintenance on myself because I’m always extremely overwhelmed and overworked and I have a lot of blessings, but with a lot of blessings comes a lot of burdens. I have a lot on my plate all the time, so I’m always having to mentally talk to myself or go through my things that I do to get myself mentally OK.

I think that’s the hardest part. I have a lot of work on my plate and what I do is very physical. It also makes me sick too. A lot of the chemicals I use I’m allergic to, so that’s another thing.

Kelley Evans is a digital producer at Andscape. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic Southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.