In the Studio with Tiffany Holmes
by Bridget Esangga
“I am an artist, a teacher, a dean, and a mother of a nine-year-old boy and six-year-old girl.”
Tiffany Holmes makes art in a 100-year-old frame house in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. She bought the building in 2007 and integrates her family life and art making on every level. Holmes, whose work focuses on sustainability, recently collected unwanted toys from fellow parents overwhelmed by the volume of plastic in their homes. Using the discarded toys, she created a data visualization based on real-world plant and animal ratios.
“Being able to make my work alongside my family allows me to feel present in their lives and imaginatively active.”
Holmes chose her workspace depending on the day’s task. Her children helped her color-sort the toys in the kitchen. To measure the space the toys would require in the exhibition, Holmes used the large dining table on the main floor. When she needed to concentrate, she retreated to the upstairs office. There is a practicality to the set-up, an economy she impresses upon her own children. “Think about what you actually need, “ she tells them.