C&AL: How did you become an artist?
Tiffany Alfonseca: I have been drawing and painting since I was three years old. My mother always wanted me to be an artist. She is a very creative woman and she loves colors and glitter. I guess I brought out the artistic side in her. My mother doesn’t draw or paint herself, but art has always been present in everything she does, for example in her cooking or in the decoration of the house. This apartment has always been full of colors and objects everywhere; it has a lot of personality.
I studied fashion design at the High School of Fashion Industries in New York and, after that, spent two years at the Fashion Institute of Technology. But the program was very focused on business and I was looking for something that would stimulate my more artistic side. In the end, I graduated from the School of Visual Arts, having found a space that made me grow as an artist.
C&AL: In your work as an artist, what are the topics you are interested in exploring?
TA: It’s very important for me to incorporate Afro-Latino culture into my work. Growing up, I was never taught about it, and I didn’t see it represented in paintings or drawings. I want to develop an artistic body of work with the next generations in mind and provide them with something where they can see themselves, and that they can relate to. The problem is that Latinos and Afro-Latinos in the United States grew up learning about American art and especially white art. I never learned anything about Black art or Latino art, until a couple of years ago. I think this – highlighting Afro-Latino culture, which is still widely underrepresented – has been the driving force behind my work.