Tafy is an Afro-Latina portrait artist based in NYC and Savannah, Georgia.
Her unique and vibrant portraits caught our eye and we reached out to her to be part of our #privilegetax campaign.
At the age of thirteen, Tafy was diagnosed with type one diabetes, and was considered to be one of the older patients and did not have priority. She was given paper and a pen instead. Her days at the hospital were filled with drawing people as they passed by her room. This prompted her mother to put her in an art school. However, she was placed in a school where they only spoke Mandarin! There she learned to draw portraits and paint landscapes. Despite the language barrier, she realized how art in itself was a universal language and we are thrilled that she designed a t-shirt for our 2023 #privilegetax campaign.
"My design for this shirt was inspired by Girls inc. inspiring girls to be strong, smart, and bold. All qualities we possess and just need to realize within ourselves. I wanted to show the strength of a girl with a power stance. Vibrant colors signify how bold we are. And tulips represent love, but more specifically love for ourselves and our value, and to me, that’s smart- knowing a girl's worth. It was important for me to show a girl at a younger age because I want generations of girls to come to know that they are all of those things - strong, smart, and bold."
Who are your biggest artistic influences?
Bisa Butler, Kehinde Wiley, and Rembrandt. I admire the old masters as much as I do my contemporary heroes.
What made you decide to pursue a career in design?
As an artist, I'm always looking at different avenues to bring my work to different audiences. With design it allows me to create something outside of my norm and be shown to new sets of eyes.
What is your proudest moment to date?
Having an exhibit at a museum (The Jepson Center) highlighting voodoo in a positive light. Voodoo has always been associated with me because of my Haitian heritage ( and I know nothing about it! ). All people really kept talking about was the darkness of it all, and when I did research all I found was light and healing. I wanted to change the narrative the best way I knew how- and that was through my art.
What would be your dream project?
A mural. I really want to create something on a large scale and have it be public art. I love making art accessible and creating a mural would really bring that together for me.
Why do you think art is important to society?
Art provides creativity and expression. It allows us this insight into what we are really feeling. Invoking a reaction whether negative or positive. It gives us permission to be our true selves.
Advice for others looking to pursue a career in design?
Play to your strengths and don't lose yourself in the design. A lot of that comes from trust and belief in yourself. And those things will take you far.
How would your friends and family describe you in 3 emojis?
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