City College artist Tim Tiff brings home top prize
Originally published in the Nov. 22, 2011 print edition of the Sac City Express
A City College student’s art took best of show at the Students with Disabilities Art Show held at Folsom Lake College Oct. 27 and presented by Disabled Students Programs and Services.
Tim Tiff, 51, is an art student at City College who entered the art show for the first time this year. Tiff’s best of show award was based on all six of his submitted pieces of artwork, for which he received a $300 scholarship.
“I’m thrilled,” Tiff said. “I’m actually surprised, really. It’s kind of like if you have a wife that gave birth. I mean, what do you say? I’m kind of like speechless right now, which is unusual for me. I’m very thrilled. I think my instructors will be very happy for me, too.”
Tiff said he was going to enter last year’s show, but something came up and he didn’t end up entering. He gave it a shot this year after being encouraged by his art professor, Anne Gregory.
“I think he’s smart and talented and that it was terrific that he won,” Gregory said. “I’m very happy that he won. He deserves it.”
DSPS coordinator for Folsom Lake Tim McHargue said that this year’s show was a huge success with over 160 pieces of art submitted.
“I don’t have exact numbers, but more people attended than I’ve ever seen,” McHargue said. “We were thrilled to showcase student art and to celebrate their accomplishments, and we look forward to next year’s event.”
McHargue said he was very happy with the overall outcome of the show and proud of the students who entered. He also said it was great to see so many people come to the show.
“It was the biggest and best show so far,” McHargue said. “It was a wonderful evening.”
Gregory said she encouraged Tiff to enter the art show after she saw him downtown one day and approached him.
“For a lot of younger students, their work is more shallow, but his work is very deep,” Gregory said. “Not only that, he worked hard to make the medium work for him, so he could say what he wanted to say with his work. I thought his work turned out to be beautiful, so I wanted to encourage him [to enter].”
Tiff said he got into doing art as a way to express himself after he was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from his time in the military. In addition, Tiff became an amputee after he collided with a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike in Oak Park.
“I tried to save the leg for three years and nearly died on the operating table,” Tiff said. “After all the surgeries, when they told me they would have to take the leg off, I decided I would rethink my life and make some changes and not let this hold me back. So I thought I’d get more into artwork, which has been very helpful to me emotionally.”
Tiff said that artwork is an outlet for him to get rid of the anger and frustration that is caused by the depression he deals with due to his PTSD.
Tiff said right now he’s just a beginner, but he puts a high level of effort into his art. The City College campus is full of great students, teachers and opportunities to express himself, he said, which makes him feel like a kid again.
Though Tiff is undecided about his major, he said he one day wants to do something with his art. He’d also like to become an English literature teacher, he said, and is interested in political science. He feels that art is a good analogy to the current Occupy movement of which he’s a big supporter.
“If [young people] don’t [make changes now], then you’re going to miss out on a lot of things. And that’s how I see art, too,” Tiff said. “It’s a tool to make changes.”
Tiff said he wants to encourage students to keep working toward their dreams and pushing to do the best they can at what they are passionate about. “Get into life and get into art because they all combine into one,” Tiff said, “whatever the art may be for you.”
Gregory said Tiff is a great artist and that he can do anything he wants in the world of art.
“I’m very impressed by his courage, ability and depth of spirit which he expresses in his artwork,” Gregory said. “Tim doesn’t have to exhibit only in disability shows. He belongs to the wide world of artists in history and today.”
This article appeared on the cover of the Nov. 22, 2011 print issue of the Sac City Express. It was the first cover story I had published in the Express.
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