Quality. Beauty. The quest for mastery. You can sense it—see, feel, and touch it.
I'm Tiffany DeEtte Shafto–founder and curator–and these are all things I look for in the artists I choose to represent.
You know the difference quality makes—the extra love and attention put into the creation and design of an object. It’s what makes the difference in luxury brand names and in your experience, whether it’s the roaring performance of a Ferrari or the thread count in your Egyptian cotton sheet.
The artists I work with do the same. Quality is important to me, and to them. They know the difference between a cheap canvas and one that will last for generations. They spend for the best paints, tools, and finishes. They create at the best of their abilities, take pride in their work, and it shows.
Beauty, while in the eye of the beholder, evokes positive emotions. Surrounding ourselves with beautiful things goes beyond luxury to necessity. Art turns our homes and offices into spaces that make us feel good. That’s a powerful affect.
I find myself drawn to artists who create beautiful works that evoke those positive emotions. Joyful, playful, serene—they all have their place in our hearts, homes, and workplaces.
Where quality and beauty lead the way, mastery evolves. And with contemporary art, you can be a part of it. Each sale, each commission, each new opportunity leads artists to a deeper level of mastery.
Mastery becomes evident in your experience of the art. The artist's passion, drive, and energy (or mana), is attached to each original work of art. You can feel it.
When you discover a work of art that speaks to you, it's a special moment of connection. Your joy is the very reason the artist was called to create the artwork.
Witnessing your joy and the evolution of an artist are a couple of my favorite things, so I also look for innovation—new materials, new techniques, new compositions—to share with you.
Plus I love artists who challenge themselves to work big. After all, your grand spaces deserve grand works of art.
Working closely with local established and emerging artists who are so passionate and focused on their mastery, has shifted how I see the world. Through their eyes and processes, my own are opened to wonders I never knew existed. It’s pure joy, which ignited my passion for sharing it with you in a new and improved way.
Always a collector, a couple of careers have gotten me where I am now.
With a BA in Interior Design and as a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers, I enjoyed working with clients in the San Francisco Bay Area—turning their multi-million dollar houses into homes. An appreciation for a broad and diverse range of styles meant my clients personal tastes were always reflected in the finished space. But thanks to my blend of skills, I ended up doing more and more construction management and less of the fun, creative, puzzle-solving design work.
When we made the leap to Hawaii in 2004, I had no idea I’d end up in the wood shop with my husband—a dream he’d always held. It took a couple of years, but sure enough, that appreciation for hands-on and hand-made (and my jr. high wood shop class) set me on a new course. I spent eight years as an award-winning woodworker, working collaboratively with my husband, Tim. That experience gave me unprecedented access to our wood art community. (Fortunately, Tim is still creating and inspiring me every day.)
Visiting studios, and seeing and understanding the creative process behind the work, inspired me to create a coffee table book to document these amazing people—their works and stories. In 2009, I co-authored, produced, and published the award-winning coffee table book, Contemporary Hawaii Woodworkers; the Wood, the Art; the Aloha, thanks to the beautiful story-telling/writing of Lynda McDaniel.
That book, along with all my volunteer work for local arts non-profits (past president of the Hawaii Wood Guild & Hawaii Craftsmen, former administrator & secretary of Hawaii Artist Collaboration), led to an opportunity to research the economic and social impact of Hawaii Island visual artists. Titled the Hawaii Island Network of Artists, from 2012-2013 I created a website to act as a resource directory for local artists as a mahalo to each of them for participating in a survey. Through the project I met more than 500 visual artists and proved just how rich this island is with artists. (I’ve continued the project as a non-juried site and resource directory.)
During that time, I fell into the role of gallery owner/partner in The Gallery at Hualalai in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hualalai. And it changed my life. I discovered I love witnessing that moment when you fall in love with a work of art, and helping to facilitate it.
When it ended in 2014, I opened Tiffany’s Art Agency—curating contemporary art experiences featuring Hawaii’s master artists. Getting to know so many artists so well inspired me once again to document and share their stories. My second book with award-winning author Lynda McDaniel, Aloha Expressionism by Contemporary Hawaii Artists, featuring 50 of Hawaii’s master artists, was released at the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival’s Corks & Forks event at the Hawaii Convention Center in 2015.
The designer, maker, and collector in me are all fulfilled through this work by sharing it with you. Mahalo for your appreciation of Hawaii’s master artists.