Tami Alba is one of the most popular wildlife artists featured on The Mountain, with a stunning collection of animal t-shirts. She continually mesmerizes our audience of animal lovers with her amazingly realistic artwork that pops off the t-shirt and creates a wearable canvas. Tami holds the magnificence of the natural world close to her art. She views her art as a vehicle to inspire people to take notice of their surrounding landscapes and wildlife and appreciate the beauty that is all around.
For a limited time only, we will be featuring this special edition design, All American Wolf Collage T-Shirt by Tami Alba, available for purchase exclusively at themountain.com. Get yours now while you still can!
As part of our artist spotlight series, we asked Tami Alba to share a little bit about her artistic vision and process, as well as valuable lessons she has learned throughout her career as a professional artist. Read the full interview with Tami Alba below.
What is your creative process like? Could you share a story of how you made something?
I often describe my creative process like a puzzle. After my subject is decided, I hunt for a spark of information. Once found, a gist of an imagined image comes to mind. I collect all my elements or pieces then begin the process of putting them together. I've learned to let creativity unfold more naturally and intuitively rather than rigidly follow my plan. The design then emerges once of the pieces fit together, always beyond my imagination.
For an example of this process, I'll use the Gorilla Jungle design released this year. After spending a gleeful time observing some amazing gorillas at my local zoo, I knew I wanted to create something for gorillas portraying their power and gentleness. Soon after seeing the movie Kong Skull Island, a spark of inspiration was lit. A gist of a design came to mind, wanting a more intimate and lush jungle setting with dappled lighting. Reference material for all my elements was then collected and I began painting.
As an example of creative changes, I started with one gorilla, but two showed more power, gentleness, and emotion. Also, rather than a dense jungle scene, opening the jungle with back-lighting helped give depth and intimacy. So overall I was pleased with how the design creatively emerged and came together.
What is your favorite medium?
With my career, digital painting has dominated over traditional mediums. One will never replace the other. They all have their place for differing needs. My favorite medium as a young artist was graphite and charcoal. Now, it's fun to be diverse and experiment across all mediums. As a break from digital painting, I'm really enjoying acrylics with airbrushing and getting my hands messy.
What is the best part of working in your genre?
My heart is always with wildlife and nature. The best part of my job is being able to spend time with magnificent creatures wherever and whenever I can.
What are you most proud of as an artist?
When someone's heart or soul is touched through my art. It's incredibly rewarding.
What has been challenging for you in your career? How did you overcome it?
As a freelance artist, after working with great artists in a job situation, the isolation of working alone without the camaraderie and growth you absorb working alongside other artists became a challenge. To help offset it, I began studying across all mediums and genres, using tutorials, and attending workshops from artists that inspire me. Also, joining a local Artist's Guild helped me to be more consistently involved with other artists.
What advice would you give to a young artist?
Pursue a learning path that matches the kind of artist you want to be whether illustration, animation, fine art or beyond. And practice, practice, practice! Allow your creative intuition and style to develop naturally.
What design have you created for The Mountain that you would like to be remembered for?
Probably, I would have to say the Big Jungle Cats. Though I love all wildlife, I have a special love for Big Cats. They mesmerize me and touch my soul.
Is there anything in particular that you want your fans to know about - thoughts, upcoming projects, events, collaborations, etc.?
First, I'm grateful to have a job doing what I love creating wildlife art and for the fans that enjoy them. I truly have a great love for all creatures and seek to connect with them in some small way in my daily life. Their magnificence teaches and inspires me and I try to convey that through my art.
As an artist, I enjoy the creative process, whether creating for t-shirts, posters, signs, merchandise, or fine art. Presently, I'm working on interactive animal and nature projects for a Nature and Science Center at a local Georgia State Park, helping teach and connect school children to the nature around them.
My future plans include a trip to Africa, fulfilling a life long dream, and bringing back the experience, inspiration, and passion to create infinitely for endangered wildlife. And to share art with you!