Gina Mei
Updated May 07, 2015 @ 2:01 pm

We love Tiara Henderson’s dreamy style of art. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based artist has mastered an easy, elegant vibe that we adore, and it’s all the more impressive given that she’s self-taught. Her work is soft and elegant, and she often plays with the idea of double exposure photography with some gorgeous results. Basically, her illustrations are all kinds of lovely. She does commissioned work for multiple companies through her business, Tiny and Artsy, but her interests (and talents) go way beyond the page: Tiara is also an installation artist and a baker, as well. Basically, she’s an all-around super talented girl with some amazing art, and that’s why she’s our Illustrator of the Week!

Find out more about Tiara and her art below.

No pressure, but describe your art: It’s hard to describe my art because it’s really just about how I’m feeling that day! I will say that I like to experiment with creating paintings that resemble double exposure photography. I also like blending and pairing things that you wouldn’t normally put together to create a cohesive piece. It usually works out, lucky for me!

What inspires you to make things: I like to incorporate some element of nature into all of my pieces. I’m always looking for colorful flowers or branches with a quaint shape to throw into something I’m working on. I can usually revolve an entire project around something I saw outside, and I love being out in the world. If it’s not nature, it’s architecture. Old buildings are something I’ve always been drawn to, and when I see a building with unique accents or an interesting shape, I usually try and find a way to sketch it so I can use it in my next project.

Favorite thing(s) to draw: My favorite things to draw are portraits. And within a portrait I really love drawing eyes. I like to think that I’m capturing a person in the moment when I’m drawing.

Medium of choice: Watercolor painting. I love the way it looks, the way it blends, the way it dries. I’m kind of obsessed with giving my paintings a watercolor vibe, even if it’s not what I’m using for that specific project.

The first time you knew you wanted to be an artist: It was actually more of a recent discovery. I’ve taken on a lot of different majors and worked a variety of jobs trying to figure out what I’m best at and what’s going to make me happy. I also knew I needed a job where I felt like I was making a difference — I hate feeling like I’m wasting my time doing things that won’t ever help anyone. I never thought being an artist would be as fulfilling as it has been. The amount of people I’ve been able to help because of it still blows me away. Eventually, I want to become an art therapist, and I want to open my own non-profit that centers around the arts.

Proudest achievement so far: That’s a hard one. I’ve accomplished a lot that I’m happy with, but I feel like I’m still waiting for that moment when I’ll be able to die happy because I know I’ve finally done what I’ve always wanted to do. If I had to pick something, I guess it would be the Dr. Seuss mural that I completed a few months ago for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Women’s Commission. It was a huge wall, probably 10 feet by 25, maybe 30 feet. I free handed the whole thing and only spent a total of 38 hours on it.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Women’s Commission is a safe place for women and children to go if they need a place to stay to get away from domestic violence and abuse; the mural I painted was in a room where children get scheduled supervised visits with their families, so they spend a lot of time playing in there. Seeing how happy it made the kids made me happy. For them to be able to see and play next to something so whimsical every day while they’re going through a tough time really had an impact on their mood. It kept the employees in good spirits, as well. Best mural project to date!

Music you listen to while you work: I listen to a lot of music, especially while I’m working. What I listen to changes every day based on my mood or the events taking place. Some days you’ll catch me listening to The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, and Jim Croce. Other days it’s Sia, Adele, Ingrid Michaelson, and Fleetwood Mac. On funky days it’s Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, maybe even Steppenwolf. On really hectic days I actually like listening to Elvis or classical music. (Never both at the same time; that would just be weird.)

Your most prized possession: My beautiful fur child, Stevie Nycks. She’s my sidekick, my partner in crime, and the nicest dog you’ll meet in your whole life. I’ve trained her to give kisses. And yes, I named my dog after Stevie Nicks. Can you tell I like music?

Your personal hero: Amy Poehler. I admire her in so many ways. If I had the chance to meet her one day I think I would cry a little.

The last thing to make you giggle: Modern Family. I recently picked up seasons 1-4 so I’m kind of binge-watching that right now when I’m not watching Parks and Rec over and over again, of course.

Current projects: I’ve actually got quite a few current projects going on right now. I’m working with two wonderful ladies under the name Studio Cultivate to make magical spaces for a living. Seriously. We use unexpected materials to create displays and backdrops for residential and commercial sites. We’ve worked with companies like Ruffled Blog and Anthropologie, and recently got hired to make decorations for a party Pinterest is throwing at the end of May. (Think Alice in Wonderland for the decor.) It’s going to be amazing!

For more of Tiara’s work, check out her Etsy and Instagram.