My Career Choice: Diane Tuckman – Silk Artist and Photographer
Diane Tuckman is an eclectic artist, silk painter, photographer, instructor and published author. A silk painting pioneer in America, she teaches in her studio and travels, paints, as well as exhibits her work extensively. Diane’s passion is to awaken latent artistic potential in everyone.
Can you point to one event that triggered your interest in your career?Having lived in Paris for many years where modern painting on silk originated, I was aware that this art medium was used for painted scarves. Silk painting now applies to: wall art, wearables and home décor. I had long been interested in the arts, but my life did not allow me to pursue that interest. I had to get a job that would allow me to help support my family. So, I trained as a translator (English/French), along with office skills. As I started getting involved by importing batik dyes, I was contacted by an artist who had spent the summer in France and wanted to buy the products to continue painting on silk. Once I laid eyes on her work, I was immediately intrigued, contacted the French supplier I had been working with and launched my career in that direction.
What about this career choice did you find most appealing?
It allowed me to delve into my interests in the arts.
What steps did you take to begin your education or training?
I took classes in Paris with all the current knowledgeable silk painting instructors.
Along the way, were people encouraging or discouraging?
I was very discouraged, because I had no business background and no financial means. I launched my company with $200 in the bank.
Did you ever doubt your decision and attempt a career change?
Not really. I also added photography to my career endeavors!
When did your career reach a tipping point?
When with Jan Janas we launched SPIN, Silk Painters International, a non profit organization to promote and teach the art form. At that time, we also started the Silkworm newsletter, which is still being published.
Can you describe a challenge you had to overcome?
No business experience and having to deal with the requirements to be successful in the art market.
What single skill has proven to be most useful?
Teaching French as a foreign language was very helpful and allowed me to transfer these skills to teaching painting on silk.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
There are currently over 5,000 international silk painters on Facebook and SPIN has over 500 members.
Any advice for others entering your profession?
There is great satisfaction in sharing your knowledge, as silk painting is a wide-open field for experimentation. As a photographer, always carry your camera and be prepared to “point and shoot” at any moment.