We had the good fortune of connecting with Tori M. Briggs and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tori M., how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
When I first began placing more intention towards creating art and my business, I believed that the art of hustling was the only way to go. I didn’t have anyone truly giving me concrete advice on how to stay disciplined except for the one fact that I needed to work nonstop until I have that moment to “shine” in a sense. I ended up juggling multiple jobs and still, somehow managed to make time for my creative space; however, I soon realized that a healthy work life balance plus hustling non-stop does not ideally work out in the way we think it can. I ended up becoming overly exhausted and mentally drained daily. That’s when I knew it became integral that I scale down on the amount of projects/jobs I pursue in order to have a healthier lifestyle, especially if I wanted to create work that mattered to me. Now, my primary focus is paying attention to what medium in art is calling to me so that I can place all of my attention towards it without feeling the pressure to just “do” it. I find that balance involves unity between the mental, physical, and emotional aspects of any action or expression in life.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Finding my artistic style has always been one of my greatest challenges. I’ve shifted my style to match several seasons throughout my mental, physical, and spiritual spaces. Currently, I specialize in portrait/street photography and on occasion, I’ll make short films that include some of the images I take in order to create visual albums. What I enjoy most about photography is that I can both control and not control the outcome of the pictures I take. I love those moments when I’m simply taking a walk and I see something random that catches my eye but it ends up including maybe a person posing on accident or the composition of the image is better than I thought it would be.
In addition to photography, I’m also a mixed-media artist. Acrylic paint, soft pastels, POSCA markers, spray paint, paper, canvas, and grout are my tools of choice when creating my projects. I tend to mesh together a multitude of ideas found through old work I’ve created; writings in my journal or just random inspiration found throughout my days that I’ll jot down in my phone. I’m trying not to take my paintings as serious, because my journey with this medium has been a rough one for me lately. I believe one of the biggest challenges is the ability to stay motivated and commit to bettering my craft daily. I think what made it difficult was thinking that I needed to create solely to sell or to impress an audience. Eventually, I found that internalizing that belief system did nothing but hinder my growth as an artist. I have to admit that it wasn’t easy arriving at this point in my life where I’ve leaned far more into my creative work as well as opening myself up to taking on creative positions in my career. It’s been a lot of praying, dedication, and confidence in knowing that my passion for the arts will never leave me, so it’s imperative that I do whatever I can to follow through on my dreams.
As of last year, I created my brand/production company called “FILMINEM”. This is where I build my creations, share my work, and allow myself to explore whichever medium that calls to me. I want people to understand that this is where they will get to know me not only as an artist but as an individual. A good philosophy that helps me along my journey is knowing that art is a form of prayer and with that knowledge, my goal is to build a community of individuals who love engaging in dialogue when they see pieces that evoke certain feelings inside, whether good or bad. I want my work to be a space for others to heal and for me to heal as well.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many places in Houston to explore that I honestly can’t think of everything I’ve truly enjoyed; however, I will say that I love to read, skate, and meditate at the Menil Park in Montrose Houston. It’s one of my favorite spots out here because of how peaceful and quiet the area is. It’s located near the Museum District which is another one of my favorite areas. I’d love to take my best friend to the Museum of Fine Arts, Contemporary, and another neat gallery is called Foto Relevance located in Montrose. In terms of food, this one’s easy, Soul Food Vegan and Lindiana’s Kitchen are great places in 3rd Ward Houston for some good vegan eats with rich flavor. Another favorite of mine is Torchy’s Tacos.
A good one stop shop for coffee and neat merchandise would be this spot called The List on Dunlavy street. It’s a dope shop that also includes a barber studio and tattoo parlor inside. Every other Monday and Thursday night they host a party called Love Stoned where various DJs, vendors, and people in Houston come to have a good time. I also recommend going to Houston Camera Exchange to purchase old film cameras and new cameras as well if you’re a photographer or looking to get into that field.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout firstly to my Creator. I wouldn’t be where I am in this life if it weren’t for God always calling me back to pursue my dreams and continue creating art. I am nothing without my loving parents and brother who support me to no end. I am forever grateful for my close friends and loving souls who’ve stuck with me through the ups and downs. They know who they are.
Brandi Cadette, Peculiar People Productions (portrait) Tori M. Briggs