Mashonda Tifrere has been making waves in the music industry since the early 2000s. The singer and songwriter made a name for herself over the years and has recently taken on a new industry. With the hopes of creating more equity in the art world, Tifrere founded ArtLeadHER “to combat gender bias by curating opportunities for womxn artists and curators from around the world.” They work with marginalized women and teenage girls to provide visual arts education, professional development, brand exposure, and opportunities to exhibit their art in prominent exhibition spaces.
Tifrere also birthed Art Genesis, an organization dedicated to building a sustainable marketplace for entrepreneurial emerging and established artists. During one of the biggest weekends in the global art scene, also known as Art Basel, Tifrere curated a three-day exhibit featuring 15 artists who represent various dimensions of difference, from race to culture to gender and so much more. Through her collaboration with SunChips, she’s also giving these artists a chance to have their art featured on more than 20 million SunChips bags and in SunChips advertising in 2023.
We talked with the renaissance woman about the power of art, why she’s so boldly taking up space as a Black woman creative, and why this collaboration with SunChips is so important.
HB: We’re excited to talk about your partnership with Sun Chips and all the amazing work that you’re doing with the art scene. So, how do you feel about the recent research that says that less than 15% of art and permanent collections in the US is created by women and people of color?
Mashonda Tifrere: I feel like it is something that I’ve definitely been aware of for many years. It’s the reason why I started the advocacy work that I do with ArtLeadHER and Art Genesis. I founded Art Leader in 2016 to help women in art have their work seen and represented. And so I also understand that coming out of the music industry, it’s pretty much the same story, right? Women are always underrepresented; they’re never really taken seriously. And from visiting many galleries and museums around the world, I always noticed that there was a lack of women, a lack of people of color on the walls. And I really wanted to step into my community and use my network to help encourage these artists to feel like their work is valued and seen.
HB: Tell us more about the partnership with Sun Ships and why you thought it was important for you specifically to partner with them.
Mashonda Tifrere: Well, for me, it’s always about alignment, art, and advocacy. So when I was approached by Sun Chips, and they told me about their mission for the program Art Seen, I felt like it was the perfect place. I do eat their chips, so I’m familiar with how vibrant and colorful the packaging is and what they stand for. So immediately, I pictured the kind of artists I would bring to the forefront for this project. What they’re doing is amazing. They’re not only using art to market, but they’re creating a platform for these artists to show their work for them to not only make some money but to step into the marketplace and be a part of what is the biggest art event in the world during Art week. I was impressed, and I’m really happy to be the person they chose for this campaign.
HelloBeautiful: It seems like an unconventional collaboration, but I’m here for it. I also love Sun Chips, and I didn’t see this coming, but I love it!
Mashonda Tifrere: They’re the only chips I buy, I promise you, because it’s healthy.
HB: It feels good. It sounds good. It looks good. So, as the creator of Art LeadHer and Art Genesis, it’s clear that you believe in the importance of spotlighting artists who celebrate their diverse viewpoints and the importance of diversity in the art community. What inspires you to take up space in this way?
Mashonda Tifrere: Being an artist myself, I know what it feels like to be the underdog. I know what it feels like to have this passion and want to create and not know where to start as to how to show your work and how to have it received in a beautiful way. So when I’m presented opportunities to create beautiful platforms for artists to hang their work and, and have it professionally shown by people who really care and advocate for them, I’m jumping on it, and I feel like this was the perfect opportunity to have that conversation about diversity and including artists from all walks of life, genders, races and that’s really what Sun Chips stands behind.
HB: Yes. That’s so good. I’m curious about what the selection process was like. Walk us through how you selected these amazing people.
Mashonda Tifrere: It was so easy because, as I said, once I envisioned Sun Chips and how vibrant and colorful their bags are and how they make me feel every time I pick up a bag. I know I’m going to go home and watch some Netflix and have some chips. It’s always a feel-good moment, right? So I wanted the art to feel good. I wanted it to be colorful. We’re doing it in Miami, so I also wanted it to be refreshing and fun, and I chose 13 incredible artists that represent those vibes. We are gonna hang some colorful, lively art on the walls for you guys.
HB: It’s going to be beautiful. I can already picture it with all the colors. When you think of art, what are some words and feelings that come to mind?
Mashonda Tifrere: The first one is emotion. I always want to strike an emotion with someone. That doesn’t mean it’s good or bad, but I want them to feel something. And when I curate my shows, that’s the first thing that comes to mind. What do I want the viewer to walk away with? For this Miami show, it’s all about feeling good. I want you to get out there and have a good time while you’re here for art week. And these artists really pull you into that world.
HB: I love that other people will be able to have that experience. I think it’s really beautiful. How can people support this amazing effort?
Mashonda Tifrere: So there is a website being built out that will pretty much show the exhibition virtually, and people can vote for their favorite artists, which I’m really excited about. There’ll be three finalists, and each of them will be commissioned to create work, especially for Sun Chips bags, which will be all over the United States. It’s really great for them.
HB: And it’s so good to see you in this space. What else do you have going on that we can support?
Mashonda Tifrere: My music, my EP just dropped called “Note to Self,” it’s on all platforms. It’s amazing. It’s a work of art. We’ve got some videos out that are doing really well, and I really want people to get into it. It’s feel-good music, transformational, healing, and full of love vibes.
HB: We need that right now. More than ever.
Mashonda Tifrere: Yes. We need it.