The Artists of Alva: Brian Tighe

Be True to Yourself


Brian Tighe believes in the familiar phrase, “When one door closes another door opens.” His experiences in life, both good and bad, drive him to be a better artist and a better person. Though his greatest passion is art, Brian’s ultimate goal is to bring a positive light into the world.

Like most budding artists, Brian started out doodling in his notebook during class. Unfortunately school was not a riveting experience for him. Not only was there a lack of art classes growing up, but also most of his general courses simply didn’t grab his attention.

“I really didn’t think school was my thing to begin with,” Brian said. “But I enjoyed it more towards the end when my degree got more specific.”

He grew up watching a lot of Disney animated movies and was intrigued by their productions. When Brian watched Finding Nemo for the first time in 2003, he was blown away by the incredible quality of the film and the 3D animations. He decided that was the direction he wanted to go in for his career—making animated art. Continue reading


The Artists of Alva: Jiemei Lin

 Art is a Lifestyle

Jiemei Lin

For Jiemei Lin, art is a way of life and an opportunity to create special connections with others. It’s not a job; it’s a lifestyle. From a very young age, Jiemei has been drawing pictures and ingesting ideas from all around her. She grew up in Hangzhou, China—one of the oldest cities in the world. Jiemei calls it an “old and weird town”, full of all kinds of interesting Asian architecture.

Since this young artist didn’t have any siblings, she spent her time reading, making drawings, and imagining odd and surreal scenes in her mind. Though she was alone most of the time, Jiemei says she wasn’t lonely. Her artistry and imagination kept her company.

Hello Ramen Girl“I have been making drawings since I was young,” Jiemei said. “Drawing has always been a very personal and important thing for my life, like a nature need. When I was young, I wrote stories with illustrations. My language teacher, cousins, and friends were my audience. They followed my updates of the story in a very serious way.”

Ironically enough, her parents discouraged her from fantastic ideas like Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and other “kid stuff”. They believed in science with all of their hearts and didn’t allow their daughter to watch TV.

In school, Jiemei was reassured of her talent in the arts. Unlike her mother who was a mathematician, Jiemei struggled in math and science but thrived in history, language, geography, and art.

“Fortunately, most of my schoolmates thought I was nerdy and creative at the same time,” Jiemei said. “I was a character with personality, not the boring one.” Continue reading

The Artists of Alva: Heather Little

This is the first post in our new series of articles, “The Artists of Alva”. Each one will feature one of our talented staff and show not only some of their personal and professional artwork, but also what inspires them and drives them creatively. 


Creative Director Heather Little loves working on a blank canvas—starting from scratch and using that freedom to create anything imaginable. However, she has chosen the canvas of the computer as the backdrop for her art instead of the easel. She has been professionally creating digital art since she graduated with a BFA degree in graphic design in 1996.

“I pursued experimenting and creating art using a computer because the possibilities are endless; technology is always evolving,” she said. “Plus, I really don’t like getting dirty with chalk or paint all over myself.”

Heather’s first piece of digital art was done on the Commodore 64 computer when it first came out with paint programs in 1986. The picture was of a night cityscape of the riverfront in downtown Cincinnati, OH, where she grew up.

“That’s when I realized that I really loved technology,” she said, “…that there was this new drawing software program that you could use to make art. It wasn’t just about painting or drawing anymore; the computer was another tool. I saw it as the future of art.” Continue reading