"They had lost hope in me," Clark said. "I found hope in myself."
Before she began doing "smack" at about age 26 or 27 with her boyfriend, Jason Dryden, Clark said she never did hard drugs.
Now 34, Clark said she had ample opportunity.
Artist Tiffany Clark at work on a piece on the Stop N Lock Graffiti Wall on Linden Avenue. PHOTO / Amelia Robinson
"My sister had cancer when she was 13, so I was a 16-year-old with drawers and buffets of pills at the house and things to inject, and I never cared to do any one of them," she said. "I did the normal teenage stuff. I drank when mom didn't want me to and smoked pot."
Clark's addiction spun out of control after Dryden died of an accidental drug overdose in 2010.
Dryden was a bass player for the popular local band Sleepybird, an artist like Clark, and an instructor at Stivers School for the Arts. He was just 34, and Clark called him her soulmate.
An Antioch College graduate, Clark did things she never imagined she would. She lost friends and her jobs at Stivers and K12 Gallery as a result.
"Once Jason died, I got so much worse," she said. "I eventually tried to pull myself out of it and realized that I have been making art all of my life and only ever taken a six month break, and I haven't made any made any artwork because I've been a junkie piece of crap."
Art came to the rescue.
Clark conceived her own style of art using collages and layering.
Tiffany Clark frequently collaborates on murals and other projects with Christopher "Etch" Weyrich, a Dayton artist and DJ. PHOTO / Amelia Robinson
"I just put my soul out there," Clark said. "Eventually, not only was it good therapy for me, but I found people forgave me and understood me and saw my truth. The more they saw that and forgave me, the more honest I was. It was this great building up of people supporting people."
The Fairborn native and mother of two has been clean 4 years and wants to share her story with others.
An arts educator again, Clark frequently collaborates on murals and other projects with Christopher "Etch" Weyrich, a Dayton artists and DJ.
The couple of about a year is behind the Mural Machine.
"I think we can all find our positive way," Clark said. "Even in your darkest of dark times, you can find your way to reinvent yourself."