Dana James

New York, USA
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© Photo

"Both my work and I are marked
by constant change and contradiction
."

"Both my work and I are marked
by constant change and contradiction
."

Tell us about yourself. How would you introduce yourself to someone who has never seen your work?

Both my work and I are marked by constant change and contradiction. I find peace in coalescing opposites, achieving dissonance and flow, unifying colors and shapes that speak to a duality within beauty and within our day to day surroundings. I am attracted to garish, shiny pinks and glowing pastels, offsetting them with dark, dirty clouds. I like to commemorate femininity in my work and in my life.

Tell us about yourself. How would you introduce yourself to someone who has never seen your work?

Both my work and I are marked by constant change and contradiction. I find peace in coalescing opposites, achieving dissonance and flow, unifying colors and shapes that speak to a duality within beauty and within our day to day surroundings. I am attracted to garish, shiny pinks and glowing pastels, offsetting them with dark, dirty clouds. I like to commemorate femininity in my work and in my life.

How did your interest in art begin? Was it something that you were brought up surrounded by or did it come to you later on?

I am the child of two artists and a native New Yorker, so I was immersed in art and culture from a young age. My parents moved to Tribeca in the 70’s and I grew up in a loft that doubled as my mother’s art studio. Painting, drawing and writing was very natural in my household; we did not have many possessions, so creating was not only natural, but a necessity.

How did your interest in art begin? Was it something that you were brought up surrounded by or did it come to you later on?

I am the child of two artists and a native New Yorker, so I was immersed in art and culture from a young age. My parents moved to Tribeca in the 70’s and I grew up in a loft that doubled as my mother’s art studio. Painting, drawing and writing was very natural in my household; we did not have many possessions, so creating was not only natural, but a necessity.

"Creating was not only natural, but a necessity."

"Creating was not only natural, but a necessity."

Blue Veil

 

 

Blue Veil (Your Eyes Filling With Water), 68"x54", Oil, encaustic, acrylic, pigment on canvas.
Blue Veil (Your Eyes Filling With Water), 68"x54", Oil, encaustic, acrylic, pigment on canvas.

What drives you and your work? What’s your main motivation to go to the studio every morning and paint?

I go to the studio every morning to feel the catharsis inherent in conveying my personal perception of beauty, and for the exhilaration inherent in uncovering the beauty I did not yet know I was looking for. If you are someone who identifies as a painter, there is a lot to be said that cannot be said through any other medium. 

What drives you and your work? What’s your main motivation to go to the studio every morning and paint?

I go to the studio every morning to feel the catharsis inherent in conveying my personal perception of beauty, and for the exhilaration inherent in uncovering the beauty I did not yet know I was looking for. If you are someone who identifies as a painter, there is a lot to be said that cannot be said through any other medium. 

Do you have any rituals to get in the right mood to paint?

Cleaning. I keep my space very organized and put away anything that is not part of my painting practice. Also, I walk the dog to the park each morning. 

Do you have any rituals to get in the right mood to paint?

Cleaning. I keep my space very organized and put away anything that is not part of my painting practice. Also, I walk the dog to the park each morning. 

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How do you cope with the alone time in your studio?

I have always been very comfortable with alone time in the studio, but my greyhound, Veronica, is the perfect studio companion.

How do you cope with the alone time in your studio?

I have always been very comfortable with alone time in the studio, but my greyhound, Veronica, is the perfect studio companion.

What role does chance play in your work? Or do you know early on how you want the result to look like?

I welcome the unknown in my process. I practice the art of pouring because of its accidents and autonomy. The transient, unreliable quality that governs our visual memories is a primary theme in my work, and I like to manifest this idea through allowing the paint to be self-governing as well. 

What role does chance play in your work? Or do you know early on how you want the result to look like?

I welcome the unknown in my process. I practice the art of pouring because of its accidents and autonomy. The transient, unreliable quality that governs our visual memories is a primary theme in my work, and I like to manifest this idea through allowing the paint to be self-governing as well. 

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close
Teen Spirit, 16"x28".
"Teen Spirit", 16"x28".
To be Continued, 40"x46" diptych, Oil, ink, encaustic, pigment on canvas.
"To be Continued", 40"x46" diptych, Oil, ink, encaustic, pigment on canvas.
Something I Meant to Say When We First Met., 48"x78" diptych, Oil, charcoal, pigment on canvas.
"Something I Meant to Say When We First Met.", 48"x78" diptych, Oil, charcoal, pigment on canvas.

Musicians and theatre actors have direct feedback from the audience. How do you experience the effect of your art on people?

It is a wonderful feeling when people make personal discoveries in my work. Whether its a landscape from their past, or a notion in the colors and movement akin to something close to their heart, it is rewarding to have created a visual and emotional bond with a potential stranger.

Musicians and theatre actors have direct feedback from the audience. How do you experience the effect of your art on people?

It is a wonderful feeling when people make personal discoveries in my work. Whether its a landscape from their past, or a notion in the colors and movement akin to something close to their heart, it is rewarding to have created a visual and emotional bond with a potential stranger.

"I practice the art of pouring because of its accidents and autonomy."

"I practice the art of pouring because of its accidents and autonomy."

theswimmer2
The Swimmer, 30"x30".
"The Swimmer", 30"x30".

Thank you very much for your time, Dana.

 

To see more of Dana's work, visit her Instagram or her website.

 

Thank you very much for your time, Dana.

 

To see more of Dana's work, visit her Instagram or her website.

 

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