Q & A with artist, Dana Trippe
What are you currently reading, listening to or looking at to fuel your work?
I listen to music almost all day. I wouldn’t say listening to things fuels my work, but it does help me meditate and cancel out everything else going in my life. Creative wise, I pull a lot of inspiration, especially for this show, from 60s-70s sci-fi paintings, movies, and book covers. Back then, people were more creative in their ideas of what the future could end up looking like. Now we’ve become a little too realistic and bleak in our view of the future.
What are your biggest challenges to creating art and how do you deal with them? How do you navigate the art world?
My biggest challenge is and probably always will be my own mind. I have a feeling that a lot of creatives deal with some form of self-confidence issues. Surely not everyone, but I think it can be a fluid thing in the creative world today. It is hard not to compare yourself to other artists when there is so much saturation of art at your fingertips and on the screen in front of you. On the other side of it, it can be a good way to push you to create more often. I have weeks where I really dislike everything I create, and then I have times where I am impressed by myself. It’s all relative to how much I am creating. I need to shoot photos multiple times a week to stay inspired and aggressively in my work state of mind. I wouldn’t blame anyone else for the work or how often I am creating it.
What mediums do you work with? How would you describe your subject matter?
I am a lot happier when I am flowing through many different types of mediums in the art world. If i am just shooting digital photos on a studio backdrop and editing them, and doing this on repeat I will be bored out of my mind and likely end up uninspired. If I am building out sets for my shoots, I am much more proud of the outcome. Set design is my second passion, and though I am technically not great at it, I think my photos are much more unique when I take the time to do a set build out. It makes me feel like I have more to me then just clicking a trigger on the camera. As for photography I work with my digital camera, some film cameras...and then I go crazy in photoshop, usually changing the image completely. There are no rules or guidelines for me there. Sometimes I don’t know at all what I am going to do with an image, and I decide once It is in photoshop. I also print out my photos a hand paint and collage them when a particular photo feels right for that process. Every photo deserves a different process.
When people ask you what you “do”, how do you answer?
Photographer. Then they say “like weddings and stuff” and I say no, and try to explain my role in this creative field. It’s difficult to explain because I am doing so many different types of work, and can’t just settle on one thing that I want to portray myself as. Depending on the person, usually when you tell them you are an artist, they are never really convinced that you could possibly be successful, and I could really care less to take the time to convince them otherwise. If I do tell them “no, like really I'm okay” they say “good for you”. This career path should not be SO hard to make it in. The education system and society, in general, need to nurture children that appear to be more artistic. If they are doodling instead of ace-ing their geometry test, it doesn't have to mean they are lazy or they are a failure. Some brains are wired differently and as a result, spend a lot of their childhood not knowing their worth.
Describe a childhood memory that has influenced your artwork.
My dad was always building me and my sisters the most creative and elaborate things throughout our childhood. The one that always stuck out was the indoor treehouse that took over my sisters' entire room. He paper mached the outside so it looked like a real tree. They could sleep up top, and even had a bucket with a pulley system so they could transfer things to the top of the tree from below. That’s just one thing of MANY. He was the coolest dad.
Has there been a shift or change in your life or work that has led to what you’re making now? Do you see your work as autobiographical at all?
I feel like I am always changing, and my work changes with me. Though, I feel like it has maintained the same kind of meaning to it though over the years. I have gone through times where I have tried pretty hard to refine it and make it less “trippydana”, it always ends back at a colorful place. There will always be times when it feels like me and the person who creates my body of work are two completely different people. I have gone through long periods of depression throughout my teenage years and I can definitely say that I am happier now, but it still lingers at times. I think making this other colorful life for myself through photography has helped me unimaginably. Through my art and my social media, people see me as a very colorful and imaginative person, and I don’t think I really ever thought of myself that way, but it has over time convinced me that I am that person, and in the end, it has made me a brighter and happier human.
What is your personal message to your artwork and how does that connect to a communal and universal message?
Everything I feel and love goes into my work. I don’t conceptually have a personal message that is fluid in my work, but as to a universal message, I would say this means that everyone should have something they do that keeps them going day to day. Everyone should have a hobby that inspires them and fills them with passion and excitement for life. If you are lucky enough to have your work and hobby align, then be grateful. I think art is important and a necessary means of bringing beauty into this world transported from the soul. No matter what you do, if it is artistic or not, if you do it with love I believe a piece of your soul lives within it.
Do you intend your work to challenge the viewer?
No, not at all. I always respect artwork that is challenging and makes a strong statement, but I’ve come to terms that I am not that, at least not yet. I want my artwork to be a pretty place the viewer can escape to for a moment in time.
Is the creative impulse driven by a personal need to ease pain and/or satiate desire?
It’s hard to explain the need to create, but I do know that I have to do it or I will go insane. It is my outlet to express myself. Sometimes I feel like I cannot control anything in my real world aside from art. I don’t believe there is much good in feeling like you don’t have control of your destiny. In my art, I have the control, and I can alter the world to make it exactly how I want it. A place where things can look and feel different and have no boundaries. A prettier and stranger place.
What three things never fail to bring you pleasure?
Hearing a really good song for the first time, road trips, and finding a really good pair of pants.