What are you curious about? Dana:
I am curious about environments that are not my own. I am curious about suburbia. My chosen imagery is often naive and imagined notions of other places. They are the visual "what ifs" when imagining my life somewhere else. On all counts, I am curious about what metaphysics looks like, when it is combined with the likeness of the manmade or the perfunctory.
Describe your work and describe your process. Dana:
My larger pieces are essentially designing a universe, through use of a large variety of materials, some of my smaller, more narrative pieces are the inhabitants of this universe. I pour both water and oil media to emulate the feel and experience of water itself. I want the water to appear as a memory and I embrace a "washed" out look. I work on the back and front of canvases to achieve a simultaneous temporal and a-temporal effect. The encaustic series is a multi process of pouring, painting, carving, scraping and revealing until a texture of earth or water is realized, zoomed in.
What was your childhood like being raised by artists in Tribeca? Dana:
Its all relative and I have nothing to compare it to! But I know that we were immersed in art from day one. Art was normalcy, and everything else was irregular.
Close up of Memory Pool II by Dana James
What's it like to be an artist today in Bushwick, in comparison to how you saw your parents live and work while growing up? Dana:
There are too many artists now. The definition has grown so broad and continues to be dangerously amorphous. Tribeca was once a wasteland like Bushwick. The formula is not sustainable for artists.
You reference common objects of suburban and Americana life - swimming pools, hammocks, bathtubs, televisions, radios, cassettes. Coming from the city, what do these objects say to you? Dana:
They touch on the idea of catharsis, and the commonalities of human habit and social constructs. They remind me that we are small and predictable creatures, yet we magnificently create and leave behind beautiful histories and memories of the earth and its elements.
Having run your own gallery in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn and working for Life on Mars gallery, have these experiences affected your approach to your own work or how you engage with your own audience? Dana:
Actually, no…. with the exception of being surrounded by beautiful art and artists. And I think its important not to worry about categorizing yourself.
What is the most important thing you learned and from whom? Dana:
Don't use your own sensitivity -your best trait - against yourself - (my father) Erin:
If you had one superpower, what would it be? Dana:
To time travel…. Erin:
What's next? Dana:
I never know