Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Conversation With Lara Dann

"Sweet Surrender" 2012
16" x 20"
Acrylic on wood

Lara Dann, a self taught artist, creates magical paintings filled with delicate line details, intricate patterns, vibrant colors, and fantasy elements, weaving together rich dream-like worlds. Dann took time out of her schedule to speak with ArtSeen about her artwork and her inspirations.

Can you tell us a little about your artwork, artistic process, and what types of artistic materials you use?

Yes. I use professional line Golden Fluid Acrylics, and I mostly paint on wood, but I paint on canvas and fine art arches paper. My process is almost like two or three paintings in one. I pre-paint a mask of lines or line elements. After that dries, I lay down the first layer of acrylic wash and often times India ink. I may or may not deepen this tone with an additional wash or layer. This first painting appears almost abstract, and I often hear feedback of this being received as a painting all by itself. I then paint a layer of “wallpaper” pattern or elements to the entire surface, which is a second layer or painting. At this point, I transfer a drawing that I have tightened from a thumbnail to a final stage in pencil. I will add or take out things that I want and play with ideas a bit further, using my under-painting as inspiration or visual guide. Sometimes I adjust what I thought worked on tissue for the final, to play off of the abstract elements of the painting. I am very free handed in all of these stages, and it is always at this junction before the final painting stage that I refer to destroying the painting. It’s quite intense for me at this stage and I never feel like I can bring it up from the murky and distorted, but eventually I see a figure immerge with detail. 

"Dangerous Garden" 2011
18" x 24"
Acrylic on wood

What inspires you as an artist? Why do you create art?

Vintage items and nostalgia of the past inspires me. I was born into art in that my mother, father and grandmother were all artists, or talented people. I was inspired at a very young age to express myself through art as a means of escape or self soothing during a difficult time of my parents' divorce at the age of three. I just can’t remember a time I was not drawing. My mother said I drew for hours. I create art now because it almost feels like I have stopped breathing if I stop creating. I walked away from my work for 6 years and that was like amputating a limb of time.

"Against Idlesness and Mischief" 2012
"11 x 17"
Acrylic on wood

What types of themes, ideas, or concepts do you explore within your artwork?

As major themes, currently I am drawn to exploring mythology, the mystical spiritual realm, a bit of the religious iconography, translated in my own mythology. I am fixated upon vintage imagery and items and refer to this a lot as well. These major concepts are thoughts behind my creations, but often do not resemble them entirely. In general, my paintings are born from an inspired dream place.

11' x 14"
acrylic on wood

"Bittersweet" in custom made mosaic frame using vintage materials by L.Dann
Are there any artists that inspire you? If so who would they be and why?

There are so many mind-blowing living and past artists that inspire me, both traditional and digital to name. For me personally, technique is but a portion of what makes an inspiring piece. It is also the message of the painting or painter that makes all the difference. When a painter transfers or channels their energy into their work, a secret part of themselves is revealed that we cannot comprehend or see with our eyes, but we can feel it in what they have painted, that to me is the most inspiring art/artist.  That is why may taste in art is so varied. It’s not necessarily how technically sound someone painted it, but the message or emotion transferred to it. I think that is why we never tire of the Rembrandt’s and the Monet’s. We return to them because there is certain energy in them, which I think is lacking in much of todays work/artists.

"Hidden In Plain Sight"
10" x 15"
Acrylic on wood

What’s the best and worst part about being an artist?

Best= that you’re doing it for yourself.
Worst= that you’re doing it for yourself.

"Cry Of Eevul" 2011
Celtic Banshee

What do you want viewers to walk away with when they view your artwork?

A longing to come back to it.

And finally, what advice would you give to other artists?
To beginning artists- work at least 15 min everyday on it. No matter what. To never stop believing in yourself. To create as if no one is watching. There is a freedom in that. To never stop experimenting or exploring. I encourage to be humble.

"Morta" 2010
16" x 20"
Acrylic on wood

For more information about Dann and her artwork you can visit her website, blog, Red Line Gallery profile and Big Cartel profile for more details.

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