“Conception,” 30″x40″ oil and mixed media on canvas
What is your name: Gina Marie Dunn
Do you have a formal art education or are you a self taught artist: BFA in Communications from Loyola University New Orleans, Minor in Visual Arts
What is the style of your pieces: My pieces have an organic, earthy quality. I often work simultaneously between an abstract expressionist and a contemporary style. Most of them contain layers that cannot be detected until they are seen at a close-up range. Being a children’s art teacher, I am often influenced by the raw and pure qualities that are universally evident in children’s art.
What is the medium in which you work: Mainly oils, sometimes combined with acrylics, and often layered on top of mixed media collage
What started you on your path as an artist: I have always considered myself an artist. As soon as I could hold a crayon, my path along the road I’m on began. My mother is an incredibly gifted artist and I have been learning from her ever since I can remember. I didn’t play with dolls as a little girl, I played with my mother’s paints and often worked alongside of her while she was painting with my crayons.
What is one of the most important things that art has brought to your life: It has brought me peace within like nothing else can. Art gives me a channel for all of my creative energy and a way to express myself honestly. My art is my attempt to re-humanize the world, a world in which I sometimes feel my voice gets lost. Through each painting I strive to say things with colors and paint that I cannot articulate with words.
What is your favorite genre of art besides the one you work in: Poetry, especially that of Edgar Allen Poe, Pablo Neruda and Margaret Atwood.
Do you have art showings, and if so what are they typically like: This year I have had two showings, one group showing at Rising Gallery in Dallas and one at Buli Cafe. I really enjoyed showing my work at Rising because the Gallery staff there is friendly, helpful and so much fun to be around.
Do you have a certain set of clothes you make art in: Since I spend the majority of my day chasing after my two children, both under age 3, I am often in comfortable clothes. During naptime I usually run into the studio for a few stolen moments of solitude with my paintings so whatever I have on at that time I just throw an apron over and hope for the best. Most of my “daytime’ clothes have paint on them somewhere and I’ve just accepted that as the cost of doing business.
What has been the most frustrating part of being an artist: I wish I had more hours in the day to spend making art. I miss being able to sketch on a regular basis.
What is your favorite sandwich of all time: A grilled cheese from Highland Park Pharmacy.
Has this year brought about any changes in your work, and if so what are they: I consider looking at my paintings like listening to an old favorite song…seeing one instantly takes me back to the place in life where I was when I created them. Since taking a few years off from painting when the kids were born, I have recently begun actively pursuing it again and have noticed that there is a shift in the tone of my pieces. A lot of the chaos and loneliness in my former pieces is gone. Whatever style I am working in, I have noticed that the works contain a more feminine, organic, almost maternal quality that was not evident in my pieces before. This presence in my work can only be attributed to the contentment I feel by my wonderful husband and growing family.
Who is your favorite artist alive or dead: Joseph Cornell. I love to get lost in the intricate worlds he creates in his shadow boxes. I named my studio, “Utopia Pkwy. Art Studio”, after the street where Joseph Cornell grew up. Webster’s dicionary defines “utopia” as “an ideally perfect place” which is exactly where I am when I am working in the studio.
What is the most moving piece of artwork that you have seen in person: Matisse’s “Ivy in Flowers”. I have used pictures of this work when I teach fine art lessons to students, but to witness it in person is a different experience entirely. The size of it makes you feel like a fly on a wall full of dancing color.
Do you have any animals, and what do they think of your work: I have two rescue dogs named Jackson and Brooklyn. My studio has a doggie door and whenever I work out there Jackson is usually sitting right next to my feet and Brooklyn pops in from time to time when she’s not chasing squirrels in the back yard to cool off and check out what I’m working on. Currently I’m painting a pet portrait for a friend and i think this has been their favorite endeavor of mine so far.
Do you have any up coming exhibitions you would like to share with us: I am just taking down an exhibition at Buli Cafe on Cedar Springs and currently working on building up my body of work.
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