Sacramento Art History Consortium’s Featured Artist: Dawn Star Wood
by Bree Garcia
DSW: As a watercolorist based out of the central California area, I have been active within the local community while also communicating with artists not only elsewhere in the United States but abroad. At the moment I am one of the collective artists of Blue Moon Gallery in Sacramento along with one of the consignment artists of Sunlight of the Spirit Book and Gifts shop which is also located in Sacramento. I have also been active in several smaller organizations such as being one of the founding members of deviantSAC where we focus on bringing attention to local artists, to my work with other groups helping in drawing awareness to a small variety of issues.
My most recent collaboration has been my first overseas one which was with the editorial assistant for the Salvation Army of Finland’s magazine SotaHuuto, having allowing the use and publishing of my painting “Virgin Mary” in their Finnish & Swedish publications for their August 2012 issue. I have also participated in the yearly KVIE Art Auction in Sacramento from 2008 to present, having been chosen for Juror’s Award in 2012. This year I have had the chance to be one of the artists for Quixotic Magazine’s first issue, a guest speaker for one of Amador County Artists Association’s monthly meetings, accepted into KVIE’s Art Auction 2013, and accepted into Pence Gallery (Davis).
SAHC: Can you give us a brief description of your creative process? What is your preferred medium and style?
DSW: I have a wide range of things that inspire me, from the gentle beauty of various elements of nature to the curves of a classic vehicle but I have to say what frequently pulls me back to paint time and time again is anything dealing with European and Asian culture. I’m not really sure about my style by my work tends to lean more towards Art Nouveau in some aspects. Watercolors are my main medium but on occasion I do tend to create pieces that are of mixed media.
SAHC: As a Sacramento artist what responsibilities do you believe that you have to the local and the global community?
DSW: I would think that in a way, as artists, we are responsible for bringing attention to various issues to try to bring about positive change. Our work tells stories and a point of view to things that normally would be overlooked by others. Through the connections we make with people through our pieces, we network with those in our own community and beyond, brainstorm ideas, give constructive critiques, and inspire.
SAHC: What advice do you have for emerging artists, or those pursuing a career in the arts?
DSW: My advice is to experiment and a lot of practice. I constantly get told by people that my work has inspired them to try watercolors for the first time but they’re not that good with them. I just advise that you practice the basics first and know that you’re not going to paint a Mona Lisa your first time. Mistakes are going to happen. If, while working with watercolors, you find you don’t like one particular method or find that something doesn’t work for you, don’t be afraid to try something that will work with your style. If you discover that mixed media is more fitting with what you’re wanting, go for it. Just never be afraid to try something new and remember to practice. As far as having a career in the field, be prepared for a lot of hard work and people having the pre-notion that being an artist is the easiest thing in the world or is only a hobby.
SAHC: Who are some of your favorite Sacramento Artists, and why?
DSW: I actually know several area artists so it is difficult to say I have ‘favorites’, mostly due the fact that I have made friends and worked with a number of them. One Sacramento based artist who I had the pleasure of showing work with and becoming friends with is the late Kennith Potter. An internationally known watercolorist who was unique in every way, we originally didn’t see eye-to-eye on how I presented my work since he was more European/traditional in his subject matters and presentation where I was pushing the envelope a bit with my pieces at the time. After a couple of years of getting to know one another, my best moment was a few months before he passed away, he had nodded in approval of one of my pieces and let me know that it was one of the best works I had done up to that point. Thinking of that day always brings a smile to my face.
SAHC: Where are some of your favorite Art/ Art History resources found?
DSW: I personally have a growing collection of resource and reference books which I often go to for information and inspiration. Outside of my own home, however, I often look to several museums in the Northern California area such as Crocker Art Museum, Asian Art Museum, SFMOMA, and Legion of Honor. Other favorite stops for me when gathering resources are classic car shows and antique shops.
SAHC: Is there anything else about the arts here in Sacramento that you would like share with our reader?
DSW: Though seemingly not as established as other cities, the arts in Sacramento are becoming better rooted and are blossoming into a promising scene. There is a mix of the traditional and contemporary artists who have already made themselves a name within the Greater Sacramento area and the younger emerging artists who are spotlighting urban influences and abstract imagery. Though a bit of a see-saw affect at the moment as everyone is competing for recognition, in a strange way the two sides do balance each other. Perhaps in the coming years, Sacramento will be known for its art just as much as it’s known for its trees and architecture.
SAHC: Where can your work be viewed, or found online?
DSW: People can usually find my work at Blue Moon Gallery in Sacramento but as far online, you can find examples of my work at http://dawnstarw.deviantart.com/ or follow me on Facebook at Dawn Star Wood Art to be updated on events and venues I have work at.
If you are interested in being one of SAHC’s featured artists, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org