Career Journey – Dana Edmonds has a multidisciplinary practice that is balanced between painting and graphic + web design. Born in Montreal, where she currently lives and works, Dana received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in ﬁne arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, Halifax (1990). She has also studied Graphic Design at – Dawson College and Art Education at McGill University. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Canada and the US, including One Earth, One Chance at the Rebecca Gallery, Toronto (2016), Show Your World at Gallery MC New York, New York (2016), the Ontario Society of Artists Exhibition at Neilson Park Creative Centre, Toronto (2016) and I am NSCAD at the Anna Leonowens Gallery, Halifax (2015). She is a recent recipient of an award from the Canada Council for the Arts to produce new paintings.
My recent work employs the medium of oil painting to explore various forms of urban waste and its relationship to overconsumption. This new series renegotiates painting as being part of a reactive commentary on environmental issues and representations of nature in contemporary society. Demonstrating the omnipresent lingering of a ‘materialistic world’ through these landscapes, I look to develop forms that do not follow logical criteria but are based on subjective associations and formal parallels. Working from photographs rather than actual memory, my process further enhances and questions this aesthetic of distance. How intimately do we know our surroundings? What do we choose to ignore? What is valued versus what gets thrown away? By exploring the grotesque concept into the beautiful, I draw attention to these questions and concerns, inciting the viewer to make new personal associations between art, everyday life, and mass culture.
How was your University time?
I went to Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was amazing. I have learned the lesson that I still hold on today like you need to live to say as an artist. I was able to explore, experiment, and make mistakes creatively with some amazing teachers’ support. I did a BFA in fine arts. Ironically, it was my last semester that I discovered and fell in love with oil painting.
Why did you choose a career in this field?
Without sounding flaky, it chose me. I always knew I was going to pursue being an artist since I was 6. I had very supportive parents who encouraged me to pursue the arts. I did branch off into Graphic Design before I focused most of my time as a professional visual artist. Everything I did for income was always in one way or another in the creative world.
What was your first job or nuggets from jobs you had that helped you get to where you are today?
I’d say it was not a job that helped me get to where I am today, but my years at University and the people I met there. A friend from College called me for my first design contract at the National Film Board of Canada for a catalog called “Black on Films” and the video “Speak It! From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia,” a film Sylvia Hamilton. Also, I learned a lot from professional mentors from the many design jobs I had over the years.
Things are changing very fast in the industry; how do you keep yourself updated.
I believe that you should never stop learning. I’m always teaching myself new things out of interest and to gain more skills.
Advice for someone looking for a job?
Don’t wait around for opportunities. Make them by doing the work you want to be doing. Contact places where you want to work at and cold call them. It is a lot easier to sell yourself when you are interested in the place, project, position, or job. Always remember that you are interviewing them too.
Also read How I Became a Multidisciplinary Artist