When did you first know you were an artist?
Just a few years ago! I’ve done many creative things in life: film, writing, performance art, photography, even healing arts, but I rarely called myself an artist, even though I loved the arts and my college degrees focused on art. I guess I was insecure. Then a few years back, I had an earth-shaking event in my personal life that changed how I saw everything. Suddenly, all things were up for question and I saw myself for who I really am, a creative being pulsing through life, trying to make sense of the world by expressing myself, creatively.
Favorite medium(s) you use to make art…
Mixed media, the written word, photography, film.
What are the most interesting new trends in your field? Is your work changing as a result?
Technology is the most interesting trend in art both in the making of it and in the sharing and marketing of it. There are so many tools available to create what we want to create. Fields that used to be cost-prohibitive or highly specialized are now accessible and affordable. We can use our iPhones to make movies, create photographs, use programs and apps to create unique effects, as well as combine classical arts with modern twists. Technology is also making it possible to share our work with literally the entire world through the Internet and social media. I’m just beginning to access the possibilities, but I’m very excited.
Talk about your creative process – where/when do you get most of your ideas and how do you know a piece is ‘finished’?
I get inspired by nature. Going for walks in the forest or kayaking, which is what my husband [musician Michael Bisio] and I have been doing lately, calms me. Really we just float—we don’t actually use our oars all that much—but being on the water and looking up at the sky, hearing the birds and other creatures, ideas come to me.
How do I know a piece is finished? It’s like walking into a house you want to buy or an apartment you want to rent. You walk in and you love it. You get that excited feeling and you just know this is it. That’s the same with my work. I get to a point where I get that feeling and I just know!
Who was your most influential mentor and why?
Unfortunately, I’ve never had a long-term mentor, even though I’ve always wanted one, but I have had key people along the way who have had a big impact on me. I once had an art teacher in college who had one leg shorter than the other. She wore striped socks with what looked like handmade shoes from a cobbler and she used to hobble around looking at all our art. She also had a boy’s haircut and buck teeth and a weird grin. She was such a character! I watched Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire in her class and then drew large black and white sketches. The movie haunted me. She taught me how to “see” something that I felt. I’ll never forget her for that. Currently, my husband, Michael, is my mentor-ish inspiration. He’s so sensitive and full of contradictions, warm and creative. He’s a powerhouse. I enjoy witnessing his process, and he’s very disciplined! I have trouble with time management, so I learn a lot about that from him.
What are you working on now?
After Mobile Home, the large scale mobile that I’m making for my current show, Dirty Laundry, I’ll be creating multi-panel reverse fabric paintings that are illuminated from the back, as well as a glass stone nature painting, also illuminated, but as a scene in both daytime and nighttime. I will also soon be off to the Dunes on the Cape for a writer’s residency!
How has being in Kingston enhanced/inspired your work?
I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but it’s been awesome. From the moment I moved here, I’ve always felt that this was a town that embraced artists and that there was room for me to be a part of the scene and for me to explore and grow. Sadly, despite all the seeming opportunities, I never felt those things when I lived in the City.
What do you like best about living in Kingston/being involved with MAD? How long have you been here?
I like the diversity of Kingston. There are all these interesting, unexpected pockets of Kingston, different kinds of people, fascinating history, and the sense that Kingston’s brewing with new creative energy. Midtown, in particular, is getting very exciting. We’re developing an identity here, and it’s a good one, and it’s evolving.
Featuring Dawn Bisio, Daniel Cardenas, Chelsea Culpepper, & Aaron Lockhart
August 5-19, 2017
Lace Mill, East Gallery
165 Cornell Street, Kingston, NY 12401
Opening: Saturday, August 5, 2017, 5-8 PM
Michael Bisio plays opening
Contact Dawn Bisio 845-616-7133 to arrange viewing after opening