In conversation with Berlin based Dana Gusman (DANA).
Can you talk about your journey into or interest the arts?
I started my art journey when I was 2 years old. Art has always been one of my favourite things to do. My mother and I used to paint, draw and create all kinds of things together.
She has always been my biggest inspiration.
Since my childhood, a lot of things in my life have changed – my family moved to a new country when I was 14 years old, and then I left again to another country when I turned 30.
Unfortunately, my family and I don’t live in the same country anymore, but we are still best friends forever. Two things that will always stay with me in be the most important thing in my life, are my family and art. They will always be there, no matter where I go.
In between, for many years, I haven’t been creating anything at all and was busy working, travelling and finding myself.
However, lately, I started creating and making art again, with full passion and drive. I am very happy and grateful for this opportunity.
It’s my old self again that finally came back, when my life has settled in Berlin and shortly after, I decided to start a new journey by opening a new business – my online art shop.
Do you use a sketchbook? I’m interested in what a sketchbook means to you and your work?
I have a sketchbox. It’s like a sketchbook, but the artworks are in the box.
This is something I came up with, when I started making smaller paintings and sketches, because I was experimenting a lot on different papers, sizes and colours but I still wanted to have them all together, just like a sketchbook.
Sketchbox is a place that feels like a tiny home to all the paintings and keeps them all together, just like a family.
It’s always nice to look back and see how they are changing with time and it’s also a great way to look for inspiration when I need.
Your work prints are often influenced by the natural, in abstracted form. Can you talk about this?
I have a very strong connection to Nature. I spent a lot of time in my grandparents house in a small village. I loved walking along the river and on the hills, collecting little rocks, leaves and flowers.
I miss it very much, since I now live in a big city and don’t always have opportunity to spend time outdoors.
This is probably the reason my paintings are usually having this asymmetric, free and ‘wild’ personality, which is a nostalgic contrast to the squareness of the walls and furniture in the apartment, just like a little piece of nature.
What do you explore through your work?
When I create, I am always trying to find out what feeling shapes, colours and details bring.
In abstract paintings in particular, people often see things in their own way, so the exact same artwork can often represent a whole different experience for each person.
It is quite interesting to see how it can be impacted by their personality, mood or curiosity.
Technically, I am exploring how different types of materials and mediums work and react together as well and the possibilities are just endless.
Can you talk about your process of working. How do you work, how often, is there a particular pattern?
At this point, I am doing my best to keep a good balance between spending time with my family and working on my new art business.
During the days I am being a full time mother and at the evenings I am ‘going to work’ in my home studio.
My working process starts by creating paintings, playing with shapes, sizes and colours.
When the painting is done, the next step is scanning it to the computer and editing until I’m happy how it looks. It can happen very quickly or it can take days for each piece to be done.
I usually don’t have any vision or plan for the artworks in advance, I like to test and experiment, so the cool thing is that I don’t know the direction it will take.
There’s always a surprise effect and I never get bored of the process. This is why there is always kind of an evolution when you look back to my older artworks.
I also enjoy combining both analog and digital worlds into my art. Since I was born in the ’80s, I am familiar and comfortable with both, which makes it useful and easier in this case.
Do you find the process of creating work relaxing or therapeutic? I’ve become increasingly interested in the relationship of the sketchbook and the work to the artist.
If I could choose any activity for my free time, the number one would always be to make art, because the feeling of freedom is simply addictive.
This is a pure, intimate relationship and a ‘date’ with myself, exactly like meditation.
Every time it gives a new opportunity to dive inside, express my feelings, to think, to feel, play, to get excited, to breathe and simply relax and be present in the moment.
Sometimes I listen to some music that makes me feel good, but mostly I just enjoy the precious, quiet time and the process of new creations.