Featured Artist Dana Scott
Interview by Teresa Shields
Dana Scott is a MamaCITA and a multi-disciplinary artist working in the Philadelphia area. Her work is about observation, discovery, and detail. It is inspired by natural form and pattern, and the beauty within simplicity. She received a Masters degree from Tyler School of Art, Temple University and a Bachelors Degree from Rhode Island School of Design. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally, and been the recipient of numerous awards including a University Fellowship from Temple University and a Fulbright Fellowship to the Czech Republic.
She currently teaches in the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering, and Commerce at Philadelphia University. See more of her work here.
Recently, MamaCITA Teresa Shields interviewed her…
Teresa: When you were 12 years old what were you passionate about? What did you do for fun?
Dana: Wow, that’s tough to remember in my old age.
I’ve always loved art and making things. I remember finding a quote by Picasso when I was quite young, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once [s]he grows up.” That stuck with me through that transitional, pre-teen period.
I also loved music. At that time my favorite bands were U2, The Police, The Clash, and maybe still Duran Duran. Just before 6th grade, I remember I went to get a haircut, and I told the stylist that I wanted to look like Sting – not a smart move with my wavy, cowlicky hair.
T: When did you decide you wanted to be an artist?
D: When I was in 7th grade, my sister was a junior in high school and looking at colleges. I would look through her catalogues, and that was when I decided that I wanted to go to RISD [Rhode Island School of Design]. I didn’t even know much about it, I just decided, “I like New England, they have a good jewelry design program, that’s where I want to go.”
T: Are you doing what you imagined you’d be doing as a kid? How alike or different is it?
D: Somewhat, I guess. I didn’t make the decision that I wanted to teach college until junior or senior year of college. I am not sure what I imagined myself doing… becoming a jewelry designer, I guess. I’ve never really romanticized much about my future. I was never one of those girls who thought about what her wedding would be like, or even her dream job. I never really understood that mindset. I’ve always had fairly specific goals, and everything else is pretty fluid.
T: Did you always want to have children?
D: Yes. I always imagined myself with 2 sons. I’m not sure why. But, circumstantially, that’s what I ended up with. However, by the time it came to having children, I didn’t have any preferences.
T: Are you happy with where you are right now?
D: For the most part. I get passionate about a multitude of things, but I am not necessarily organized enough and I don’t have enough time to fully realize everything…
and that can get frustrating. I am currently trying to balance my artistic interests with my pedagogical interests. They overlap, but I get antsy if I am not making art, even if I am actively writing about it and teaching it.
T: When you get stuck with your art how do you become unstuck?
D: I don’t have a good answer for that. I usually have to give myself a good kick in the ass, and most likely there is a deadline and sleep deprivation involved.
Answering these questions is actually getting some juices flowing. So, upon further reflection…writing about my work, teaching and planning projects help to generate momentum. But deadlines usually work best.
T: If money and time were no object, what kind of art would you do?
D: Installation. I love working with and transforming spaces. Money and time are the main constraints that prohibit me from doing that. Space is only a minor issue. I am also re-gaining an interest in working with glass. It is an expensive and time consuming medium, but those are not the main reasons why I took a break from working with it. Philadelphia University has a new (and super cool) Surface Imaging Lab. I am hoping to write a grant to get some larger scale prints done on glass. That would take care of the money part, then I’ll just need to find the time…