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artist spotlight: Dinah Kirgo

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Nicole Paulus works at Altered Space Gallery in Venice, CA and we’re happy that she has supplied us with a guest post on one of the gallery’s featured artists! take it away Nicole…

Venice Beach local Dinah Kirgo is not only an Emmy award-winning writer and an excellent baker, but she is also a creator of playful menageries inspired by hallucinations that she experienced as a child. The hallucinations came flooding in shortly after returning home from a tour of European circuses with her family. Drawn lines that look like sewn stitches connect images of comets, creatures and volcanoes with those of rockets, globes and hands.


From the moment I laid eyes on these fantastical collages, I yearned to know more about their creator. What makes her tick? What artists is she following? And most importantly, who does she prefer more, The Beatles or David Bowie?
Since Dinah Kirgo is virtually invisible on the World Wide Web, I had to do some digging the old fashioned way, via interview. Judging by her honest and thoughtful responses to my questions, Dinah Kirgo seems like a down to earth gal that I’d fancy grabbing a cup of Joe with any sunny afternoon. The truncated version of our interview below will hopefully shine some much-deserved light on the insanely talented woman that is Dinah.


If you weren’t an “artist” what else would you be doing?
Writing a movie about the artist, Margaret Kilgallen. Designing textiles.

How have your pieces changed over time? How do you expect they will change over the years?
I’ve only been working on these collages for about a year, so it’s too early for an evolution.  Hope they improve.

I have always written throughout my life but I tend to rely heavily on writing at my lowest points or my darkest times. Do you feel this way about your art? When do you feel most compelled to start a new piece?
That’s great that you’re able to write in troubled times. In my darkest moments, I wallow and am completely unproductive. The act of making anything is almost always uplifting, even if it doesn’t turn out exactly as you’d like. As a writer, I feel most compelled to write when I have a deadline.  So far, with the collages, as soon as one piece is done, I want to start a new one. Who knows how long that will last?

Do you ever feel like you were born in the wrong era? If so, what era would you most like to be a part of?
Doesn’t everyone feel like they were born in the wrong era?  It’s too easy to romanticize the past, but I do think in America, we’re inclined to swap old with new too readily. I like the idea of merging the past with the present. It makes whatever you’re talking about richer and more full-bodied.

You have very little web presence. Is it safe to say you are anti social media?
Having not come of age with social media, I’m not sure how the whole thing works.

How do you think social media has shaped the art world, negatively or positively?
I hope social media hasn’t shaped the art world.  I do think social media has made it possible for anyone to have a voice and a global audience, sometimes at the expense of having anything worthwhile to offer. Wow. That sounds pretty judgmental. Sorry.

What past or present artists do you follow regularly? Which “new” artists are you most excited to follow?
Philip Guston, Horace Pippin, Margaret Kilgallen, Greg Colson (my husband), and Tom Sachs.

What are you asking for Christmas this year?
World peace and a pair of gold earrings.

What advice would you give to a talented young artist who is trying to break into the art world?
Be your own biggest, most tireless supporter.

Do you play any instruments? If not, which one would you like to play?
Tragically, I don’t play an instrument.  Slide guitar.

Name a book or movie or song that changed the way you see the world.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

And finally, David Bowie or the Beatles?
Yes!

Dinah Kirgo’s fantastical, dreamlike collages are currently on display at Altered Space Gallery at 1221 Abbot Kinney in Venice, CA and available for purchase at www.alteredspacegallery.com.


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