Photography: Tasha Tolliver via Palette Home
Artist “Dede” Dandridge has a long history in the arts, including decorative painting, original abstract paintings and more recently her exciting venture into the world of textile & wallpaper. The subtle tribal influence and fresh color in her textiles tells a beautiful & unique story along with her original paintings.
We can’t wait for the full tribal reveal on Thursday, June 6th with some wine & live jazz! Save the date!
GETTING TO KNOW “DEDE” DANDRIDGE
PH: Where did you grow up?
DD: I had the incredible opportunity to grow up in Virginia, Germany, England and Colorado. Extensive travel in Europe exposed me to many culture’s art, architecture and design at an early age. This combined with a summer in Kenya and Tanzania, and four years in California, post college, have all played a factor in influencing my style of abstract art.
PH: Can you describe the moment that you first realized that creating was something you had to do?
DD: Since third grade, where my portrait of Sonny & Cher (yes, little known fact, I was a big fan of Cher’s and wanted to dye my hair black) won my school’s art contest, I’ve known that painting is a part of who I am. And what I have to do. That same year, my teacher enthusiastically taught Impressionist Art History. My parents were floored when visiting the VMFA that I was able to identify each artist and title of of the Impressionist Collection.
PH: What has been the path leading to being a full time artist?
DD: No matter what job I had post college til I became a full time artist in 1999, I always painted … often having to improvise when I didn’t have room for a studio. Like in 1992, when living in a rustic carriage house on Mt. Tam in Mill Valley, I threw a tarp on my porch balcony, then was able to roll out raw canvas and work on the roof. This was the technique I’d naturally gravitated to my senior year of Hollins College in creating my body of work. Ironically it was similar to the New York School of artists that my art advisor, Bill White, later introduced me to. Further encouragement came with a sell-out Senior Show!
Today, I begin my acrylic paintings in a similar way. Using a large work table in my studio vs the floor, but still preferring raw canvas due to the to affects that can be achieved; staining, pouring, layering, dragging, etc. Then stretched upon completion.
PH: What do you feel is integral to the work of an artist?
DD: I believe we all have a gift. This gift has kindly been bestowed on us. Once we hone onto that gift, we have a responsibility to share it. This faith brings us and others joy. (And is the secret to life). In my case, it is my hope that as a conduit of God’s glory, that my paintings inspire and encourage in a way that words can’t express.
PH: What inspired the tribal theme for the show in June?
DD: In November I released my newest wallpaper designs: The Tribal Collection. The original paintings for this were inspired by nature (Banyan Tree bark) and primitive American Indian designs. It was natural to continue the theme for this show. The Congo Mask Exhibit at VMFA, a stone relief fish fossil in Park City and discovered artifacts from the Atocha shipwreck at Mel Fisher’s Maritime Museum in Key West also impacted the work in this series. I love applying varying acrylic mediums and encaustic wax to try to capture these culture’s rich textures: beads/feathers/fossils.
PH: What does the tribal culture represent to you?
DD: The deeper meaning this series has is the longing each of us has to belong. We need to celebrate: the gender tribe you identify with … the family tribe that raises you, the race tribe you’re apart of, your national tribe, your religious tribe, your neighborhood tribe, your school tribe, your work tribe. We are all social creatures at heart and need to remember we are not alone. We need to remember that we belong to many tribes.
PH: At what point did you spin off into textiles and wallpaper?
DD: Designing wallpaper was a natural transition from my background as a decorative artist. Seeing the resurgence in wallpaper, I decided to take the plunge five years ago! In the ’70’s, I fell in love with this wallpaper we had in Germany – it had 7ft high, brightly colored poppies! This attraction to design and pattern continues … paintings often consciously and sometimes subconsciously, evolve into wallpaper. With the help of technology, the painting’s scale/color/repeat transition into the design for wallpaper. And playing around with it more, open the door to textiles. People tend to be more daring with textiles than wallpaper.
PH: When creating a textile pattern, do you always work from an original piece of art?
DD: Yes, always! This discipline makes my designs unique and give a hand painted look.
PH: What are your favorite ways to see your textiles used?
DD: Pillows, drum shades and benches, but would love to see an upholstered accent chair or headboard done.
PH: What direction do you see your textile art going in the future?
DD: I’d like to see my textile collection in 5-6 home accent boutiques around the country, so there’s a presence but not overly saturating the market. Currently Dandridge Art textiles are available in Richmond and Charleston, SC.
PH. We are honored to present this exciting collection of original paintings and fresh colorful textiles! It’s going to be a fabulous reveal in June – we can’t wait. Thank you Dede!
Photography: Tasha Tolliver via Palette Home