out onto Gallery Stroll we go on a day that literally felt like being
in a snow globe. It would be way too easy to make the standard Utah
weather jokes here, that's the kind of dribble you would expect on whatever passes for info on
KSL morning radio. But just for a moment this past Friday didn't you
get the feeling that nature was just screwing with us on the way out
of Winter? ...Let's move on before I turn into Andy Rooney and
complain about the hour I lost.
This month I made my way over to The Tin Angel Cafe, enjoying the smells coming from the kitchen and of course the super friendly staff nudging me to stay for dinner. For this Stroll they had painted works from Sonya Dinsdale in full display throughout the dining area. I got a chance to chat with Sonya herself about her career and artwork, plus her thoughts on local art scene and other tidbits. All along with pictures from the evening.
Gavin: Hey Sonya! First off, tell us a bit about yourself.
Sonya: I’m 45, a Utah native and I paint a lot. I enjoy spending time in art museums, galleries and researching art on the web. I also like to read books on artists and rock autobiographies. My recent favorites are New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century and Slash.
Gavin: You went to the U and got your BFA in Printmaking and Studio Arts. What made you decide on the U, and what was the program like for you?
Sonya: I chose the U because I bleed red and white. My program was fantastic—there were a number of inspiring faculty members there at the time, most notably Bob Kleinschmidt, Tom Kass, Doug Snow and George Dibble.
Gavin: How was your time there being a researcher for the Utah Museum of Fine Arts?
Sonya: Have you ever been in a museum basement? It’s a trippy experience. There are thousands, yes thousands, of paintings and objects that never get shown to the public. I had free rein to look through all the collections, very amazing stuff. My main assignment was to help catalogue the African art collection. This experience continues to provide inspiration for my work.
Gavin: You also made your way to UCLA for a time. What made you trade colleges and how was their programs compared to the U?
Sonya: One blustery February morning I wondered how many UCLA students spent their time sunning on the beach, this gave me an idea! Seriously, UCLA’s Art History department was known for their African Art program, so, that is where I wanted to be. The Art and Folklore departments also had a lot to offer.
Gavin: What inspired the collage works that you've produced over the years?
Sonya: I find inspiration everywhere. It could be something someone says, reading a passage in a book, color and texture as seen in a magazine, images in a busy store, a museum exhibit...
Gavin: Do you have an idea of what you'd like it to look like when you start, or does it all depend on what you come across at the end?
Sonya: I don’t really know what I’m going for. I start with an idea, texture or color and as I paint it takes on a life and energy of its own.
Gavin: You've also taken up painting acrylic works. What made you decide to tackle two different forms?
Sonya: I like the way acrylic medium reacts.
Gavin: What's the process like for you when creating a painting, from concept to finish?
Sonya: Just like anything else sometimes it just flows and other times its painful. I would not have it any other way, it’s what I do.
Gavin: Considering the body of work, does it feel more like its an experiment with your skills at times as opposed to just creating a piece?
Sonya: Good question! I can’t do art without developing my skills. Hopefully for the better.
Gavin: You've been doing exhibits for your works for a few years now. What's it like for you hearing what people think of your artwork?
Sonya: I’ve had positive reviews, so I’ve enjoyed hearing about it. I’ve been told that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but this bit of wisdom has not yet been put to the test for me.
Gavin: Tell us about the works you have on display for this Stroll.
Sonya: Let’s see, all of the works in the “Abstractly Yours” show were created in 2009 and 2010. This was a very creative time period for me, I attended many art exhibits and saw first hand key works by Francis Bacon, JMW Turner, Robert Rauschenberg and Leslie Shows to name a few.
Gavin: What's your take on being displayed at Tin Angel and the atmosphere of their restaurant?
Sonya: Love it. It’s a funky space with lots of color that shows off artwork well. With a different artist every month, they’ve been great sponsors of the local art community. The food is also unmatched!
Gavin: Going local for a bit, what are your thoughts on our art scene, both good and bad?
Sonya: Good: Eclectic selection of artists Bad: Too many pictures of canyons, coyotes, cattle, and cactus.
Gavin: What's your take on Gallery Stroll as a whole and how its doing today?
Sonya: It’s awesome, like a citywide party of SLC’s coolest artsy people every month. As an added bonus, you get to see a wide range of local artwork. Utah’s best innovation since Pioneer Day.
Gavin: What can we expect from you throughout the rest of year?
Sonya: I’m going to St. Petersburg, Russia in May to spend many hours staring at art in the Hermitage. That should get the artistic juices flowing.
Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?
Sonya: The Tin Angel Cafe for supporting and hosting local artists!!