ML: The design for this installation has changed a few times since we first met up last fall and you showed me your drawings. How has your thinking about the project and the Skyway as a space changed over the last eight months or so?
JD: Initially I wanted to create a sort of hide-and-seek approach, where my characters would peek out from the edges of the glass. After spending some time thinking about the movement of foot traffic through the skyway I decided to change direction. I’ve always been interested in creating movement in my work, so this new direction seemed familiar and natural to me. I wanted to create a constant flow of energy moving in both directions, weaving in and out.
ML: In one of our early meetings you said that drawing is like a form of therapy for you, can you tell me a bit about how that works (the when, where, and what of your normal drawing practice)?
JD: These drawings sessions usually take place in a coffee shop after work or at my kitchen table on the weekends. There’s this awesome balance of being isolated but not feeling alone when you’re drawing in a coffee shop. There’s great people-watching, inspiration from overhearing bits of conversation, and this all happening after a day’s work allows me to decompress any pent-up feelings or thoughts from the day.
ML: How has that practice evolved during the current crisis? What have you been working on recently or using as a creative outlet? Are there specific folks who you’ve seen responding to the isolation in interesting ways?
JD: I’m still drawing, just not as often. It’s been hard to keep a consistent routine during this whole crisis. I find myself getting distracted by the news, or wanting to snack and watch tv. Although, whenever I finish a body of work, I generally go through a kind of relaxed experimental phase, where I try to branch off into some new directions – no pressure, just seeing what happens naturally.
ML: Can you tell me a little about the work in your most recent show at CO Exhibitions, I Can’t See You Smiling From Here?
JD: I was trying to make larger work that still felt as personal and natural as the coffee shop drawings. I’m also exploring ways to incorporate a wider range of expressions and emotions in my characters and cartoons are the perfect way of implementing that. So a lot of my recent work consists of cartoon like characters.