Online Feature // Dea J

Introduce yourself - Tell us about you and your creative genre.
I call myself a multimedia artist because I work with multiple mediums. I allow the needs of the project to determine which medium I use. However, the genres I'm most comfortable with are photography and film. I went to school for film in Houston, TX.

What inspired you to pick up a camera?
I found my love for storytelling and photography in a very random way. I was taking a general art class at The Art Institute of Houston. For our final assignment, the professor gave us creative freedom to create a project any way we'd like. I chose to tell a story through a series of still images. From there, I transferred into the film department and began making films.

How do you decide on a title for your work?
I'm awful at coming up with titles! Usually I'll try to grasp the essence of a project, then I'll search for a word or phrase that captures that essence (usually using the dictionary!). Often, the initial title will work as a working title. Later, I'll have an idea for something better suited for the completed piece.

What advice would you give those hoping to go into film/photography?
Use any camera you have available and start taking pictures and telling short stories. Doing this you'll begin to discover what captures your attention. You can use a camera phone, a point and shoot- anything. Just start creating. You'll evolve from there.

Thus far in your career what has been your favorite project?
The mixed media series I did titled 'Imbalance' is my favorite so far. It was my first mixed media series, so I wasn't sure what to expect. The reaction to the series was great! That project taught me to create with what I have.

What do you hope to capture in your portraits?
There's beauty in every face. Sometimes the most beautiful parts are obvious, other times you have to search for them. I love finding that beauty and displaying it.

What do you hope to accomplish with your photography?
I want to keep finding new ways to incorporate my photographs into larger bodies of work. I like the idea of creating through several different mediums, but speaking on the same theme.

Describe the process of creating your mixed media piece ‘Imbalance’?
The art series developed in conjunction with the short film of the same title. During rehearsals for the film, I took photos of the dancers in order to document their progress. After looking through the images, certain ones stood out. I got the idea to use some of them in an art piece after discovering a hands on way to transfer the images to canvas. The textured look and feel of the pictures came about as a mistake! I wanted the pictures to transfer cleanly. However, after showing the works in progress to several people, I received so much enthusiasm to the pieces as they were. After that, I did a little tweaking, but kept the textured look much as it is.

What do you enjoy most about working with mixed media?
I love using and mixing things that I normally wouldn't use together. I find that by using more than one medium, I can tell a fuller story. Instead of seeing something through just one lens, mixed media creates a deeper story by showing a relationship between the various elements. The pieces then become multilayered. There's the story of the actual photographs, but then there's also the story of how the different mediums relate.

Why do you believe it’s so important to support others’ passions?
@@Helping people discover and pursue their individual passions is at the core of my passion!@@ I love being a source of encouragement for someone who has a dream but hasn't yet developed the courage to pursue it. When people tell me that I had something to do with them taking the next step to pursue their dream, I am overjoyed!

What inspires you?
A lot of what inspires me is irritation and anger at the way certain things are in my life and in the world in general. I want this world to be a better, kinder, healthier place. Some of the events that are occurring are downright disturbing. Children should be able to move about freely without being hurt or molested; people of any color should be able to live without fear of harassment; artists should be able to earn a real living for their work; animals should be able to live in their natural habitats; the list goes on! These things bother me. I want the world I live in to be so much greater, so I work to do what I can to realize this vision.

What is your creative process?
After reading 'The Artist's Way' by Julia Cameron, I started keeping a journal. I write in it everyday. After awhile I'll start to notice that I'm complaining about the same issue over and over. That gives me my subject matter. Ideas for which mediums would work best come randomly. Sometimes I'll see something while I'm out shopping and I'll want to incorporate it in the work. Other times I use sites like Pinterest for visual clues as to the direction I want to go in. I usually have to start a project with whatever idea I have at the time, and then from there see what step to take next and which elements to incorporate into the existing work in progress.

What was the first creative thing you did today?
I worked on my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project.

Coffee, Tea, or something else?
Tea and hot chocolate! And trail mix from Trader Joe's. Or original Goldfish crackers...

Favorite Movie?
The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Then the Matrix and Lost In Translation

If you could own one piece of art history what would it be and why?
I feel like it's more important for art to be experienced. I'd like to have been there to watch Maya Deren create her first dance films.

Where can people find you? 
I keep my website updated with news and new projects: