We had the good fortune of connecting with Dina Wakley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dina, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
The Confident Creative by Cat Bennett. Cat is a drawing teacher from the DC area, and I love her practical approach to creativity. She said two things in that book that were life-changing to me. The first is that your results will be equal to your devotion. I love that. What are we truly devoted to? If I am devoted to my art, then I will have great results. I think a way to measure devotion is how you spend your time….do I spend time on my art? Do I put the work in? The second thing she said that if you expect accuracy (when you start drawing), you will just be disappointed. Releasing yourself from the need to be accurate is very freeing.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is focused on expression and play. I start with visual journaling and then expand to abstracts–non-representational and figurative. I love color and layers but I also love white space as a visual respite. I got where I am today by 1) making art for ME and not to please others (this keeps my art authentic), 2) working hard, working consistently, not worrying about failure or making bad art and 3) meeting my deadlines (when opportunities came my way, I never flaked out). I always tell people that if you want to be successful, do those three things. My story is pretty simple, really. I love to express through color and words.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take my best friend to two of my favorite spots–West Fork trail in Sedona and the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson. Next up, a museum tour–Phoenix Art Museum, the Heard, and the Musical Instrument Museum. For shopping, we’d hit up Sweet Salvage, The Tattered Nest, Bucky’s Boutique, Scraps of Love, and Changing Hands Bookstore. Food must include Chino Bandido, Caramba’s, La Piazza al Forno, Cibo, Honey Bear’s BBQ, Los Dos Molinas, the food court at Ranch Market, and Greek Wraps. We’d visit Phoenix Scuba every day so I can teach her to scuba dive, and then hit up Lake Pleasant for some fun dives and kayaking.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I discovered the art of Lynne Perella on the pages of Somerset Studio magazine in the 90s. I fell in love with her colors, layers, and narratives. I was a paper crafter at the time, but longed for something more. I decided to start “trying” art, and turned to art journaling first since it’s a safe place to play and explore. That’s how it all began!