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Dana Kearley

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Hi! My name is Dana (like, Day-na). My pronouns are she/they. I use them interchangeably. I am an artist and illustrator on unceded territory belonging to the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations (aka “Vancouver, BC”). I make most of my work in Photoshop, but I also use pen, ink, oil pastel and various acrylic mediums. A lot of my inspo comes from '80s and '90s pop culture, fashion, graphics, stickers, album art, film, tv, music, etc. I LOVE colour and like to play around with light, shadow, gradient and texture. I carry a sketchbook everywhere.

Most of my work is incredibly personal, even if it isn’t obvious. My identity informs a lot of it — I am a queer, chronically ill and disabled individual, so there’s also always a thread of queerness, mental & physical health, disability and healing woven into my work. The playfulness and positivity that comes through is part of the way I cope with past trauma and my precarious health. <3

Artists Q & A

Where do your best ideas come from? (dreams, shower, museum, train?)

Childhood nostalgia, my chronic illness, chats with creative friends, ‘80s films, cartoons. 

Did you have a magic moment when you knew you wanted art to be your life?

Art is always what I wanted to do, one way or another. So it is only natural that I am an illustrator. I have always gravitated to illustration — even as a little kid. I loved books, but mostly for the colourful images. I loved cartoons for the animation and colors and textures! I also loved stickers, and I remember looking at them as if they were tiny artworks. I still feel the same today. 

On a project, what’s the rush like when everything clicks?

Euphoria & anxiety subsiding!

Where do you work? What’s your workspace like? Any objects you’ve had a long time?

I am chronically ill, so I usually work around how I am feeling. On good days I love to work in my studio, surrounded by my treasures, trinkets, books and art, but I also spend a lot of time working in bed. 

”I loved stickers, they were tiny artworks.”

How does creativity run in your family, even if it’s not design-related?

I have always been into DIY stuff, probably because of my parents. My dad did a lot of DIY projects around the home and my mom made crafts for a time. I think it showed me that if you want to make something then … just do it! 

”I loved stickers, they were tiny artworks.”

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