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

”I loved stickers, they were tiny artworks.”

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.

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!