Tell us a little about yourself, your work and your art practice.
My name is Dayna Larson, and I originally started my art journey as a form of therapy. In the last two months I have had to quit my career working as a Medical Laboratory Technologist, due to four years of chronic migraines associated with the working environment. Unfortunate yes, but it’s a blessing in disguise. It has been my dream for years to make art more of a full-time endeavor, and along the way it has turned into so much more than I’d ever thought possible. From a young age, I’ve been very connected to the Earth and wildlife around me, which has reflected directly into my art. My focus is on bringing the viewer to a place of beauty, for even just a moment, while also subtly incorporating pressing issues being felt by our surrounding landscapes and socio-economic struggles. My friends and family like to call my style “Abstract Surrealism” and I express it in various mediums. I love working with oil paint and gouache, because I am actually able to make my own paints using natural pigments. Any chance I can lessen my impact on Mother Earth, that is always my go-to. I strive to do everything in my power to lessen our impact on the planet in a few ways, starting with upcycling things like snowboards and skate decks as canvases. I use sustainable and non-toxic paint products and materials for every piece that I create, and if shipping is required I always package my products with Mother Nature as my first priority. I work hard to find a balance between creativity and sustainability, hoping that my actions will help in the quest for lifelong fresh water, thriving ecosystems teeming with biodiversity and snow covered mountains for generations to come.
“My pledge to Mother Earth as a creative being… is to do everything in my power to protect this utopia we call Home. I believe there is a direct correlation between the health of our planet and the health of our minds, as the two problems go hand in hand. Before we can heal the planet we must first heal ourselves as a whole, and not just as a part. My vision goal as an Artist is to help the viewer reignite their inner child’s eye, by bringing forth bright colorful palettes that please the senses. Children see the world in its purest form, untainted, and without bias or greed. I want my viewers to see the beauty in my work, but also understand the underlying messages that I weave into each piece. Our Earth Mother has supplied us with abundance and now it’s our time to protect her. My soul speaks, and my brush follows.”
What have you been up to these last few months?
I have been working on my personal health after finally removing myself from a very toxic environment (Laboratory work). Anyone who has experienced a migraine will know my pain. I loved the work I did, but when it came down to it… my overall health took a hard hit, and from now on my personal health has become my main priority. Soul searching, painting and connecting with nature is what has brought me out of the long slump I fell into. Meditation, yoga, gratitude and fresh air have saved my life and even though I am now needing to decide how I want to make a living, I have never been so excited. Whether my new career will be a full-time Artist, or maybe I’ll find myself heading back to school… either way, I am ready.
I currently have a show running for 6 weeks at the Frog Peak Cafe. I am so blessed to have this opportunity, and from the day I had my first smoked salmon eggs benny from the Cafe, I dreamed of having my art on their walls. The dream is now a reality, and I am still having to ask myself if this is real!
Has your practice or work changed at all or been affected, and to what extent, by the pandemic?
The pandemic has brought many pressing issues to light in today’s society, and I honestly feel as if my art has taken a leap into that positive light. Before this pandemic, I was working lots at the Hospital in Nelson, and painting in my spare time as my form of therapy for dealing with all the emotions I would take home from work, let alone the constant headaches. I created a piece at the beginning of it all, called “Behold” where I literally drew cupped hands holding waterfalls, bears, moose, deer, mushrooms, trees and all sorts of nature. From then on, I have been making it a priority for all my work to have a meaning, usually deep in nature.
The pandemic has scared me in the sense of how we are treating the planet, treating each other, and the fact that all of this is happening because society has lost its spiritual connection with our Earth Mother. Since the start of the industrial revolution, we have been stripping the Earth of her resources faster than she could replenish them. Society’s inability to find and create a working symbiotic relationship with our changing planet will surely cause another mass extinction. Corporate greed, cutting down of Old Growth forests, and pushing wildlife out of their protected environments is what terrifies me the most. I know all of this was going on before the pandemic, but so much darkness has been uncovered in the world since the beginning of all this madness, and I truly believe that if we do not change and fix what we have destroyed… pandemics like this one will continue to happen over and over to the point where nobody will have the chance to experience this utopia that we call home. I also have realized that our minds are our most important ally, and a healthy mind is a conscious mind. With so much trauma and chaos happening in the world today, I truly believe that there is a direct correlation between our minds and our empathy towards the Earth. If humans continue to live with such disconnect to one another, and to themselves… we will undoubtedly destroy not only mankind, but the wildlife and planet itself. This is why I am firmly committed to donating 5% of my profits to mental health initiatives here in Canada.