Instagram: @dorothydotcool

1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, which fuelled my love of art from a young age. My parents were hippies, and very creative themselves, so I naturally gravitated toward being an artist. In my twenties, I spent quite some time in Japan, where I really discovered myself. Tokyo feels like my second home in a way. It was there that I started my illustration journey by making posters for friend’s bands – it was a way to be involved in music without needing to possess any musical ability!

2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

Well, when I first started illustrating I only used black India ink. I challenged myself a few years ago to start using more color, and I kind of got carried away from there! I love vintage psychedelic art, old book covers, and the colors and textures of old printing processes. 

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

Although I haven’t been able to do it in years, my favorite medium is woodblock printmaking. I love everything about the process! I was a printmaker in college, and carving images into wood was how I developed my current style. 

4. What is your artistic process like?

My process is a lot of intense, prolonged art block, followed by sudden bouts of manic inspiration. 

5. Who and/or what inspires your work? 

I am obsessed with the idea of creating a visual language within my work, which means I draw a lot of inspiration from periods in history where art was ripe with symbolism. I find my work most heavily inspired by medieval European art, and ancient Greece. There is something deeply fascinating about all the motifs they used possessing unique meanings, and how they tell a story without using any words. I try to blend symbols from art history with ones I’ve developed for my own narratives. For example, I often use birds in my work, which to me symbolize the connection between our physical bodies here on earth, and the spiritual realm or afterlife. I use them quite often to express the act of carrying grief in one’s daily life. 

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

Art is inextricable from my every moment of existence. I have a hard time processing things verbally, so art helps me translate my emotions into something tangible. The most amazing feeling is when someone connects with a piece I’ve made, and we bond over some unnamed emotion.

7. Where did you study?

I studied at the University of Oregon, where I got where I majored in printmaking and contemporary Japanese studies. 

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years I’d like to be doing a lot more editorial illustration. I’d also like to be making textiles, and just generally spending more time creating and making. 

9. What about in ten?

In ten years I’d like to be only doing things that I like doing! Living in a cabin by a river, deep in the woods would also be nice. I find myself inching closer to becoming a hermit with every passing year. 

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

To elicit emotion in the person consuming it. 

11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

I love figs! All year round I wait for the few weeks in summer when the fig trees in my city ripen. I even have my favorite fig trees all mapped out! Figs are such a powerful symbol throughout history as well, so I feel transported to another time or plane of existence when I eat them.

12. Favourite book?

I recently read Circe by Madeline Miller and it was incredible. It felt especially poignant during lock down.

13. Favourite genre of music? 

I like to classify myself as a music snob, but in reality I love all genres. So guess I’m really more of a fanatic. If I had to pick one though, it would be Krautrock… or maybe Jazz. I think I feel most passionate about encouraging people to listen to Disco, though. It was a very important genre that gets a bad rap! 

14. What are your hobbies? 

Right now I’m trying to get into home fermenting. So far I’ve only managed to turn a large batch of kombucha into a gallon of vinegar…

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

If I weren’t an artist I would definitely be an archaeologist. I have so many daydreams of going back to school and becoming an expert on Bronze Age Greece. Most nights I fall asleep to lectures on YouTube about Mycenaean mosaics or something of the sort.