“Working in my studio, smelling the sea air, observing wildlife, people watching.”
Can you tell me about your background?
I grew up in Northboro Massachusetts- a small suburban town in Central Mass. I moved to Boston after I graduated from Wellesley College in 1990. I have lived in Boston for 30 years. What drew me to Boston was the excitement of big city life. What kept me in Boston was the art scene- I had a studio in Jamaica Plain and I am a member of the Boston Sculptors Gallery.
Can you share an unforgettable story happened during your life in Boston?
In college I was introduced to Flannery O’Connor’s short stories and I became a big fan. After college, I wrote a fan letter to Sally Fitzgerald, the editor of O’Connor’s letters, a life long friend and patron saint to Flannery. It turns out that she was living in Cambridge at the time, and she invited me to meet her for coffee. That initial meeting became the first of many social visits rich with dialogue and conversation about life, literature and all things artistic and intellectual. Sally was a powerful force, who was a huge influence on me becoming an artist and living the artist’s life
When and why did you start sculpturing? Any story behind it?
I started making sculpture when I quit smoking in 1995. I figured that I needed something to do with my hands if I was going to give up cigarettes. The epiphany was that I started to feel very guilty about littering the fiberglass filters and in atonement I started picking up trash in the park where I walked every morning. From that I made my first found object assemblage sculptures.
Who/what was inspired you to become the person you are today?
Joseph Wheelwright is a master carver of stones and bones in the Boston area. I met him in 1995 and joined his wood carving master class to learn how the craft. To pay for the classes, I apprenticed with him and in the process of watching him work in the studio, prepare exhibitions, install work for collectors and ship work around the globe, he became a mentor to me.
Do you have any story funny, touching, or important to you that you’d like to share with us?
The first solo exhibition I had in Boston was at the headquarters of the DPW on Frontage St in South Boston. I approached the director, Bob Silive, with a proposal for an exhibition of my found object assemblage sculptures and he accepted. The guys in the office, seemed to love the work, given that these guys had spent their lives, looking at the stuff that gets thrown away and thinking that it looked like something else out of context. It was great to feel so appreciated and understood as an emerging artist.
What are your passions in life?
Working in my studio, smelling the sea air, observing wildlife, people watching.
What does Boston mean to you?
Boston is my hometown.
Learn more about Donna: www.donnadodsonartist.blogspot.com