Hello and welcome to the 44th 3 Art Questions With Jackson interview! This time I interviewed super talented painter Donna Bruni Cox. I have always admired her skilled, colorful, and unique paintings and she has had kind words for me about what I do, which I really appreciate. I found inspiration in what she had to say here and I believe you will too. Thanks for reading! (All images courtesy the artist. Instagram: @dbcstudio / Website: www.donnabruni.com)
Jackson: What inspired you to be a painter, and an abstract painter specifically? Did you have a particular experience?
Donna: I remember drawing in sand at the beach when I was very young, making marks, paths and pictures, then watching them magically wash away with the tides. I loved the freedom and impermanence of it. I was always coloring, drawing, painting, designing, making things. In elementary school a pastel drawing of mine was selected for the school art fair. From that point on, I was the artist in my family. In college, I spent many hours in studio art classes painting and drawing, while studying graphic design to become a working artist. As a painter, abstraction was a natural progression for me. I was captivated by the pure language of painting and its ability to express emotion, energy, essence, spirit, form and shape of things. Living in New York in the mid 1970's, that door opened for me through weekend museum and gallery visits. I started to think about painting more seriously. I remember seeing Picasso's monumental painting, Guernica, at MoMA and feeling the depth and power of abstraction to express feelings of humanity. Studying paintings in museums is how I began to understand the mystery and beauty of visual language. I took a weeknight painting class at the School of Visual Arts at that time, but it was years before I had a studio and would focus on developing a body of work.
Jackson: Following you on social media I have noticed that you travel a lot and paint in different places. Do you think this impacts how you make art? Is location important to your process?
Donna: I have family in a lot of different places, so that helps. I think of travel as moving out of my day to day life and into the daily life of other places. Since I work from memory in my studio, movement is important for changing perspectives and shaping visual ideas. I make all kinds of visual notes and iPhone photos from planes, trains, cars, boats and walking. I use the downtime when travelling to think about a lot of different threads to pursue in my paintings. When I am back in the studio painting, I begin with color and a feeling or sense of imagery. Collected images and personal stories are part of the painting process at every stage.
Jackson: If you could meet any artist living or dead, who would it be and why?
Donna: I'd love to wake up in another time and visit the studios of many women painters, Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, Emily Mason, to name a few. As far as contemporary painters, there are many women artists working in diverse mediums who I'd like to meet. I'd probably ask them these three questions!