Up close and personal
Runway Gallery artist Dara Vandor draws provocative, sensuous images that entice the viewer
Runway Gallery is an exciting new online venture that showcases contemporary art for the home – including the hand-drawn work of Canadian artist Dara Vandor. her highly precise drawings – images of lace, silk and lingerie – explore the boundaries between private and public.
How did you become an artist?
Being an artist was always a dream of mine, ever since I was a child. I’m a solitary creature, so the long hours working alone suit me well. But when I told my parents I wanted to go to art school, they tried to discourage me, urging me to take a ‘real degree’. So, I took Art history, the closest thing I could get to the subject I really wanted to learn, and then spent most of my time sketching the paintings we were being lectured about. I became an accomplished doodler, which led me to my current style. Being away from paint and brushes pushed me to work more with the pen.
What is the main medium in which you work?
I work with felt-tip pen on canvas. every image is made up of tiny lines, dots and squiggles. It’s slow work, but to me that’s the point: in an age of endless fast images, I like the idea of slowing down the eye, of pulling the viewer in to look more closely.
How would you describe your creative process?
Slow. I often hang out with an idea for a long time before pursuing it. I like ideas that can stay with me, that age well. I hope that those qualities are transmitted to the viewer, and ultimately the person who ends up living with the work.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find travel immensely helpful for opening up the mind – though the root of that lies in the untethering of the creative brain from the mundane. By turning off screens and other distractions, by not worrying about ‘real life’ (unwashed dishes for instance), the mind is allowed to meander, to make connections that are subtler than the busy brain can produce. A long hot shower can also be immensely helpful for sorting out ideas and connecting the dots. I have been known to take several a day just to formulate plans!
Are trends important to you?
Absolutely not. I think they’re dangerous for an artist. once you start thinking that way, the work becomes fast food. Art must inspire, lead, provoke, elaborate, or else it’s just a backdrop. A wise piece of advice I once received is that the role of the artist is to play offense. the moment you’re on the defensive, following the pack, you’re in trouble.
What are you working on at the moment?
my new series of drawings are inspired by memories from my adolescence, and centre on the particular mix of curiosity and surveillance that women reserve for members of our own sex.
Have you ever been surprised by a reaction to your work?
Not really, although I do find it interesting that certain pictures still have the power to shock viewers in an age where we have become largely immune to images.
What would you say to anyone wanting to buy art for their home?
only buy what you love. there are no secrets in the art world, there is no magic formula. Don’t look at a piece of art as an investment. If you buy what excites you, what you know you’ll want to look at every day, then you can’t go wrong.
Become a collector and explore Dara Vandor’s work at Runway Gallery, an affordable way to find distinctive art for your home at the click of a mouse. Visit runway-gallery.com for more information and to buy.
Next month Stylish, striking, disturbing, arresting: this is the photographic work of French Cowboy, a creative collaboration between artists mia macfarlane and Julien Crouigneau.
3 Garters limited edition print, £495, by Dara Vandor