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

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