Alicia Dunn tries to live every day like it’s Sunday. The artist, a Southern California resident, talks about her creative “treehouse,” near-telepathic commissions, and Pacific inspirations. She is the creator of abstract paintings with synergetic colors that embody the big, buzzing forces of the natural world.
What is your favorite piece in your UGallery portfolio?
My favorite paintings change all the time. After living with a piece for a while, I sometimes come to appreciate it in a whole new and different way. My current favorite is Great Stories Happen to Those Who Can Tell Them (below). It’s a very strong and dynamic piece with layers and layers of texture and color. I could never get tired of this piece because there’s so much visual stimulation.
I also love Tempest, which I recently completed. It has everything I strive for in my work: energy, rich detail, complex texture. I love the way the colors play off each other giving it a strong vibration. I also like the fact that it’s created on a hand-built wooden panel; from the canvas to the paint there is so much handwork involved.
Have you had any memorable responses to your work?
Probably the most memorable response was to a commission. When it was hung, the collector looked at me, perplexed and asked, “How did you know?” As if through magic I created exactly what was supposed to be in that room, on that wall. I’ve had other collectors tell me that it was as if I got inside their brain and created exactly what they were looking for. My favorite moment is when I deliver a piece and I hear an audible gasp….that is always a high!
What is the most rewarding part about being an artist?
I love that what I create is an object that brings joy to the viewer. I also love knowing that my work is spread around the globe and will endure long after I’m gone.
What is your studio like?
My studio is my muse. It’s on the premises of my living space, which is on two very private, beautifully landscaped acres. The studio is on a second story, surrounded by windows with beautiful light pouring in. I enjoy expansive views of the mountains to the East and the ocean to the West. I call it “my treehouse.” It even has an outdoor room where I keep art books that I thumb through in my downtime.
The centerpiece is my wooden worktable, a heavy rustic piece, splattered with remnants of paint. It’s been with me for about 20 years and keeps getting better with age.
My paints are stored in a very large Asian apothecary chest made from reclaimed wood. Each drawer is color-coded to keep my paints organized. There are always lots of canvases on hand in a variety of sizes. There is a large open-sided covered barn on the property where I work on large three-dimensional pieces. Tosh, our lab mix, is always by my side, his black tail usually spotted with paint.
Where do you find inspiration?
I live in a Southern California beach town. The ocean, sky, the sand and the mountains are the backdrop of my visual world. The beach, in particular, is a constant presence and the movement of the water, the shape of the waves, the swiftness of the wind, the patterns in the sand, the flight of the gulls and sundown seem to reveal themselves in my abstracts.
What is one word to describe your art?
Do you have any passions besides art?
My greatest passions are trying to live as simply as possible and treat each day like it’s a Sunday. I walk, hike, cook, watch videos, make frequent trips to the dog park and the farmer’s market, take in sunsets at the beach, and enjoy breakfast out as often as I can. My favorite getaway is a trip up the California Coast to Big Sur. That drive never gets old for me. My husband, my two grown girls and my black lab mix Tosh are my heartbeat.