We had the good fortune of connecting with Davana Robedee and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Davana, what are you inspired by?
In a dream, I once traveled to a different dimension. I flew through a space between worlds that was filled with all of the lost objects from every universe. My body was pummeled with shoes, pencils, socks, treasures, and trash. This was the space where all objects go when not directly observed. Objects that are truly lost manifest more strongly in this realm, while objects on the verge of being rediscovered are transparent. From this place in between the worlds, I emerged through an elastic-like skin into a place with no color. In order to return to my correct place, I knew that I needed to remember color- but as I explored I lost the concept completely, and realized I would be stuck forever. In a panic I pounded my fists into walls, screaming and crying. Suddenly as I grew more and more enraged red bloomed behind my eyes. As if seeing it for the first time, I completely vibrated. My body rang with all of the emotions that comes from the experience of red. My consciousness grew beyond the bounds of that dimension and it ejected me into the void- where I flew again- pummeled by all the things forgotten before waking up in my own bed.

Dreams like this one and other strange phenomena have happened to me throughout my life. Because I am aware of how the brain performs “trickery”, I am always questioning the nature of reality. In my artwork I lean into this curiosity- using forms and images lifted directly from my dreams. I adopt methods of creating that seek to “turn off” the conscious brain and pull from an intuitive space. Instead of sketch books, I have journals full of stories, including a dream journal that I’ve kept since high school. I don’t offer conclusions. My experiences offer no answers to the universe. I see my artistic practice as a tool of curiosity and a method of exploration.

That curiosity leads to drawings, fiber art, sculpture, but my end goal is always an immersive installation where each object works with the other in a dream world.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
For me, making art is more about the way I have decided to live my life- rather than a destination or metric of success. Following a creative lifestyle has lead me to the most interesting friendships, beautiful communities, and overall it allowed me to become a better person. The challenges at every stage of an artist’s career are going to be time, space, and resources. Because of that, the path ebbs and flows as life moves us along. I have managed those challenges by shifting to different areas of my practice. For example, when there is little time to make- I shift to the inspiration mode and use my energy to look. When there is little space but I have time, I shift my energy to administrative where I focus on exhibiting work already created. When there are fewer resources, I have shifted my methods of creating entirely to find a medium that I can afford.

My mindset has always been that if I create until the day I die and no one ever sees any of my work, it is still worth doing because of the invaluable impact making art has on the quality of my life. This does not mean I am not ambitious about pursuing opportunities, but this attitude keeps my practice alive through hardships.

I am most excited when I am in the middle of creating a new work. For me that is when the art is the most alive and pliable in my hands. I feel like I am constantly chasing the high of a new project and that keeps my work fresh and new.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am more of an outdoorsy person, but I love good food. I would certainly plan a hike to a waterfall or some vista and end the day with a delicious meal.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I currently work at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. It is truly a phenomenal organization that has allowed me to grow as a professional and an artist. Rarely is a creative person luckily enough to see their “day job” as a huge part of their practice. The Schweinfurth is a unique place that has the credentials of a large institution but the agility of a pop up!

Website: www.davanarobedee.com

Instagram: @davana.robedee

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.