Published on July 29, 2015. Interview by New City Arts 2015 Summer Intern, Aly Hancock. Kaki Dimock has exhibited with New City Arts at the WVTF and Radio IQ Studio Gallery, and participated in the 2014 New City Artist Exchange. New work by Kaki Dimock will be on display at the Downtown Mudhouse in September. I am excited to introduce her as the next interview installment in our 7x7x7 Series.
Name one of your favorite Charlottesville places to take an out-of-town visitor.
Walk the Monticello Trail to see the gardens and amazing fruit trees at Monticello.
Who is one living human who inspires your practice?
All the animals in the world and beyond inspire my practice. Josef Beery is a human who inspires me.
Explain your artistic work in seven words.
ink, watercolor, animals, built world, connection, reconciliation
What role, if any, have mentors played in your artistic practice?
My mom who gave me my first set of pens in the first place. Maureen Lovett and Kendall Cox and Patrick Costello who thought other people should see my work. Matt Kleberg who told me to stop drawing the same thing all the time. Judy McLeod who told me I should be purposeful and intentional and acknowledge that I make choices in my work. My dogs who tell me I can draw whatever I want.
Describe your ideal environment for creative work.
A comfy couch, lots of natural light, strong reading glasses, a brand new 005 Micron pen, 1520 books on animal anatomy, a beautiful piece of illustrator board or clayboard, 4 sleeping dogs forcing me into a precarious position for drawing, and unrestricted amounts of time. A light rain and a grey fox in the yard makes this whole scene sublime.
How has your practice changed over time?
I am more intentional now. I start with close to a finished image in my mind more of the time. I challenge myself more. I sketch more. I still have few expectations of the drawings, draw for the joy it brings, laugh hysterically about a walrus full of fireworks, tell myself jokes, have conversations with wild and ghost animals.
What would you like to see more of in Charlottesville to support artists in our community?
I am sad that so many galleries have closed or reduced hours or down-sized. Art is good for our brains, our souls, our understanding of each other, our ability to communicate with ourselves and others, our community. We need more not less, in all its forms…so, more space, more opportunity to share work in progress, more risk-taking, more collaborative projects between artists, between agencies, in general, in the world. Art is good for us. And we are ALWAYS better together.
The opinions expressed in this interview are solely those of the artist and do not necessarily represent the policies or positions of NCAI.
Kaki Dimock explores how the animal and human world co-exist in other-worldy habitats. She reveals the complexity beneath the surface of an ocean, land, animal, or house by drawing fragile boundaries between evident and obscured spaces and places. Illustrating moments of surprise alongside seemingly compulsive repetition, Dimock’s work exposes the hidden, vast interiors of oceans, elephants, countrysides, and snakes.
Animals are often cast in the starring role in Dimock’s plays in order to make up for lost time they’ve been spending hidden in the forest, under water, behind fences, and beneath porches. Her mostly friendly beasts and creatures help investigate struggles like isolation, interdependence, control and conflict through curious scenarios. Her colorful approach to complex human needs examines serious, even sometime dangerous, experiences in startling and deceptive ways.
Kaki Dimock holds a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.S.W. from Columbia University. Dimock is the executive director of the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless, a wildlife advocate, and prolific illustrator. Since 2011, she has exhibited in solo and group Virginia shows at The Garage, The WVTF and Radio IQ Studio Gallery, Shooting Star Gallery, Second Street Gallery, and McGuffey Art Center. One of her most significant works is a 30’ by 20’ public mural completed in 2013 with The Charlottesville Mural Project in downtown Charlottesville.
Dimock lives in Schuyler, Virginia, in the boonies outside of Charlottesville with her partner and their many furry and flying family members.