Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you! See all of our past Artists of the Week in our dedicated section.
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? What mediums do you work with?
Deanna Wong: I feel like it's hokey to say that I've been making art my whole life, but it is also true. When I was a kid, I used to make up homework assignments that involved creating some sort of art piece, which made my teachers very confused when my parents asked about how the nonexistent project went. I love to work with my hands, so anything that keeps them busy is a great medium for me. This past year, I've been able to dedicate a significant amount of time to ceramics while continuing to dabble in line art and photography.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
I enjoy art as exploration and meditation. I hardly ever plan out a drawing, choosing instead to focus on general themes while also documenting and gathering inspiration from day-to-day life. This way of doodle-journaling allows me to mold and adapt the artwork as it develops organically. Ceramics is a bit different since it requires the right timing and technique throughout each stage. I'm still adjusting to the rhythm of carving and painting on 3D objects, so for now, I'm focusing on one or two designs while methodically testing new techniques to create a more refined final product. There's a surprising amount of math and science working in clay!
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from.
I'd love to say that I'm solely inspired by the diverse artists in Seattle or the jaw-dropping wonders in our natural world, but I've spent a LOT of time with my partner's cat in COVID-quarantine and it definitely shows in my newer artwork.
Do you have a specific "beat" you like best – nature, food, profiles, etc.?
The "beat" I'm most pleased with is whimsy. I enjoy lighthearted and playful motifs that also make you wonder what you're looking at. Sometimes it is a bit frustrating because I adore haunting and dark works of art, but it's not what my hands want to create. As I continue to develop my style, I hope to someday walk that fine line between cute and creepy.
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
It's hard to pick just one! Each drawing is a bit of a picture-diary since they're highly influenced by day-to-day events and thoughts in my life. I often sit with a drawing for weeks, so looking back, I can see elements of what was happening in my life or where my headspace was at the time. I've also kept a few of my earlier ceramic projects where the glaze turned out just right. There's a particular bowl that has this beautiful runny glaze that is my number one ice cream bowl.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
I spent six years living and working in Los Angeles after graduating college. It was grueling to work in the entertainment industry, but also thrilling and inspirational to be surrounded by wildly talented creatives that also happened to be my friends and roommates. Nights were filled with doodling circles, Bob Ross paint nights, fort parties, endless dancing, and frequent house shows. Weekends were reserved for year-round hiking and camping in the most majestic places like Big Sur, Yosemite, and Zion. Despite graduating film school, I likely wouldn't have continued to pursue art had it not been for my friends encouraging me to explore all avenues of creativity and adventuring with me into the unknown.
If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
You can follow my art updates on Instagram @dwadlings and come say hello to my face at the monthly Bakers & Makers Against Racism Market at Sloop Tavern! It's a great pop-up where each vendor donates a portion of their sales to an organization in the community. The next market is Saturday, June 26, noon to 4 p.m. and proceeds from my ceramic sales go to benefit the Black Farmers Collective.
What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?
I'm really excited about the upcoming cat-inspired plate designs! I switched the primary clay body I'm using and am testing a few different applications, so I'm looking forward to where that takes me. I also recently got back from a month-long road trip where I explored several states I haven't ever seen before. I'm still processing many photos and ideas from that trip, so I hope to share them soon. It was an amazing experience, and I'm thankful that I was able to convert my car into a camper to do the trip in a COVID-safe way.
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? (We ask everyone!)
The way they do down under — an iced coffee, which is a shot of espresso over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.