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Local Artist Spotlight: Donna Estep

Walker Evans Walker Evans Local Artist Spotlight: Donna Estep
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Like many artists, Donna Estep produces her artwork during her spare time while holding down a day job to pay the bills during the daytime. But Donna’s position allows her to work with artists on a daily basis in a very satisfying manner.

We recently spoke to Donna for a Q&A session in our Local Artist Spotlight series, which you can read below:

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your personal, professional and educational background as it relates to art?

A: Growing up, I was a lot like other artists when they were kids, I loved to draw and paint and work with clay. This love of artistic media followed me through high school and as I was heading to college, I thought I would “at least take some art classes” while I was there deciding upon my career path. I began attending Morehead State University and declared my major as history with the intention of going for my law degree. That didn’t last long. The classes were awful, the professors were depressing and I was homesick. Heading into my second semester, I changed my declaration to art and headed back to Ohio to attend Wilmington College. I graduated in 2001 with a degree in Art Education. I moved to Columbus and started looking for teaching positions and started working for United Art and Education. After a while, I realized that I really enjoyed working for the company and am still there now after 10 years as Assistant Manager. I use my degree every day working with parents, teachers, and artists.

Q: What type of media/mediums do you work with, and what type is your favorite to work with?

A: Being trained as an arts educator, I do a lot of different things. I’m mostly a process oriented artist and the journey I take to create a piece is more important than the end results. My favorite mediums would be acrylic painting, of which the majority of my work is created, and printmaking. I’ve been doing some relief printing and am hoping to get my studio set up to accommodate silkscreen by the end of the year.

Q: A lot of your artwork seems to revolve around pop culture. Where do you find inspiration for the subjects that your work depicts?

A: I have always been a big fan of pop culture and the nostalgic feelings that it evokes. I love bright colors mixed with intense blacks. I actually started this series, with creating an image of Shakespeare for a friend for a gift. After I made that one, I couldn’t stop. Images that inspire me the most are of famous people that are iconic that everyone can go, “hey that’s…” I’ve been branching out into 2 other series along with continuing to focus on my portraits. A series of modified portraits, like with Frida Kahlo giving the viewer “finger guns” and a neighborhood watch sign with Frankenstein in the center. I have also been playing around with modifying these portraits into old 8 Bit style images that are blocky and simplified. I was hooked on Nintendo and loved my Game Boy growing up and this is a nod in that direction.

Q: Do you find that focusing on cultural icons and imagery helps to make your artwork accessible to a wider range of people who might not normally consider themselves collectors?

A: When I started making them, I was totally blown away by the response that they were given. I’m finding that people of all ages feel a connection to them and that is awesome to me. You don’t have to be an art collector to want to have a portrait of someone famous that you appreciate. I like fun art. It’s open and it doesn’t need to have any real deep meaning, except to the viewer.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about Cap City Creatives and your involvement with that group?

A: Cap City Creatives is a collective of artists from all disciplines that work together to network, put on the occasional show, contribute to the Columbus art scene and overall have some fun together! Anyone is welcome to come and take part in our biweekly meetings at Travonna Coffee House.

I joined Cap City Creatives in November of 2010 as a casual member and I started participating in shows and helped to make an art dispensing machine for the Columbus Arts Festival last year. Whitney Works, who started the group, was accepted into a Master’s Degree program in Philadelphia last fall. She asked me to help lead the group, along with Tricia Maguire and Derek Stewart, in her absence. We’ve added Darrell White to the mix and now we have an amazing steering committee. I usually lead the meetings, and run the social media aspect of the group. I love working with the members of CCC, and they have become extended family to me.

Q: Any big plans for the rest of 2012?

A: More of the same, I’m hoping! CCC just participated in the Columbus Arts Festival in the Independent Art Group tent, and we’ll be at Independent’s Day and working on an end of the year show, currently titled Artmageddon.

Q: Are there any opportunities for our readers to currently see your work?

A: I have work showing on the walls at the Travonna Coffee House on an ongoing basis.

More information about Donna can be found online at craftasticallycrafty.blogspot.com.

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