MaritaDingus

Mixed Media Sculptor

Marita Dingus

From the moment you set foot in Seattle, you can feel it: art is everywhere.

The thriving arts scene is a priority in this city—in fact, Seattle has been recognized for having more arts-related businesses and organizations per capita than any other metropolitan area in the U.S., according to Americans for the Arts. Mixed media sculptor Marita Dingus is one of the contributors to this creative city. Read on for a look at the city through her artistic lens.

Q&A with Marita Dingus

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

The Seattle Art Museum’s African art collection. It’s a huge, significant collection that remains vital and relevant. African art is my passion, and at SAM I get re-inspired. I also enjoy visiting Mariane Ibrahim’s gallery—she features contemporary African photography and mixed media work. I’m fascinated by contemporary art, especially at the Frye Museum, and at Facèré Jewelry Art Gallery (which carries my jewelry), for their unusual pieces from all over the world. And even though it has nothing to do with African art, I love glass art. It’s beautiful! I use glass in some of my mixed media figures, which you can see at Traver Gallery—where you can also see work by Dale Chihuly, Preston Singletary and other contemporary glass artists.

What gets you excited as an artist?

I’m a junkie for the colossal. Like Mount Rainier! I’m such a fan of big installations—like John Grade’s huge tree installed in the SAM lobby—because they put me in my place. They put humanity in its place. Mad Art Studio has wonderful, big installations. Echo, the giant head at the Olympic Sculpture Park, is amazing. Bainbridge Art Museum, which you can walk to from the ferry, always fills its big front window with huge pieces. And one of my favorite places is the Porcelain Room at SAM. It’s floor to ceiling! I love being overwhelmed by art. We should all be overwhelmed.

How is the Northwest reflected in your work?

I use discarded, recovered, recycled materials—people give me all kinds of stuff. So there is an environmental spin. I grew up in Seattle when the Keep Washington Green campaign was going on. Littering was not allowed! Also, while I mostly create figures, I include a lot of greenery—flowers, trees, leaves. My work has an African focus, which folks don’t associate with the Pacific Northwest. But the Northwest does have a folk art tradition. This place feels like it’s at the outer reaches of mankind, so that sense of remoteness plays into the art.

What do you do when you aren’t making art?

I go rollerblading on Alki Beach! Or along Myrtle Edwards Park. The views are beautiful and I love feeling the breeze.

 

Interview by Brangien Davis. Photo taken at Alki Beach.

Watch

Marita Dingus talks about her art and process for Seattle public television station KCTS.

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