Meet Our Muse: Dahae
We are are huge fans of your work and you, which leads us to wanting to know what is your creative process when you're creating a new piece?
Nothing is as new to me as an old sketch rediscovered, and nothing is older than the painting I am laboring to complete with new ideas in my head. My thoughts are not linear and neither is my creative process. I want to paint the way a tree grows, my creative process being nothing but thinking and feeling. My art is just my experience of the world, reflected upon then recorded. I am not sure if I think in the language of my paintings, or if I paint the language of my thoughts- it’s my chicken or the egg analogy. My thoughts consist of not words but with the shapes and forms that exist in my paintings. My paintings are the physical manifestation of the immateriality of (my) life so when I am thinking about them I am interchangeably thinking about (my own) existence. It’s very meta and idiosyncratic. It’s like trying to understand the meaning of life while simultaneously creating it. Does it make sense? It’s so complex and cyclical, that it keeps me painting forever. For a tree to grow, is to exist. For me to paint, is to exist. Simply put, my creative process is just my mode of existing.
There's so much emotion in your artwork, what does your work mean to you? What do you want it to say to other people?
I am simply an emotional person and I value feelings and emotional intelligence as one of the highest truths to exist. In a way, I think of all my works as self-portraits, an extension of myself created and existing in a certain momentary slab of time. Art objects are the artifacts from a place that doesn’t exist, the documentation of a world unseen- my internal world and self. They act as material carriers of the immaterial- holding truths, housing feelings. I think another reason why my work is emotional is because I genuinely love them. The kind of love one would have for another human being, or oneself. They are everything I know to be true. They are the only things I can call my own; I am inherently alienated and they are the only things that exist in this world that are from the same place as I am. Often I make work for myself to consume. Not much of the external world interest me, they are so foreign. My installations are the halfway point between my internal world and this external world. It's a realm you can enter and have one foot in one world and the other foot in another. I don’t want to control the way my work is read but I do hope it serves as an impetus to look inwards.
Your art is a part of your personal growth and exploration. If you could tell women one thing in regards to self-love and personal growth what would it be?
Your art cannot mature until you mature as a person. One of the most important aspect about my art is understanding the different ways a single painting or concept can exist, without it being any more or less than another. I’ve come to understand that there are always endless modes of existence to a thing- many stages and states, without destroying the “original” essence of the thing.
As humans, we are never in a fixed state. We are constantly changing and it is hard to judge or assure ourselves if our essences have been destroyed or not. This causes us to feel insecure, anxious, and fragmented, to not even be able to hold on to what we think is ourselves or our own. We feel we have lost, we mourn the loss, we begin to look for the pieces to fit the void created by the loss, often externally.
As I have learned through my art, I want women, humans to know that there are versions of oneself and these versions are neither any more or less than another, good or bad, desirable or undesirable...etc., but merely just stages and states of oneself in a momentary slab of time. No one is static. No one is wholly good or wholly bad. Often, we declare judgments on things we cannot truthfully claim to understand and we falsely categorize humans (often ourselves) as personified vice or virtue. In our thinking, many fail to unite the dichotomy of both positive and negative attributes of the self and others into a cohesive and realistic whole. We must always remember that in between two extremes, there always exists completely different alternatives and modes, much like the versions of ourselves we often cannot define, but can only accept. How to know, but to feel?
You’re a young artist on social media, not only do you showcase your art but a lot of your personality comes through as well. What has your experience with social media been like? Have you experienced any challenges that stem from opening up your artwork and personal life on social media?
I’m very detached. It’s really hard for me to actually have a concrete grasp or an understanding of the world, physical or virtual, and I don’t fully process anything unless I make work about it. So, I’m not sure how my experience has been like. I’ve received so much love, which I appreciate. I’ve been degraded and negative judged, and I simply don’t care about it. I probably already experienced every challenge that can stem within social media, in real life, so it doesn’t really concern me. I’m a huge nerd though so using social media for my art has been most useful in the way that it got me interested in the concept and philosophy of digital beings and the techno-self. I’ve been doing extensive research for fun, so I can one day relate it back to my studio practice.
You have some beautiful tattoos, which one has the most meaning to you and why?
I get my own art tattooed and the pieces I transfer onto my body aren’t selected masterpieces. They are a page from a sketchbook, a digital file I prepared to make a screen print, a drawing I did years ago, etc. There was a time when I felt like my own self, life, and creativity wasn’t mine to love, to possess, to control. I wanted to claim and validate myself and my art as my own, so I started getting tattoos to inscribe art onto my existence. Tattoos are the same philosophy and desire as filling the world with my paintings- externalizing the internal- except the external is not the world but my own body. I wanted my external self to be in unison with my internal self so that I may never forget, even when I am the most vulnerable and alone, the truth.
Dahae wears the Bra Top in Pink
Photography: Tyler Hayward