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Check out Terri Dilling’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Terri Dilling.

Terri, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I am a bit of a late bloomer as an artist, eventually finding my way onto this path. I started with a degree in TV/video, working in television news, video production and graphic design. I grew up in Indiana attending Indiana University, then lived briefly in North Carolina before moving to Atlanta. Atlanta has been home to me and my husband Jon for over 20 years. My graphic design work pulled me towards visual art. Though I had been interested in making art for a long time, it took a while before I had the courage to pursue it professionally. I went back to school to study painting and printmaking at Georgia State University, graduating in 2000, and have basically developed my art career here.

I am really grateful for the wonderful artist friends and art professionals I have met in Atlanta. I have been fortunate to show at many galleries around town, including Sandler Hudson Gallery, Mason Fine Art and now Pryor Fine Art, as well as with galleries outside Atlanta. I have worked collaboratively with other artists on installation projects, created art for the Atlanta BeltLine, and helped found the non-profit Atlanta Printmakers Studio, which turns 13 this year. A printmaking residency in South Africa, sponsored by the Fulton County Arts Council, was an amazing cultural experience and helped inspire me to get involved with the print studio in Atlanta. Other art residencies have been important to me as well, providing space and time away from home to make art and meet new people. The Hambidge Center in North Georgia is one of my favorite places for this.

Another experience that has been really significant for me was receiving a grant from the Center for Chemical Evolution, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and NASA. The grant enabled me to work with scientists, learn about their research and create artwork in response. This project culminated with an exhibit at the Spruill Arts Center in 2012. It caused me to see my work in a new way, thinking about molecular structures and chemical reactions, allowing visual elements to react with each other or bond to create new evolving forms. These ideas continue to be an influence on my work today.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My art is abstract, and very inspired by nature. Through gestural marks and organic forms, I refer to the landscape around us, and also the emotional landscape within. I love color and all the different moods that can be expressed by different combinations, sometimes bold with lots of contrasting colors and sometimes subtle with a minimal palette. I also love using line, whether it be an elegant line that meanders through the composition, or a rough scribble that makes an emotional impact.

From an art perspective, I draw on the history of landscape painting to create a sense of space and depth. I also draw from abstract expressionism to focus on the act of painting itself and the emotional content in the art. Since I have a printmaking background, this gets incorporated too. My paintings contain some textures and patterns that are screen-printed and this adds a unique quality that is different from a hand painted mark. For me, these patterns represent the underlying structures of bigger forms and a way to try and look at micro and macro worlds at the same time. I am fascinated by the concept that physical matter is mostly empty space, comprised of smaller particles constantly in motion. As a result, my paintings emphasize verbs more than nouns, depicting a sense of energy, growth and movement.

My own combination of putting these ideas and influences together is what helps define my voice as an artist. Although I enjoy a lot of different media, I primarily create paintings on canvas and cyanotypes on paper. I am interested in expressing beauty and complexity and finding a sense of balance in the work. This mirrors how I want to appreciate the beauty and complexity around me and create order and balance in the chaotic flow of my own life. For viewers I hope to provide a visual world where you want to jump in, walk around, and stay a while.

What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
I think one of the most important qualities for a professional artist is self-motivation. Not only do you create the art, but you create your own schedule, your own deadlines, your own network of support, your own path for getting your art out in the world. It is a lot of hard work both in and out of the studio. There has to be an inner drive to do it, because let’s face it, this is a pretty crazy path to choose. It also helps to be autodidactic. I love that big fancy word that means self-teaching. I continue to explore new ideas and materials and teach myself new techniques which helps push the artwork. Even keeping up with technology and social media to promote and share my work requires constant learning.

Many people define success in terms in terms of how many shows you have or how much art you are selling, and while I do desire these things as part of my career, it is not the center point. I think that success is being able to nurture that urge to create, to develop your own authentic voice as an artist, and to keep it up over time. Life, relationships, family, jobs and other things can pull you in many directions, so if you are able to find a way to keep making art over time it should be celebrated as a big success!

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My website and social media are a great way to keep up with my latest work and what I have going on in Atlanta as well as around the country. The best way to support me (or any other artist) is to collect art, so do more of that! Also follow me on Instagram. When you like, comment and share on social media it really helps reach new people and that can be so beneficial. Locally, I show at Pryor Fine Art where they have paintings as well as some works on paper. I always recommend seeing art in person!

764 Miami Cir NE Suite 132, Atlanta, GA 30324

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Image Credit:
Terri Dilling

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