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Diane Dobson Barton

Artist's Interview

How long have you been creating?
As long as I can remember I have wanted to be making "things". By the time I was 25 and had decided to go back to get a degree, it only seemed natural to go into some field of art.
What is your medium of choice?
What day is this? It must be ADD because I never tend to stick to one for very long. Some days I may have worked with many different things. I love paper and pencil; because of its simplicity, you can take it anywhere. But I also love color, so oils and soft pastels are another favorite.
What other artists and movements inform your work?
The whole ‘Do one thing and do it well' seemed to be important when I was in Graduate school. That is one reason that Gordon Parks is the first one to come to my mind. The man does everything, tries everything, and seems to make no apologies to anyone for it. Of course he does them all at such a high level that I could only dream of doing it half as well. As far as style I would have to say that I am drawn to Giacommetti. I have always been impressed with the expression in his lines; they are so powerful.
What do you find stimulating right now? How does this influence your creative process?
Right now it seems to be photography, particularly black and white and non traditional methods such as pinhole, and infrared. I love the look of a traditionally printed black and white image with white matt and black frame. It seems very classical. And of course I always seem to come back around to the human form in some way. I love things with a strong visual contrast or strong emotional meaning to the piece.
Read anything good lately?
This was probably the most difficult of the questions to answer. I read all the time. I am addicted to the printed word. A friend that is a children's librarian will often suggest various titles for me to read. By my side right now is "Molly Moon Incredible Book of Hypnotism" by Georgia Byng. I am also reading "The Handyman" by Carolyn See. And of course a handful of nonfiction books on photography.
You have been a regular zine contributor and quite a prolific writer - tell us about some upcoming writing projects. Also how does your writing balance with your art?
Currently I am working on a Black and White photography book. I teach a course on Photography I and II at an area college and I found it difficult over the years to find a good quality textbook for my students to use. Well, one that didn't break their wallets anyway. So I finally decided to do what I said would eventually do, and pulling together all the info I have used over the years of teaching courses and writing my own. I also am doing a rewrite of a pinhole photography booklet that I wrote a few years ago. Since I have been focusing on my writing more, I like to think it has improved. I can see SO many errors I would like to correct on the original version. And like every other writer on earth I am working on a novel. In the back of my mind I play with the idea of writing and illustrating a children's book. To me writing has become one more method of expression. There are times when doing visual art doesn't fulfill my creative desires, and vice versa. I have difficulty speaking about my work itself, because I can't help but think that if I need to tell someone about it, then I have missed my mark with the visual expression. If I need to write or talk about it, why not focus on that alone.
What would you like your fellow EBSQ artists and collectors to know about you and or your work?
That the older I get the more important my family becomes to me. I recently turned forty and maybe it is an aspect of middle age? But awards and money mean much less to me now, than they did ten or fifteen years ago. It is my family and the simple act of creation and that are important.

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