We recently connected with Deedee Hampton and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Deedee, thanks for joining us today. What’s the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you?
I create art because i enjoy the process, it offers me solace in a chaotic world and it gives me a way to explore both my inner & outer landscape. It is integral to my being. I seriously don’t know what i would do if i didn’t have my creative outlet to turn to. Art saves lives! I have been working as an artist my whole adult life- from owning a stained glass studio to managing a large arts & crafts complex where i also taught workshops – the Mootz Family Craft & Design Center in Estes Park; to where i am now -painting both “Spirit Animal” paintings and “Magic, Mirth & Mystery” paintings, along with creating fun “found object” idiom inspired dioramas and large clay & mosaic totem sculptures. Focusing on 4 different art expressions definitely keeps me entertained and reflects my motto of “endless possibilities”! For years i have worked in my painting & clay/mosaic studios selling a bit of work online & through our annual Estes Park Open Studio Tour (this year August 6 & 7) – mostly to my wonderfully supportive friends & family. Thank you!!! But at a certain point one begins to wonder if the artwork is interesting enough or good enough that complete strangers would buy it? In May of last year, one of the owners of our fabulous local Estes restaurant “Bird and Jim’s”, asked me if i would be interested in hanging some of my art on one of their walls & selling it. Since then i have been selling art to people from all over the world on a regular basis. It is hard to express how much that kindness of asking me has meant to me!!! It fills me to the brim with gratitude & inspiration to know that all sorts of people like & appreciate my art work!!
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
I moved around a lot as a kid- every couple of years and took to art like a duck to water, as my escape from all the trails & tribulations of always being the “new kid”. In college after switching from a biology major to philosophy to psychology, I finally landed in the art department at LSU. My good fortune was to discover my first art mentor there- Paul Dufour -who had gone to Yale and studied under Josef Albers. Paul taught color theory and organized the first stained glass degree program from a major university in the USA. I graduated with a Master’s in stained glass. Color: big, bold, and bright along with line and interesting shapes are my “thing”- thanks to Paul, in my paintings. Living in Estes Park & surrounded by beautiful nature, inspired me to create my “Animal Spirit Paintings”, which can also be seen on 2 utility boxes near our post office & on a banner as you enter Estes in the summer time. The “Magic, Mirth & Mystery” paintings are big & colorful and come from both my intuition & my outer landscape. This year we had 3 swans visit Lake Estes & they are so magical that i painted them along with lotuses & snow & 3 mysterious doors. I have done lots of traveling: India, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Japan, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, England, France, Italy, Portugal and even Burning Man several times. I have fallen in love with folk-art on these travels- the travel influences of amulets & oddities, saints & sinners, miracles & magic and symbols both ancient and personal appear in my art work. For example, my idiom inspired dioramas (such as “We Are All in the Same Boat”, “Holy Sh*T!, “Couch Potato” etc.) are created in the style of Mexican folk-art shrines: they are playful, multifaceted constructs of embossed metal and objects that fit the theme. The large clay & mosaic totems came about from a clay class i took from another mentor, Katy Diver, who is a clay artist in Longmont, and my love of Gaudi & Nikki St Phalle mosaics. I started combining the two mediums to create interesting narrative totems. My clients love that my work has so many “layers” to it! As one said to me recently, “I can never get bored with your pieces as there is always new things to discover!”
Do you think there is something that non-creatives might struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can shed some light?
Many, many, many times I’ve been told “You are so lucky that you can paint, that the art just flows out of you, that you are so productive…” etc. Yes- I am very, very, very lucky that i have my art to turn to – to work out ideas and emotions. I am ever so grateful!! But – and this is a big BUT- it doesn’t just happen- i have to show up in my studio over & over again. And some times i really dislike & feel anxious about the piece i am creating and sometimes if i stick with it i fall in love with it and sometimes it sucks. As an artist, i am not just creating art- i am framing it, making labels for it, updating my website (which i really, really need to do btw!) , posting on social media, helping to organize the Estes Open Studio Tour, creating business cards & other art related products, entering art shows online, hauling my stuff to shows or galleries, buying art supplies- paints, brushes, clay, mosaics, metal for embossing, surfaces to create on etc, feeling uncomfortable about self-promotion etc. I’ve also had people be a bit upset with me because i’m not as available to them as they would like- which really tears my heart out- i can’t be an artist making art if i’m not actually doing it. Honestly, some days it is really hard to find the balance.
How can we best help foster a strong, supportive environment for artists and creatives?
One of the best things anyone can do is to buy original art. Some places to look for it are: websites, etsy shops, art fairs, galleries, personal studios, restaurants or coffee shops; tell artists that you really like their work if you do; if you have a space, you could offer inexpensive studio space to rent; show up at art openings; financially support & ask for art programs in your home town- the schools, utility boxes, murals etc. Let your public officials know you want to see more art please. Take art classes- it such a wonderful experience to get your creative juices flowing (its also good for brain development- creative problem solving) and as you learn different techniques, whether it is painting or learning to play the piano or dance or crochet or whatever, you develop a new appreciation for the art you see out in the world!
- Website: deedeehampton.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/d2hampton
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deedee.hampton/
“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” Friedrich Nietzsche