We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Gregory Dirr. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Gregory below.
Gregory, appreciate you joining us today. We’d love to hear the backstory behind a risk you’ve taken – whether big or small, walk us through what it was like and how it ultimately turned out.
To me my whole career as a visual artist has been a risk. I grew up one of four brothers in poverty, as kids we lived off of hand me downs, minute rice and top ramen. I have never been in a good position to be a professional artist but I have always had my family’s support and motivation to do what I love in life. My parents thought if I was going to struggle like them at least it could be doing something I enjoy. With the exception of middle/high school jobs, I have only ever been a professional artist. I feel that fully realizing how huge the decision was to be a visual artist at a young age has helped me through the smaller risks that comes with being an artist in my later career.
Gregory, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I have been a visual artist for as long as I can remember. In elementary school I would get in trouble for selling my drawings and in high school I was commissioned by my principal to paint my first large scale public mural. After high school I went on to get my BFA from Ringling College of Art and Design. Since graduating I have been involved in a plethora of different projects such as; exhibitions, curating, public sculptures and murals, woodworking, metalworking, masonry, art direction, installation, photography, video, music, fine jewelry making, printmaking, textiles, set design, prop making, etc. I try to pursue anything and everything in the world of art. One thing I am proud of is my work with non profit organizations. I have collaborated with many non profits over the years but notably I am currently art director for the Sickle Cell Natural Wellness Group and curator for ArtHeart. Something that I think sets me apart from most artists is my use of unconventional materials and processes. I feel my class status has influenced my work greatly, forcing me to go above and beyond my means. 90% of everything I make implements recycling in a huge way.
Can you share your view on NFTs? (Note: this is for education/entertainment purposes only, readers should not construe this as advice)
Not good. It is a heavy subject that I have a lot of opinions on and problems with. My main reason however for not associating myself with NFTs or crypto currency is the effects these things have on our natural environments. One crypto transaction uses enough kilowatts of electricity to power a home for 78 days. The crypto network is responsible for about 114 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. I think it’s sad that a digital thing that doesn’t even really exist in our physical space can have such a negative impact.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?
I really love being able to share what I make with other people. Art is a part of culture and culture exists in communities. It’s almost impossible to create in a vacuum, we all need to be inspired in someway. To me there are two sides to the art process, the cathartic act of creating the art and the sharing of the art with other people. Others’ perspectives on my work helps put it into context for me and helps me to understand it more. I start to realize things about my art that I maybe never would have. One of the best things is getting positive feedback, seeing how my art can brighten up peoples’ lives gives me such a great feeling. Artists create with all of their soul and emotions flowing into the work, it’s nice to feel affirmation about what you pour yourself into. I make my art fifty fifty, for myself and for others. This is why I have such a passion for public art, not only does it take art off the pedestal bringing it into the public for anyone to view but I feel it gives the public co-ownership of the art as well.