Q&A with Visual Artist, Winter Dior
By Bridney C.
It is a pleasure to interview Winter Dior for the Sweet Scoop.
Winter is a 28-year-old visual artist from New London, Connecticut. Raised in an artistic household, both of their parents are artists, and their father did a lot of sculpture while they grew up.
Their father still "dabbles" in photography, and Winter inherited their father's photography talent when they received their first SLR from him. From there, their father taught them how to use it properly.
They also grew up experimenting with paints and canvas. Their mother allowed them to enter a painting or two in some of her art shows when they were a child.
Winter's mother has a Master's Degree in Creative Writing. Their mother is also a published poet and painter.
In this edition of Q&A, Winter Dior discussed what their artwork represents, how they chose the name, Winter Dior, and their top 3 favorite art pieces.
Bridney C: When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in art?
Winter Dior: I have always wanted to be an artist. I have never wanted to work any other kind of job, although I have had to. I am entirely self-taught, but I decided to apply to art colleges last year. I am starting as a freshman at CalArts this fall.
BC: What does your artwork represent? On average, how long does it take for you to complete an art piece?
WD: My artwork represents emotions and thoughts that I cannot explain in words, even though there are usually phrases within my paintings. A lot of my figures tackle my feelings about my gender identity and my lack of connection to my body. The figures are usually depicted without arms because they lack agency. I am not sure if it's something that I relate to personally, or if it's a way to keep the emotions I'm expressing in their place. I can take anywhere from days to just a few hours to finish a piece. The larger works usually take more time, and I step back to look it over quite a lot. Sometimes I walk away as layers are in the process of drying to think more about my next move.
BC: How did you come up with your art name, Winter Dior?
WD: My art name is my new chosen name. Winter Dior is my first and then middle name. I picked them out because I love how they sound together. I am nonbinary, and I came out recently. My pronouns are they and them, but also sometimes he and him.
BC: Describe your art style. Why do you consider yourself to be an "emotional abstract painter?" What do the horned-people that are seen most often in your art represent?
WD: My definition of what category my art falls into continues to grow, as I learn more terms and discover more art that I relate to. I thought about the emotional abstract because I just feel like that makes the most sense. Although, my paintings do contain figures, so they are not purely abstract. The horned figures are somewhat new. I think that they are a rebellious force coming up through the art that I have been playing with lately. Most of my figures look quite alien. Those originated as a way for me to make the things I saw during sleep paralysis into a cartoon, and take control back from my nightmares. I call the figures my "creeps."
BC: Name and describe the top three favorite artworks you have created.
WD: My favorite works are probably some of my largest ones. Painting big is so liberating, though it takes up so much space. I dream of having room to paint huge eventually. My favorites are "Is It?," "Uncomfortable Euphoria," and "Personal Hell." Is It? was painted after my marriage fell apart and I had moved out. I felt like doing a painting that got into how helpless you can feel when stuck in a bad situation. The phrase, "it is what it is" can be so defeating and dismissive. So I used that and transformed it into lots of different phrases, that ultimately leave you asking if it has to be that way. Uncomfortable Euphoria is one of my favorites because I spent a lot of time with all the tiny dots on the figure. Also, it symbolizes the strange anxiety I have when I feel "too good". I painted this after I had to quit weed because I suddenly couldn't handle it anymore, after being a habitual smoker for 10 years. Sometimes too much of a good thing makes you feel bad. Personal Hell is big, loud, and a whole lot of fun to me. I took a lot of time after laying the initial background down, before I really could get into the painting. When I did, it took off. It showcases the tongue-and-cheek of my writing. It's really about sweet self-destruction.
BC: If you could choose a theme song for your art, what would it be? Why?
WD: "Demons" by The National. It feels like I paint portraits of my "demons" and sometimes I make them into my toxic drinking buddies. The lyrics to this song really hit home for me in a lot of ways. It's kind of a sad song to be honest, though not all my paintings are. Although, I can relate with sometimes just being like, I don't know why I'm messed up like this, but this is it. This is me. Feeling isolated, and being stuck with your demons. Also, I don't believe in God, and I am not particularly superstitious. However, I am attracted to "darkness", and the fallen angel aesthetic is pretty fun. I like songs or stories where the devil is just some guy in a smart suit, ready to party with you and maybe teach you to play guitar if you sell him your soul. Maybe we had a drink together and that's how my figures got their horns. Who knows.
BC: What is one piece you are currently working on or you recently finished?
WD: Right now, I am working on a very personal piece to help me process some trauma that I recently uncovered. I might not share it publicly, but then again, I don't really hide much about myself. We will see what I decide.
Be sure to follow Winter Dior on Instagram for updates on
their art @winterdior_.