ECA+ Creative Member Directory
Mapping the Arts in Easthampton, Southampton, & Westhampton


Dana Wilde


"An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artists takes it personally." -S. Godin

Let's identify, expose, deconstruct, and replace the myriad anti-creativity forces (and their representatives) at work in the flow of everyday American life. Let's investigate, discuss, define, redefine what "art" and "artist" even mean to us -- if those words are part of our conversations and goals. Let's make more conscious choices about if / when / where / why / how those terms are important (or not) in our work. There's no right answer, but let's try to at least know and be clear about what we, ourselves, mean when we use them -- or at least admit when we don't know exactly what we mean. Creativity is a human capacity inside everyone, at birth. It can be nurtured, neglected, squashed, squandered, co-opted, hijacked, buried, celebrated, recovered, developed, distorted. The need for outlets to express it is a universal one. The raw energy of creativity (constructive and/or destructive) will find a way to express itself no matter what, for better or worse. Creativity with no constructive outlet can turn to violence, illness, crime, depression, abuse, and other manifestations. My future includes more sharing (via writing, teaching, speaking) what I've learned about scrappy self-expression and creativity development for mental-emotional health, empowerment, learning, healing, positive transformation, fun, self-esteem building, and freedom. I think people can learn ways to start building a healthier relationship with their own creativity and capacity for growth regardless of background, artistic confidence level, or access to leisure time or special "art" spaces, equipment, training, or materials. Creative expression, experimentation, exploration = a basic need that all people have whether they realize it or not.

I use intuitive-expressive improvised drawing as a way to give shape to the invisible forces/faces of nature and consciousness, which includes me but isn't necesarily about me. Drawing and writing are ways that I collect and organize visible evidence of my/our interconnectedness with the various webs, patterns, structures and cycles of life. My styles range from cartoonish to primitive, often hovering somewhere in between. Bold faces, figures, symbols, totems, and designs feature heavily. I draw with markers, Sharpies, pens, pencils, jumbo paint markers, my hands, sticks, etc -- and never have a plan when I begin. Rudimentary printmaking, wood, collage, paint, and sculpture sometimes get involved. Nearly 20 years of accumulated experience and physical debris from avid handwriting in notebooks (several per year) and drawing everywhere has become a new source of long-term project ideas that I'm really excited about: Books, classes, installation, sculpture, animation, and more.. Sometimes I'm a performing artist. So far, this has included but isn't limited to: Dancer, poet, actor, and rock drummer. I've lived, worked, and made art in the Northampton area for over 20 years. I've been drawing my whole life, and never went to art school. The various art forms I engage in are inseparable from my mental, emotional, spiritual, and artistic health and development. I did "The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity" course in 1997, and have been committed to that path ever since.

2016: New big studio! A place for me to make work, and to teach classes in scrappy self-expression and creativity development. -- 2015: I was the drummer in new local band Endless Mike (first three live shows + first recording sessions). I played on "Concussion Gun" [bandcamp]. -- 2012-2013: Drawn To Dana [YouTube] is an experimental web series about me and my art. Created, directed, and produced by KBest Productions. -- 2012: Soundwave / waveform mural at the North Street underpass by the rail and bike bridge in Northampton. The place-making concept, data collection, design, and execution was a collaboration between myself and three other artists, by request. -- 2012-2014: Survivor Theater Project. Autobiographical writer-performer (skit, monologue, dance) in our original and well-received touring piece & community discussion "The World We Live In Is Not The World We Live In." -- 2009: Inner Self Portraits was an original class series for adults that I designed and taught in the Art Always classroom in Florence. -- 2008: StorefrontArt residency in a vacant boutique on the ground floor by the Main Street entrance of Thornes Marketplace in Northampton.