When I was living in Saint Louis, Dail was one of the first artists that I met who traveled for her art. She has dedicated a large part of her entire life to art and building art communities and is a beautiful force of heartening compassion, motivational energy and joy.
Dail has sparked countless amounts of people (including me) to create, share, and connect. We are hoping that by sharing her words and art with you, that maybe you could get ignited by a bit of her brilliant spark too.
Travel Artists Hub: What is your artistic focus?
Dail Chambers: My arts practice spans from cultural organizing, archiving and group creation to my studio practice which includes installation art, photography, and my overall inquiry with nature and the body.
TAH: How did you start creating art?
DC: Both sides of my family are creative people. On my paternal side of my family, we have multiple professional artists. The practice of witnessing, recreating and documenting the journey has been a part of my upbringing from a young age.
(Findings from the Search, the artist has creatively explored the life and death of her family member who is from Saint Louis. The exploration ends with the unlocated gravesite of her grandmother. The collections depict the artist’s process and journey. 2014)
I am influenced by Kandinsky, The Heidelberg Project and many, many writers. My favorite sculptor is Alison Saar. My favorite photographers are Lorna Simpson and Debra Willis. When I think of legacy artists, I think of Elizabeth Catlett and Margaret Burroughs.
TAH: Do you travel with or for your art?
DC: Yes, I’ve traveled to Tanzania and throughout the United States. I love California and the collaborations and exhibitions there have been welcoming.
TAH: How do you sustain yourself?
DC: I am a reiki master healer, life coach, motivational speaker and administrator for Yeyo Arts Collective. I host motivational workshops, teach art to young people throughout the city of Saint Louis and beyond. At my best, I receive sponsorships, fellowships, independent grants, and art sales to keep the multifaceted work, going.
TAH: Where has your art led you?
DC: The practice of art-making keeps leading me back to my mind. The essence of life is so precious and is always a conversation to be had. Whether I am in struggle with a social justice issue or comparing the gesture of a tree with that of a child, the deeper subject becomes my perspective.
Click here to see pictures from Dail’s Art Exhibition Pics of her show and a link to open art show pdf
TAH: Can you tell us more about the Yeyo Arts Collective?
DC: Yeyo Arts Collective is dedicated to the creative empowerment of women and families. When we first began our group, we gathered out of the need to survive in our career path. As artists and creative professionals, we had no center. We wanted a holistic and just place to begin our dreams. Women with children, head of households, caregivers and emerging artists are a diverse representation of the Public.
By focusing on this portion of our population, we inherently create an inclusive environment of intergenerational and cross-cultural expression. Familial responsibilities, non-inclusive culture and limited access to a support network and resources, create barriers in artists’ lives. The need for economic stability in creative households is demanding.
Check out this amazing animation video:
(Sankofa a Collective Mythology – A story about the connectivity of a small group and history of Saint Louis and beyond.)
TAH: How has travel influenced your art?
DC: The landscape is an inspiring gift/ Learning the terrain of rainforests. Mountains and streams has taught me how to approach the issue of technique in my studio practice.
Through travel, I have diversified my experience with nature, the elements and culture. Growing up in and revisiting Hawaii throughout my adult life has been extremely impactful. When I was younger, local folks would ask me what snow was like. I would explain that it was like cold sand but fluffy. In the mainland folks want to know what the beach is like.
It is interesting to me how we long to experience the natural elements outside of our norms. Curiosity pushes us to reach for new experiences without the hierarchy that popular media engrains in us. I have found my own entertainment and inspiration through seeing new things in nature. As much as I’ve “always been an artist” is as much as I have always been an anthropologist, studying my self and connecting with others.
(Ancestral Sea, Paint/Collage on Wood, 2014)
When I was in Tanzania I works in a small village off of Mount Kilimanjaro. It forced me to break down the language barrier and work with folks who were eager to know my story. Drawing helped in communication and more. There are some spaces that will welcome us, and there are some spaces that will repel us. It is for us to decide how to translate the experience into an expression of truth.
TAH: Have you seen your art influence other art, artists or cultures?
DC: I am still gauging my impressions. As a visual artist and holistic health practitioner, I have created a practice of healing social issues and embracing nature that reinforces texture, rhythm and soul into nature-based abstract art.
My work hangs in the offices of Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, has been acquired by the Missouri Historical Society and Museum, and featured as one of the inaugural artists for the St. Louis Art Initiative at the Saint Louis Regional Arts Commission.
In 2018, my work was featured in 32 rooms at the new, Saint Louis, boutique Hotel: Angad Arts. The urban hotel sits in the midst of Grand Center Arts District and the central corridor of the city. The rooms feature a “green-themed” whimsical interpretation of the theme “rejuvenation.” The harmony of the nature-based abstract work has been welcoming to the public.
TAH: How has your art and travel connected you to the wider world?
DC: Art making is a cultural exchange.
DAIL’S ARTIST STATEMENT
We connect to the past when working with natural material; it contains social, historical and ancestral resonance.
Copper, coined as the blood of the earth, and clay, known as the body of earth together make up merely a representation of our existence in form, sculpture and installation. Each work stands as a display of life. The communion of being both tangible and intangible I constantly revisit in my art practice.
The link between our past and our present I journey. Wrapping, sewing, locking and conjoining are traditional practices; historically linked to “women’s work” that speaks of connectivity and relationship.
I use this method most often in respect and as a communicative tool. The weight of living is inescapable. The scabbed tear is a sentiment of this reality.
Engage in each work in the same as a conversation. Find power in a common object, as we too are formed to be that.
(Conduit Installation, Crocheted Copper Wire 2014)
TAH: Any Future Plans?
DC: I plan to take my personal artist statement of belief and practice and invest my next body of work into exploring the complexities of shared experience. By engaging participants in a collaborative process of storytelling and installation, I plan to build community through the arts.
build community through the arts
The end product will be a series of installations alongside the personal stories from the communities that surround me. Our discussions will be strongly guided by recent happenings in the St. Louis area regarding the issues of displacement, gentrification, job access and public education.
The goal of the project is to connect social happenings of the St. Louis area with real life, living working people. Artists, blue-collar workers, young people and the community at large all have valid perspectives and ideas. All of us have a story to be told; the project is an outlet for those us who are underrepresented, silenced or marginalized in media and our city.
for those us who are underrepresented,
silenced or marginalized
Each installation will be developed from the “common link” within two or more stories or shared experiences. Whether the participant is explaining a point in time or explaining their work or trade, the story is the most valuable piece of the process.
The installations will include key environmental and verbal language to guide the final artworks. The collaborators will be involved in the artmaking process and the depiction of their voice through open community critique, meetings and participation.
In my art process material carries meaning
I will mostly be working in clay and other like natural materials. In my art process material carries meaning. The funds granted to me through the stimulus will directly go to the following materials:
· Clay for the construction of figurative sculptures
· Media materials for the recording of stories and interviews
· Small art supplies including sponges, glaze, etc.
The goal of the project is to open up discussions on social topics in St. Louis, through individual voice. The art of storytelling will be mixed with visual markers for the audience to engage in.
TAH: Do you have any advice for folks interested in following in your traveling footsteps?
DC: Be prepared to expect nothing beyond being.
Dail Chambers is a mother, artist and activist who exhibits and lectures nationally. She practices her studio art process in St. Louis Place, in north St. Louis, Missouri.
Her artwork is based in material meaning and women’s topics through an inquiry of history, self and family. The concept of place and time are integral components of her work.
Dail founded the Yeyo Arts Collective, a group of five artists who opened Gya, a nonprofit community arts space that creates arts and culture experiences within the St. Louis region.
She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Visionary Award for Emerging Artist in 2011 and a Resolution from the City of St. Louis, Missouri in 2010. She is a 2010 Community Arts Training Institute graduate and 2011 Urban Bush Woman SLI fellow. She published her first book, Itshanapa with Bailey Girls Publishing.
The artists’ “healing touch” creates a staple addition to any healthy space, contemplative area, or retreat and herwork is available by wholesale purchase, commission and exhibition.
Feel free to contact Dail at email@example.com
Yeyo Arts Collective is dedicated to the creative empowerment of women and families. We were founded by a group of black mothers and elder creatives who saw the need for space that supports the total family unit. We honor creatives and entrepreneurs of all ages and expertise.