January 14, 2019 | Stephanie Fischer
Growing up 15 minutes away from the beach in Seminole, Florida, a town just outside of St. Petersburg, Dana Robinson had a constant love for making things. Then she spent her time drawing and using power tools but, now she focuses on paint, collage, and sewing. Currently living in New York City, Robinson attends the School of Visual Arts and works as a graphic designer and equipment librarian.
Her show, Gold Tin, back in September was inspired by “the duality between male and female as it relates to blackness.” Robinson strove to challenge whiteness femininity to black women and masculinity to black men. By combining and recombining everyday objects, she creates a background of our lives which “allows the intended purpose of these them to be broken, realigned, and set into new meanings”. Her work covered 621’s walls as dynamic fabric collages with paper collages between.
Her biggest influences include Diamond Stingily, Martine Syms, Sondra Perry, and Janiva Ellis, like them, Robinson focused on dealing with different way of interpreting the histories of black people and black life in America. When asked what role do artists have in society, Robinson aligned her inspiration from her exhibition with her response, “Artists make culture, and artist show culture the reflection of itself”, she said. Robinson was successful in showing visitors the reflection of society through works such as Ladies of the Panama Canal and Mommy’s Tired 02.
Robinson hopes visitors walk away by questioning the way they view themselves with a popular culture such as our own, and the way the people around them are perceived. “I want people to question the way that they digest the world and ask themselves, why?”. She hopes visitors will recognize their power to create a world they wish to see and to understand they already have to tools to do just that.
With kindness, optimism, and enthusiasm, Robinson has been navigating the art world since she was 18 years old and hasn’t stopped since. As she mostly works as a designer as she tends to stay focused on staying creative in all aspects of her life.
“With the art I make I don’t see it as something that will make me money. I see it as a way of communicating and connecting with the world. It is a safe permeable layer that I can share with others and it’s a way of being playful, and gentle but also a little abrasive and motivational.”