Briefly describe the work that you do.
My work explores an assortment of paper-based media in the forms of prints, drawings, collages and cut-paper installations.
At what point in your life did you decide to become an artist?
For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in making and creating. Imagination and play in childhood naturally unfolded into the choice to seriously pursue art.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
As an undergraduate at Bowling Green State University I discovered intaglio with copper plates while studying with Janet Ballweg, and this process was, and continues to be, a deep interest. Over time, I began exploring image-making in other media. Common and overlapping threads include layering, repetition and texture.
What types of conceptual concerns are present in your work? How do those relate to the specific process(es) or media you use?
I work on many different bodies of work at once—various works on paper including drawings and collages, mixed media works on panel and intaglio prints. Typically, I have many projects on the burners at any given time. Working in this way informs each process (and process informs the images, and their construction), which helps to combat monotony in the studio. Each mark informs the next. And each piece informs the next image. Each medium has its own language and I think that is evident in each body of work.
I’ve been working on a series of collages constructed on rag board. These works encompass a fusion of multiple sources, acknowledging Matisse’s paper cutouts and William S. Burrough’s literary Cut-Ups. Salvaged printed proofs, forgotten then found scribbled notes, painted and cut paper are culled together to connect disparate fragments. Though, contrary to the beat writer’s chance-based (Cut-Up) practice, I am most often reconfiguring and re-contextualizing years of collected material in a gestated manner.
We once heard Chuck Close say he did not believe in being inspired, rather in working hard everyday. What motivates you in your studio practice?
Steadfast commitment in the studio often creates ideas with which to build an entire body of work.
I am very interested in the artist Corita Kent. She wrote a list of “General Rules for a Student” that is profoundly wise.
My favorite rule is:
“The only rule is work. IF YOU WORK IT WILL LEAD TO SOMETHING. IT’S THE PEOPLE WHO DO ALL OF THE WORK ALL THE TIME WHO EVENTUALLY CATCH ON TO THINGS.”
What artists living or non-living influence your work?
Corita Kent, Crown Point Press, Ben Shahn
When you are not making art what types of activities and interests do you engage in?
Gardening, documenting, collecting, reading
Diana Behl’s recent work embodies an assortment of material exploration, including print media, collage and drawing. Her images are prompted by specific instances—memories of places visited, passages read, bits of everyday references, or interactions of material and form—both in and outside of the studio. Using these prompts, her practice then evolves around the improvisation and discovery uncovered while making, further enabling form to embody the evolution of that specific cue.
She has exhibited works in the Upper Midwest at the Soo Visual Arts Center, Highpoint Center for Printmaking and Minnesota for Book Arts (Minneapolis, MN); the South Dakota Art Museum (Brookings, SD) and Ipso Gallery (Sioux Falls, SD); as well as at venues such as the International Print Center New York (NY, NY) and SPACE (Pittsburgh, PA). Her works on paper have been featured in the Western Edition of New American Paintings (Volume 66) and the 2004 New American Paintings MFA Annual.
A recipient of a South Dakota Arts Council grant, Diana Behl holds an MFA from The University of Iowa, and a BFA from Bowling Green State University.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.