Q&A: Artist Daniele Genadry ’02
Travel has always played a large part in artist Daniele Genadry’s ’02 life and work. During her time at the College, she spent a year in Italy between studying studio art and math. Since that time, she has lived in Rome, Beirut and London and has had her work displayed in exhibitions from Amsterdam to Greece.
What was your time at Dartmouth like?
DG: My time at Dartmouth was good — I loved the surrounding landscape and being in a relatively small, stimulating environment. It was also great to go on one of the study abroad programs in Florence my sophomore year, and I kept returning to Italy after that -— doing an internship my junior year and moving to Rome after my senior year. While in Hanover, I was involved in the studio art department and the Italian department, and I am still in touch with professors, now friends, from both. So it felt pretty nurturing, and I still return relatively often to visit.
Did your interest in art develop before Dartmouth?
DG: It came from when I was younger. I took some Saturday art classes as a kid and drew and painted a lot on my own. I didn’t take it super seriously until I got to Dartmouth, where I took a great “Drawing I” class freshman year and really connected with a couple of the professors, so I wanted to keep taking more classes.
You’ve spent a lot of time in Italy, and many of your more recent pieces are inspired by Italy. What sort of role does Italy play in your art and development as an artist?
DG: I was in Rome on a fellowship at the British Academy for most of 2013 to 2014. That informed a lot of recent work, as I was living and researching there. I had also moved to Rome right after I graduated from Dartmouth. So it is a place I keep going back to, through college and right after and now more professionally. A lot of my work has to do with place and trying to perceive it through and in relation to time, both in terms of personal memory and a larger historical context. Rome has a very interesting relationship to time in the sense that when you’re there and wandering around, there is a very visual connection to time, as you see the architecture and relics of ancient history alongside the contemporary. It feels very fluid in relation to time, and I think that experience is what I was interested in painting — how places hold multiple times at once. A lot of my work has to do with moving between places as well, not just physically, but the idea of thinking about one place from another and the distance involved in that. I’d be in New York thinking about specific landscapes in Lebanon or Italy and trying to access them from a different space.
How do you decide what media to do a piece in? What is your process of making a piece like?
DG: My work usually starts from an image or a couple of images that I collect. In the case of Rome it was a lot of found images or snapshots I took, and my way of working with them is to initially try to create my own experience with the actual image. So, switching media for me is a way of translating the image in order to get to know it better and see the different aspects of it. I tend to start with a photograph and then usually draw or screen print it or reproduce it in another medium, and then eventually play with color, paint and different kinds of filters. The media shifts inform the thinking and then the thinking essentially informs the final medium. So I might start out with an image of a mountain and after drawing it and printing it for a while, decide that it makes most sense as a oversized painting that allows someone to get absorbed into the picture, the way you feel in front of a real landscape, and so that will be what I end up with as the final piece.
What was it like to go from being a student to being an artist? What was that experience like?
DG: It’s funny. It was a combination of almost random decisions, like things that happen that lead you one place, and at the same time, it felt quite focused. I wasn’t really sure what the trajectory would look like, but I knew it required a certain kind of persistence and energy. I didn’t know at Dartmouth that I would eventually want to go to New York and set up a studio and work as an artist, but when I graduated I did know that I wanted to keep making work and traveling. The traveling part really informed my work. So after graduating, I moved to Rome for about a year and then looked for other residencies. And then I applied for a Reynolds Fellowship which helped me go to Beirut for a year and work there. While I was in Beirut, I thought it was a good time to go to grad school because at that point I needed a little bit more structure. So I always looked for ways to keep painting, but I didn’t always have a clear idea of where I would be specifically. The transition took a while. It was sort of grey. But as I kept doing more residencies and working, more opportunities started presenting themselves.
What advice would you give students who want to pursue a career as artists?
DG: To really put energy into developing your community of artists and friends, because in the end, your peers are who you end up working with. A lot of the great things that have happened to me have come through people at my level, lateral connections, if that makes sense. And that community is also what will support and feed you in an important way, once you are not in a university or other institution. And also to have a lot of persistence and to be creative in terms of finding ways to keep making work. And to make sure you are enjoying the process.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.