Meet

Dana Bell

Where are you from and where do you reside?
I grew up in the Grosse Pointe, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. I currently live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
If you could sit down with one screenwriter or an artist, who would it be?
Probably Alfred Hitchcock. Most of my early painting were based on his films, and I would love to get a glimpse of his mind.
Name three of your studio necessities.
Colors, people and space.
The scenes in your paintings are drawn from late 20th-century movies. How do you select the scenes and characters to paint, and how you adapt them to be your own?
I select the scenes based on formal configurations of figures against a background, and I reinterpret the color scheme, often from black and white to a contrasting palette. The push and pull developed from this color scheme draws attention to the gesture, to the psychological intent (or mis-intent) of characters within a scene.
Do you find a particular movie genre or director resonates with you?
Psychological horror is a genre that has always drawn me in. I have painted scenes from most of Alfred Hitchcocks’ films.
How do your paintings influence your performance art, and vice versa?
My performances are directly related to my painting work. I take the process oriented techniques of studio production and non-linear assemblage, exposing them to the modalities of live performance and improvisation. The figures I work with in my performance emulate the static nature of paintings, and they act out and analyze movements found on screen.
Slant
My work portrays subtle body language, which can be universally unintentional. While gestures may not always be the same from culture to culture, many are familiar with the languages used in classic films. — Dana Bell
Your paintings possess a unique color palette, with pops of neon playing off of bold, primary colors. What inspires your color play?
I use color to represent nonverbal modes of communication. Movement emerges as something liquid and formal. The moment of drama is suspended and extended into infinity.
How do your cinematic archetypes and characters relate to the colors you depict them in?
The color reflects the shifting of the characters as they perform in their roles.
Your artwork has been exhibited across the globe, from Chile to Prague. In what ways does your artwork convey a universal language?
My work portrays subtle body language, which can be universally unintentional. While gestures may not always be the same from culture to culture, many are familiar with the languages used in classic films.
Which city or country would you like to travel to next?
I’d like to go to Japan.

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