After noticing Deedee Cheriel’s art around town, we couldn’t wait for her to get her hands on the 6th Street Mural! And as it turns out, we’re not the only big fans of her work. To help us get to the bottom of the amazing imagery that shows up in her art, Deedee kindly answered a few of our questions.
The Standard: We have been so looking forward to seeing what you’d do with the mural! Does the size and public nature of the 6th street space influence your process?
Deedee Cheriel: I really like painting large scale. It is super challenging, but really fun. I also really like how busy the street is, and how so many people came by and talked about my work, like how it affected them and what it meant to them or how they were inspired by it. That is really what I love about murals: they are super accessible to the public and definitely inspire more dialogue about art.
The majority of your work involves wildlife with human characteristics or vice versa. What is this element meant to communicate?
I like to humanize nature, so that people can identify more with plants and animals and have more compassion or a deeper relationship with them. It always shocks me how many abused animals there are at the shelters. Or how scarce public parks are, or how neglected they are. It is really sad! I figure if people could see that animals have homes and families and have feelings like we do, maybe they would be more kind. I guess I just think people are so detached from the natural world, and they take for granted where their food comes from, or where their trash goes, I think I try to use my art as a medium to bring this back into peoples reality.
Native American is a theme that comes through in your work – is that an element of your influence or just my interpretation?
I read a lot of Native American/ South American literature in college and was inspired by the oral histories that used animals as protagonists in their narratives that animated the natural environments. I like to use textile patterns from different cultures because of course they are beautiful, but also textile design is a way of documenting a cultural history as well. I am also very influenced by Indian iconography, I have spent a lot of time visiting India because I have family there.
How have the places you’ve lived affected you as an artist?
I love traveling and am always inspired by places I go. When I lived in Chile I was inspired by the magical realism in a lot of the art and literature, and started to use some of those ideas in my art. I was also profoundly affected by the relief carvings in Indian temples when I traveled there with my dad.
You recently had an art show at Merry Karnowsky with Aiko, Tara McPherson and Lindsey Way. I wouldn’t necessarily ever think of you four in a show together – would you say there is a common thread between your work?
I don’t know that I have a lot in common with them as artists, or as far as our work goes. I like Aiko’s work a lot and love that she uses stencils and layers of colors. I like that she also does street art and gets her work out there for the general public on the streets. I do some wheat pasting in addition to murals, so I totally relate to her process.
How would you characterize the art scene in LA?
LA seems to have a lot going on now as far as the art scene goes. The street art scene is really receiving a lot of recognition, which is great and interesting, but I also like the art school painters like Laura Owen and Hadley Holiday.
What’s coming up for you for the rest of the year?
I have a show in Melbourne another in UK and a solo show in Amsterdam at Andenken gallery in September. I would love to do more murals.