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Dana Oldfather


Dana Oldfather was born in 1978, but already has made an impressive contribution to modern art. Her recent exhibitions include The POV Evolving Gallery in LA, and The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown.

“My interest is to demonstrate the hard and soft parts of ourselves, whereby I regard the contradiction as one idea, one complete emotion, rather than two. It is the resolution of opposites into a singular new identity, complete in itself, that is important.”

Dana was a finalist in the 2008 National Young Painters Competition by renowned New York painter and art critic Peter Plagens. She is represented at The Bonfoey Gallery in Cleveland and has work with Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in NYC. Dana’s work is included in corporate collections such as the prestigious Progressive Art Collection. Some of her biggest influences include Willem DeKooning, Reed Danziger, Dana Schutz, and Jennifer Coates. Dana Oldfather lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio.


A complete and fulfilled life can be wracked with insecurity. A child can be innocent and silly one moment and entirely serious the next. It is our reality that we do not function with singular absolute emotions. Society, however celebrates these absolutes in individuals. This false importance leads me in my desire to express the beauty of contrasts.

These abstractions celebrate motion and borrow from past movements. With a focus on youth, identity, and consumption, and by employing contrasting graphic, expressive, and magnified pointillist elements, I attempt to illustrate the impact of natural emotional contradiction. In art I have always tried to connect to the world through beauty. Each work is an attempt to elegantly express the embodiment of paradox; a physical manifestation of conflicting desires communicated in an abstract arrangement of forms.

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Describe your work in three words
Unbound, whimsical, contrasting.

Who or what are your greatest influences?
Richard Diebenkorn, Yoshimoto Nara, Reed Danziger

How did you start working with Ink Dish?
I was contacted via email by a bright young lady named Caroline Pople. A few phone calls later and we were in business. I’m actually shocked when I think about how comfortable and easy it is to work with Caroline and Dave. The whole process has been delightful and I am thankful for being included in such a unique venue for contemporary artists.

“The Kites dinnerware was composed of images from a painting done in 2008 titled Want and some drawings I’d done over the summer. The title alludes to the drawings in particular that are abstracted from images of kites I’d seen at the beach. I live in Cleveland and visit Lake Erie often.”

What is your greatest achievement?
Being able to be a painter every day.

Which living artists do you most admire?
Amy Casey – incredible drive, work ethic, has already garnered young success, and a Cleveland painter! Represent!

How do you get inspired?
I don’t get inspiration like a shot. I am always thinking and working even when I’m not in the studio. I do a lot of drawing too. Gotta love Moleskines – they fit in my tiny purse.

Where does your artistic talent come from?
a. Looking closely at the world
b. Constant exposure to contemporary art
c. Genes from my Dad

Do you listen to music or watch TV while you work? If so what?
It’s often pretty quiet in my studio. I listen to music sometimes. The Decemberists or Niko Case are some of my faves, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Radio Lab via podcast lately while I work.

Describe the first piece of art you can remember making.
It was a large abstract watercolor that I made on the floor of my bedroom when I was three years old. I only remember because it was a favorite of my Dad’s and he liked to tell the story of my making it. He started me painting as soon as I was old enough to hold a brush.

Any thoughts on the future of dinnerware decoration?
I believe as the younger generation gets to the point where they are the ones making and spending the big bucks we’ll really see more of this fresh and some may say “risky” design catching on. I think and hope the days of watered down design are on their way out.

What’s next for Dana Oldfather?
I’d like to build some installations. Not in order to become an installation artist, just to see how it could develop my painting. Last time I considered my work in more than two dimensions it really pushed the paintings into a new area. I’d like to see what would happen to them if I actually followed through and built something.

Coming Soon
Coming Soon