Interview with Sheena Rae Dowling 9/2/2020
Sheena Rae Dowling, she/her/hers, is an artist living and working in San Diego, California. She works in a variety of mediums including painting, collage, sculpture and installation. Her work addresses topics such as mental health, body image, gender and transitional states of existence.
What projects are you currently working on?
Currently, I’m working on a series of paintings that examine addiction from a very vulnerable lens in which the subject of the painting exposes the private acts of their compulsions.
How has the pandemic affected or shifted your practice?
At first, I couldn’t really get myself to work on any of my current projects. Everything felt too overwhelming. I was however using art to process, cope, and manage my anxiety. I was attracted to working digitally which isn’t usually a medium I choose. I think I liked the learning and exploring aspect. I didn’t feel particularly drawn to work on anything really serious, but began doing some mood portraits on Procreate. Something about the ability to make marks and then “undo” and “redo” them felt freeing, less permanent. I am back at other projects again but trying to take things slowly. Working with procreate definitely informed some new application techniques I am experimenting with in my paintings.
What has your journey been like as a creative/artist/small business-owner?
For me, art has been a way to process things like feelings, memories, trauma, and uncertainties. My work often references the human form, sometimes realistically and sometimes abstractly. I pursued art academically getting my BA at SDSU and then my MFA at Pratt. I now teach art in many different settings to a variety of different ages. My mission is to get people access to art so they can use it as a tool for their own healing.
Do you have any tips for up-and-coming, or rising artists/creatives?
Create for the joy of it and the rest won’t really matter. When you apply for things expect to be rejected more often then have your work accepted. That’s the norm.
Learn more about Sheena Rae Dowling
Portrait of Sheena taken by photographer Paul M. Bowers