Interview with Daryn Belinsky 2/7/2021
Daryn Belinsky is a multi-range creative touring this lifetime as a vintage clothing dealer, designer, artist, and music-maker. Based out of Encinitas, she has owned and operated the cyber shop, Little Light Vintage since 2010.
Tell us about a project (or projects) you are working on.
Most recently, I’ve been working on some mixed-media projects with my 4-year-old niece. They involve air-dry clay, mermaids, tiny starfish, and of course, glitter. Being able to witness how she reacts to new materials and supplies for the first time and watching how she employs new concepts satisfies the soul of my fantasy alter ego of a wacky kindergarten art teacher. I am so inspired by her unbridled imagination and fearless execution. Being able to discover art all over again through her eyes has been a very special experience for me.
There is the never-ending project that is my business, which is where I devote most of my time. Every item is handpicked, modeled, photographed, presented, and shipped by me. I am often modifying garments I’ve curated. I will either paint on clothing or I’ll go through phases where I dip into my vintage textile collection and make a small run of something or another – last March, I entered a halter-top-making trance. There was also a sack-dress period and a scrunchie second. Most of my fabric collection comes from clothing I have reworked over the years. A backburner-on-low project is making a quilt out of samples of every variety in my assemblage.
In my spare time, I oscillate between making watercolor paintings and making music. I’m currently working on a watercolor series of my most prized vintage finds from my personal collection, which I plan to manufacture an assorted stationery set from later this year. Musically, I’ve been in the process of mentally planning an acapella arrangement of Faith Evans’ Love Like This.
How has this ongoing pandemic affected your work/practice?
Fortunately, the work-from-home lifestyle is one I have been accustomed to for quite some time now. Also, having an online business, I never had to shut down, which I am very grateful for. There were a few months last year when thrift stores and flea markets were closed and I wasn’t able to source new inventory for my shop, which naturally pushed me towards designing more and working with what I have. Other than that, it hasn’t changed my day-to-day proceedings much. It has however, made me rethink style and the future of fashion. Since events have been put on hold for the time being, I have made a shift toward offering more casual, everyday pieces to my customers.
When did your journey as an art maker begin?
It began with drawing when I was a little girl. I would spend countless hours planted in front of the TV accompanied by pen and paper. When I wasn’t drawing, I was practicing the piano and singing. I learned to sew around 8-years-old and became obsessed with designing pillows, accessories, and eventually clothing. At school, I would doodle the day away in class – drawing clothes that I would attempt to make later on when I got home. I couldn’t wait to get my driver’s license so that I could visit art supply and yardage stores on more of a regular basis. This is when I discovered thrift stores and the world of vintage clothing for the first time. I was immediately hooked. The thrill of the hunt is so exciting and the idea of sustainability and using pre-loved materials to create something new has always been so gratifying to me.
What/who are some of your greatest influences?
Music of all varieties and the different cultures it has produced, classic movies, Fredericks of Hollywood catalogues from the 60s and 70s, Fran Drescher’s wardrobe on The Nanny, Elsa Schiaparelli, Diana Vreeland, Shel Silverstein, and travel, just to name a few.
Lastly, is there any advice or wisdom you’d like to provide to rising artists/arts leaders?
Don’t take art so seriously. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. Share it with others. I think these days with social media, we can easily fall victim to the evil that is comparison. Ingest the work of others and let it inspire you, but keep your blinders on and stay true to yourself when it comes to the process of creating. And most importantly, have fun always!