Modern 360 | Interview

360modern is a community of modernists including architects, Modern furniture and art experts, non-profits, state historical organizations, county historical groups, and contractors. Today, we’re continuing our showcase of the people and businesses that make up the Seattle Modern community.

We had the chance to ask Genna Draper, a local Seattle artist
a few questions. Without further adieu, here’s her story first hand…

Briefly introduce yourself.

There’s no real mystery to my story. My name is Genna Draper, an eternal optimist, I look for good in every situation and each person I meet despite circumstance. This way of being served me well when we uprooted our family from our home in Ottawa, Canada two years ago. A working artist with over 20 years in the business of art, I am thrilled to be living and working in Seattle; a vibrant city with so much enthusiasm and support for artists.

When did you know you’d become an artist?  

The only child in a large Italian family, my creative pursuits were always supported and encouraged. Drawing, painting, sewing, and building were integral activities of my daily life, and as is the case today I am happiest working with my hands. It was not a cerebral decision to “become an artist,” it was the work. For me there is no separation from creating as a child to creating as an adult, it was just what did; and what I continue to do. I suppose it was knowing I could monetize my skills that set the path.

What is your medium and what attracted you to this medium?

I would consider myself a mixed media artist. Paints, plasters, and resins are staples in my creative toolbox, however I would never limit myself to those alone. I am fearless in my pursuit of achieving a desired result. If that means pulling in textiles, found objects or non traditional techniques then I’m going to do it.

Do you have any tricks to connecting with your creative self?

I’ve never considered it as being separate part of me. Life, not just art requires creativity and problem solving. I suppose I should just thank my parents for instilling those skills in me; that and the crazy belief that I can tackle anything my my mind dreams up.

Do you have any special routines that you do to help you work?

There’s no magic to it. I just show up. Monday to Friday I throw on my paint encrusted clothes, grab a latte from C & P Coffee, and walk alongside my dog to my studio down the street. Getting me to work is not the issue, getting me to stop for the day is; according to my husband.

What’s your greatest inspiration in creating your work?

Knowing that I don’t have to be one thing. There’s a common belief that as an artist you need to commit to one style, or one thing to achieve success and I couldn’t disagree more. I believe that the skill and experience you achieve overtime can be applied to work, no matter what. I have left the “door open” to pursue any idea that I fancy. That freedom is all the inspiration I need.

What are the most satisfying pieces to create?

I would say that my satisfaction comes from the work and less about any particular piece. Being productive and hitting my goal, be it a deadline for a show or the successful completion of a commission then I’m more than happy. The most satisfying thing of course is knowing that people connect with my work and choose to make it part of their lives.

How do you think about your art related to Modern architecture and design?

My interest in architecture and design was fed from my early days as a partner in specially wall finishing business. I had the privilege of working on some incredible projects and have great respect to the work architects and designers do. The special details that to some may go unnoticed, were never lost on me. When I work on a particular series it is often with placement in mind.

In the creation of my recent resin works, I considered several elements. First the environment. Living in West Seattle, I am surrounded by mountains, water and the ever changing sky. On a clear day, this place is incredible and I wanted that spark to be represented in the final pieces. I drew visual cues from the landscape overlooking Puget sound and through deconstruction created new modern landscapes. The large open spaces and clean lines found in modern homes create the perfect backdrop for this work.

Patricia Mulligan of said it more eloquently than I ever could when she described the “geometry of my topographical paintings as pairing nicely with the angles of the architecture in modern and midcentury homes.” The result of these large, high gloss works create visual expanses that serve as artificial windows. With the heavy, dark skies so common in the Pacific Northwest, they’re a perfect way bring colour and life to a space.”