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A Conversation with Dallas LaRose

Dallas LaRose in studio

Dallas LaRose is one of our favourite local artists to have popped up in recent years. Her artwork is instantly recognizable, with bold, vibrant colours and an expressive style. 

She has been featured in the Vignettes Design Showcase, Experience Jasper Avenue, the Royal Alberta Museum, along with multiple other galleries across Alberta.

We connected with her recently to ask a few questions about her career, her artwork, and of course, her personal style. 

A Conversation with Dallas LaRose

You started doing art full-time fairly recently, but you’ve been an artist since you were a child. When did you make the switch, and what made you decide to make the jump?

Fairly recently indeed! I started drawing and painting again in late 2015 and was selling full time by July 2016. Now that I look back at it, I don’t know if it was much of a jump, but more of something that had already been in the making.

For so many years, I felt guilty for not utilizing those skills, as if I was just wasting it, but I think I had to go through certain experiences in life first in which made me who I am today. Once I started doing art again, it just clicked and I knew this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

What were you doing before you did art full time?

I was an electrician. I started in my early twenties and eventually transitioned into the oilfield industry. I was a single parent at the time, and growing up in a very blue collar family, I knew I could start making money right away and provide for my family without struggling. It just made sense at the time.

Has anything surprised you since deciding to pursue art full time? Any unexpected challenges? 

With any small business or entrepreneurship there are challenges. With being an artist, there really isn’t a blueprint so a lot of it is trial and error. Honestly, I’ve never worked so hard in my life, but the rewards are next level.  

Honestly, I’ve never worked so hard in my life, but the rewards are next level.  

Your artwork is bold and unique. Where do you turn to for inspiration? 

Inspiration is everywhere, and I feel creating in itself is more than enough inspiration, like a domino effect. You make one painting, and inevitably it will spark ideas for another painting and more. Not saying that I don’t encounter blocks, like any artist--it's a real thing. But I find if I’m struggling for ideas, 9 out of 10 times, it’s my body telling me to take a break and recharge.

Each painting has a name, like Tammy the Llama. How do you come up with the names?

Yeah the names are a light-hearted element to my work. It’s important for me to keep things fun. Life is too short. The naming of a piece usually comes when a piece is coming to completion. It started with the first Moose I painted, and it just made sense for it to have a name and not a title. I couldn’t get the name Elvis out of my head. It made me smile, so I went with it.  

It has really been rewarding to watch others interact with my work, and especially with the names I choose of each piece. 

The names are a light-hearted element to my work. It’s important for me to keep things fun. 

What does a typical day look like for you? Do you have any rituals or must-haves before you start painting? 

Every day is different around here, which I find to be a perk to being self-employed. Keeping the studio stocked with snacks, coffee and a fully charged bluetooth speaker are my must-haves.

I also need a fairly tidy space. I say fairly tidy because that comes with effort being a painter the way I paint, but too much chaos is distracting for me.

Your studio is based in Edmonton and you seem quite connected within the city. What is it about Edmonton that you’re drawn to? 

Edmonton is home sweet home. I was originally born here, but I also moved around a lot growing up. However, nothing else quite felt like home like Edmonton did, and I’m really glad it turned out that way. I'm proud to be an Edmontonian. We have a lot of cool peeps doing dope shit here. 

I'm proud to be an Edmontonian. We have a lot of cool peeps doing dope shit here. 

What are some other artists you’re inspired by or look up to? 

Oh man, thats a long list.  
Andy Warhol is an influencer in my work if I had to name one. Actually, my last dinosaur collection was sort of a low-key homage to some of the artists that I respect. There is also a long list of artists that have built incredible careers, including independently that I have a lot of respect for.       

Your art is bold and bright. Does your personal style tend to follow suit?

I would say my style is definitely more modest than my work. I like playing with colours, but I also like to keep it simple. I enjoy streetwear and sneakers. I’m working almost all the time, so comfort takes priority, but I can throw on a blazer or a pair of earrings and head straight to a gallery event. When I am comfortable, I feel most confident and that to me is the most important. 

My style is definitely more modest than my work. I like playing with colours, but I also like to keep it simple.

Any exciting new projects coming up that you can tell us about? 

I have recently  been accepted into some International Art Fairs in the new year, which is a really exciting step for me. I will be announcing more details as we approach 2020. 

Where can people find your art out in the world?

I currently have a limited collection  at the Royal Alberta Museum, and I host Open Studios regularly where folks can come visit my work. My studio is just off 124 Street over near RGE RD, so a good excuse to come to the area! 


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