Q+A W/ ARTIST, DEE USAHA
We love food (duh), and we love…ART! At by CHLOE., we’re passionate about working with up-and-coming photographers to create unique images for our brand, and we often profile amazing artists here on the blog (have you seen our Olivia Locher, Amber Vittoria and Steffi Lynn Q+A’s?). So naturally, we really love art that features food, like Dee Usaha’s amazing creations!
Dee is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY who uses food as a subject matter, rendered in a fun, playful style (lots of times incorporating a smiley-face naked lady). If she’s not making her own illustrations, paintings and designs, Dee can be found creating beautiful menus and magazine spreads for her clients. We have an obsession with all things creative, bold and bright, and were so excited to learn more about Dee and her work!
Read on to find out about Dee’s creative process, artistic style, and her hobbies (hint: they involve eating). Check out more of her work on her website!
by CHLOE.: Hi Dee! Thanks for chatting with us. Please introduce yourself.
Dee Usaha: Hi! I’m Dee Usaha. I’m a graphic designer and an all-round creative, based in Brooklyn.
bC: From books to business cards, pizza pins and bottled beverages, we love your work! Tell us a little bit about your background…How did you get started in your craft, and have you always been an artist?
DU: I started drawing and painting at a very young age. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to pursue something in the creative field, whether its fine arts, design, or even culinary arts. My dad was low-key an artist and my mom’s a pretty creative person, so I guess it’s genetics?
bC: Your work is playful, fresh, and even a little sassy sometimes. What inspires you? What kind of world do you aspire to create for your fans?
DU: Aww, thank you! My inspiration came from a combination of things I see and appreciate on a daily basis. I just take it in subconsciously and mash them all in my head. Minimalism is definitely not my thing so I tend to create colorful, loud and bold designs. I want to make people smile when they see my work.
bC: Is your design process different when you are working for a client versus yourself?
DU: Oh yeah, for sure. When I’m working for a client, there’s more thought process involved. I need to put their needs and their aesthetic first and then I can add a touch of me later on. Meanwhile, if I’m creating something for myself, it’s all me. I can fully express myself, just do what feels right and follow my gut feelings.
bC: Many of your illustrations and paintings incorporate food. Why do you feel that food is a good subject matter in your art?
DU: Food is definitely something that I’m very passionate about. I have always enjoyed cooking, on my own and for my friends. I also love eating out and exploring new restaurants. It’s a good subject matter because I believe that food is the ultimate art form. It appeals to all your senses. You can appreciate it visually, taste it, smell it, hear it (while cooking), and touch it.
bC: What are your goals for the future? What can we expect next?
DU: My goal’s just to continue producing more work, whether it be design, illustrations, or paintings. I want to blur the line between being a designer and being an artist.
bC: Do you have any mentors? What is a great piece of professional advice you’ve received or learned?
DU: My mom’s a huge influence for sure. She raised me with a “be different” attitude and put so much emphasis on individuality and finding uniqueness. She’s always super supportive. My advice – Do more, worry less.
bC: What do you like to do when you aren’t designing and painting? Any hobbies?
DU: I love cooking. I would constantly challenge myself to cook something I’ve never tried before. I eat out a lot. According to my friends, I’m a walking yelp.com. I also love going to shows whenever my favorite bands are touring, especially the ones where I can mosh. It’s a good release!
3 objects you can’t live without? Red lipstick, Aquaphor, and olive oil.
Best binge-worthy TV show? The Twilight Zone.
Last song you listened to? Stoned and Starving by Parquet Courts.
Favorite place on earth? Gelateria Gentile.
Whatcha readin’? International Business: Competing in the Global Marketplace…I’m doing my master’s.
Savory or sweet? Why not both?
Dream dinner guest? Alfred Hitchcock.
If you could own any piece of art, what would it be? Hill by Josh Sperling, or any of his other pieces honestly.
Favorite meal to cook? A big breakfast!