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Conversations with Dellis Frank

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dellis Frank.

Hi Dellis, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I came out of the womb an artist. Throughout my formative years and into my college art classes, the Arts (and just being creative) has been my priority. I started college as an art major. My path took a detour, well, because life happened. I received my bachelor’s degree in Radio and Television from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), a change in major from the Arts. My first job out of college I began working (and eventually running) cable television production studios, then transitioned into teaching for the Inglewood (IUSD) and the Los Angeles Unified School Districts (LAUSD). I’ve always had my hands in the mix with regards to art. As an educator, I not only taught visual art, but I also supported arts teachers when I moved into administration. It wasn’t until I retired from LAUSD that I devoted more of my time to my own practice.

Eventually I got into a pretty good groove with my practice. My good friend, artist Shelley Heffler, helped me to become involved in the Southern California Women’s Caucus for Art (SCWCA), not just as a member, but a board member as well. It all snowballed from there. I found myself serving on five arts organization boards and the Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative (CEII) advisory committee for Los Angeles County. Now, busier than ever, I find more opportunities to be involved with the activities that are important to me. Of course, even though it’s all rewarding, I find I need to divest myself from some of these obligations in order to commit more time to my own art. It’s difficult to let go because, FOMO (fear of missing out).

I recently had a great opportunity to have some of my art used on the set of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire” reboot (the more simply titled) “Bel Air.”

That was a sign to me that I really need to take advantage of this momentum.

We all face challenges but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
No-no, not a smooth road at all. Starting out as an art major at CSULB, I believed my path was set. Well, marriage and two babies later, I felt I needed to change my major to a field more likely to provide a paying gig so we could survive.

It worked.

I had wonderful careers in television and education before I circled back to my first love, art. It took decades, with a smattering of shows here and there, but I am back on track.

I almost feel like the Grandma Moses I’ve taught my students about in having a full life and then finding my way back to my own work.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My main focus is fiber art, wrapping in particular. I also have a passion for reducing the discarded items put into landfills. I begin with a foundation in ecology. I use found objects and items that others would toss in the trash. Items like toilet paper rolls, gift wrapping rolls, tape rolls etc. I gather a family of colors, or the colors and textures that are moving me at the moment, then I begin to wrap. Once I feel I have enough items wrapped, I begin to assemble them into a structure. The assemblages seem to come together intuitively. In fact, I call this “vibration art.” It’s the same way I work in the kitchen. There I “feel” what would look, smell, and taste good together and go to town.

This is my “Greening of fine art.” #GreeningofFineArt

I’m also proud of my social justice series. It is a great conversation starter and provides an opportunity to educate others.

What sets me apart from others? What really sets me apart is that I paint with fibers.

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I was always a happy child. I grew up in a “big/small” family. We always had so many aunts, uncles, and cousins around, and we all grew up together, so it seemed like we were one huge family.

I was always the one that was a little different.

For example, I was the only one that was interested in swimming. I went on to become a water safety instructor trainer (WSIT) which meant I taught lifeguards how to lifeguard. I loved reading, sewing, singing, and always drawing or figuring out how to do things creatively. My family was always asking me to do the creative stuff when there was a need.

I’ve always been pretty strong-willed and opinionated. That aspect of my personality is seen in my social justice art series.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Bryan Frank

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