We had the good fortune of connecting with Courtney DiMare and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Courtney, why did you pursue a creative career?
I really can’t remember making the decision to be an artist. It felt logical and automatic to pursue a BFA in college. It all really started in high school for me. I was never really into drawing, but my school had a bronze foundry and jewelry classes that hooked me for all four years.
Art is one of those fields where you must be constantly curious. Art is an idea materialized into form. It is freedom of expression manifested. Art cannot be regulated or controlled, it survives and endures. Art heals. Art makes life worth living, to experience excellent art is to feel human and alive. Art challenges the mind and changes it. Art is so ubiquitous in our everyday lives that it often goes unrecognized and unappreciated.
The emotional roller coaster I go through daily is exhausting. The thrill of finishing a piece. The 5th exhibit rejection of the month. The high of inspiration for a new idea. The low of when you melt a nearly finished object. But later snapping out of a conversation because lightning strikes and you suddenly know how to fix that earlier mistake. On days when the rejection and mental exhaustion make me just want to quit, I know that I can’t. I know that no other existence could be enough. I thrive on the power of creating something out of nothing.
Being an artist allows me to live multiple careers in one. I am an academic, maker, teacher, and cultural influencer. It allows me to flex my skills as a thinker and as a craftsperson. The ability to conceptualize and create is what separates the human species from all others. It makes me think that everyone has the potential to be an artist to a certain extent, but a select few are brave, disciplined, and ambitious enough to try and succeed.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am where I am today because in short- I have never stopped making. I intentionally did not want to get my master’s degree right out of undergrad. I wanted to get a sense of how I made artwork outside of academia. Of course, it wasn’t easy, but I always prioritized my work. I dealt with health issues, a nomadic existence, and the rejection that comes with being an artist. I held onto the words of my professor. “As long as you keep making something will come out of it” So that’s what I did. That portfolio got me into graduate school.
I learned that I need to have a balanced life. My health and personal life are just as important as my studio practice. I do my best making when I am happy and having fun. I work well under pressure, but I much rather work in a head space that is open to letting the process take control.
I consider myself to be an art jeweler. The general public doesn’t seem to know much about my field. When I say I make jewelry, everyone assumes that my work is tiny and shiny with lots of gemstones which is just not true. Art jewelry bridges wearability and concept. My work at this moment explores the idea of comfortable bodily coverage, using clothing and jewelry hybrids. This work takes the visual language of clothing, and embeds them into large scale neck, and full body metal adornments. When people see my work, I want them to question their preconceptions of what jewelry is and what jewelry is for.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I only moved to Denton from Chicagoland in August of 2019. Between school and COVID I have not had much of an opportunity to explore Dallas or Fort Worth. With my schedule I can’t imagine entertaining for an entire week. My perfect Denton Saturday would start with the Denton Community Market to browse and pick up any unique produce that catches our eye. If we are hungry for breakfast, I would take us over to Ravelin Bakery for croissants and muffins. Then we’d head over to the Recycled Bookstore “on the square” and get lost in the stacks and shelf-lined back rooms for a couple hours. Lunch and cocktails will be at Hannah’s Off the Square; don’t forget their Key Lime Pie. True Leaf Studio would be next on my list, it is my absolute favorite for new houseplants and plant care advice. Finally, I’d pick up some take-out from Thai Square to take home and hang out with my dachshunds. Downtown Denton has so much to offer at a walkable distance.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have so many family members and teachers who have made huge impacts on my life and practice that I am eternally grateful for. But most of all my husband Kyle deserves a shoutout. He plays whatever role I need in the moment to support me. He at times is my studio assistant, we work together on different elements of a piece to have it come together quickly. He’s my photographer and the only person I am comfortable with to take the photos of me in the work. He’s the person I enjoy brainstorming with the most and who I talk out ideas with. He is my editor, reading over my proposals and applications. He my technology support, dealing with the computer to edit photos or to deal with all the other issues I run into. He is my studio technician- changing out the gas for my torch and upgrading my ventilation set up. He’s my biggest investor, ordering materials and whatever odds and ends I need to finish a project. He’s my cheerleader and shoulder to cry on. During the busy week, he cooks to make sure that I have something healthy to eat. He works to create a safe and comfortable home for us and our dachshunds. After 8 years I really don’t know what my life would look like without him and I am so appreciative of everything he does for me.