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Eleven Questions for Artist Dawn Sercia

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copyright Dawn Sercia

copyright Dawn Sercia

copyright Dawn Sercia

copyright Dawn Sercia

We asked Dawn Sercia about her inspirations for her designs, her favorite artists, her training, and just life in general.  After reading the interview below, you can't help but believe Dawn is an artist truly connected to her craft.  Creating is not a hobby for her, but a necessity; it is what makes her complete.  So, without further babbling, here is Dawn...

What inspired you to create in this genre?

Well, my love for the Day of the Dead designs came about after I saw a painting at someone's house. They had purchase it from a local artist in Santa Fe. I could never remember the artist's name and I didn't have a chance to go back to their house again. It was an awesome oil painting depicting the traditional skeletons in Mexican clothing and I was just like "wow what's the meaning behind that painting?!" They explained all about the Mexican holiday and the symbolism behind it.

I went home and researched the tradition. I loved the colors and symbolism. I  connected with it from that day forward. It became something that is very dear to me and most of my work is inspired by the loss of my own loved ones and my belief that our soul's live on after our death. It's an energy you just can't destroy.

My abstracts are harder for me to explain.  They come from somewhere inside and they come very naturally to me. It's more like a mental exercise for me. I know it sounds a little strange, but when I'm starting the drawing, the pieces all have to fit together in a certain way almost like a puzzle. When it's good it just feels right and at those times, I know I have done some of my best works. Even the colors are all very instinctual and when I add the color it's the best part for me.

I see the piece come to life at that point. A lot of people have pointed out the way I use hand gestures in my abstracts. I really get into the finger positions etc. I guess being Italian we speak using our hands and it's like a whole sub-language going on in the conversation. The ideas and stories behind the abstracts come from a combination of my dreams, the media and sometime just pure emotions.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Inspiration for me comes from everything around me. I have very vivid dreams that definitely inspire me to keep it colorful! Music, friends, and family inspire me. Some random thing that could happen tomorrow might inspire me. I never know when it's going to hit me. Sometimes I'm just driving or daydreaming and an idea comes to me. When that happens the idea will haunt me until I get it on paper. I's very obsessive!

Are you self-taught or formally educated?

Growing up, I wanted to go to more of an artsy college, but my parents persuaded me to go in a different direction. Believe it or not I had plans to become a lawyer and attended St' Johns University! How boring that would have been for me! So, basically, I am self taught, although I did take some classes later to improve my rendering skills.

I had this really cool Canadian teacher and looking back I have to say I learned a lot from him in that one class. He helped me with perspective and shading using cross hatching and patterning.  It was a great class! I always wanted to take more art classes but I just never found the time. One of these days I would love to learn different techniques with oils.

Do you create in a specific 'art' space, or just anywhere in the house that's available?

Well, I do have an art office where I keep all of my supplies, but I tend to keep working at the kitchen table. I don't know why, maybe all the clutter in that room just distracts me too much! One of these days I'll get organized, but I don't see it happening anytime soon! In the meantime, I'm just trying to figure out how to keep my cat from sitting right on top of the paper when I'm at work!

What is your favorite medium to work with?

I love to airbrush and use ink and colored pencils. The airbrush gun is something I've worked with for over 20 years and it's a great tool once you master control. I like being able to mix my own colors and layer the translucent colors. I can achieve some great effects with the airbrush. It works for me when doing small paintings or large, so it's very versatile. I also like the old school looks I can achieve with the gun. I love that graffiti feel!

My second love is definitely colored pencils! I can go to the art store and when I see all those colors I just light up! I can't wait to go home and start creating! I'm just like a kid at the toy store!  I like the way I can layer colors and create the depth that I really love with the pencils. Different brands are good for different things, so I like to experiment. In the end the colored pencils give a nice burnished waxy look and  I love the sheen!

In what ways do you stretch yourself to make your work grow?

Sometimes the collectors are the ones who inspire me to try new things. They might ask for something specific in a painting and I always go for it! It's cool because it gets me out of my own comfort zone. Also, recently, I have been doing more work without my usual colorful palette.

I've been focusing on line work and doing a lot in just black ink. It was a challenge for me not to use color or shading and it has really taken my work to another level. I was forced to try new techniques in order to still keep the depth of detail alive in my work. I always try to challenge myself in order to grow and yet keep that flavor that makes my work my own. Sometimes you can learn something new just by experimenting.

Who are the artists that inspire your work?

Wow! I'm so inspired by so many artists! When I discovered the art community on E-Bay it really opened me up to a lot of talent out there! I love the friendships I have made with these artists and the open way we support each other. These artists have been a huge inspiration to me from the very start. They have played a big part in giving me the confidence to keep going. They provide a great source of inspiration everyday!

I'm also a big fan of Russian art and have been collecting paintings by Russian artist
Oleg Zhivetin for many years now. When I first saw his work I totally connected with it! His cubist style, color palettes and expressive gestures completely took my breath away! When I work on one of my cubist/abstract pieces, it's
something that really comes naturally to me and the lines just flow. I wouldn't even try to compare my work with his, but I do feel an affinity for his style of art. In my opinion he's one of the greats! I never get tired of looking at his work!

What is the major venue you use to sell your work?
I sell my work locally, and also on E-Bay. I did have a website, but I'm in the process of re-working it. I'm also very excited about my new collection with Tattooed Steel! They create Stainless Steel & Titanium jewelry and accessories that will feature my artwork.

The artwork is basically tattooed onto the products. I love the technology and it was a perfect avenue for me! I have created a lot of new original designs for them that haven't been seen before, as well as a couple of old favorites. It's very exciting!

Do you remember your first sale?

Definitely! I was on cloud 9 !  It wasn't about the money...I could have made a dollar or a million! It was all about someone actually liking what I did, enough to want to own a piece of it. The idea that someone actually connected with my art was truly what made it so gratifying. If I can put a smile on someone's face or connect with them through my art then I'm doing something worthwhile.

I am lucky to have a great following of collectors. My first sale gave me the confidence to keep going and grow into my own style over time. I was hooked and I haven't stopped creating for the public since! Each time I sell something, it is just as exciting as the first sale... I'm just a big kid at heart!

What's the most difficult thing about being an artist?

The hardest thing for me is finding the time to be creative and not being too critical of my own work. I have such a passion to create and sometimes the day to day details keep me from being able to do as much as I would like. Otherwise, being an artist is a wonderful gift that I am very grateful for.

Do you have a website, or other contact information for buyers to reach you?

I'm currently working on my website, but I can be reached by e-mail at or through E-Bay under DawnyBelle-ART. I'd love to hear from art collectors so hit me up! My new collection is also available at this weekend!