What is the best thing that I love about my work? Creating something out of nothing, the act of creation itself and the freedom to choose what I want to work on. My work also influences how I see the world around me, has made me see, live and love more intensely and with greater appreciation.
What is my idea of perfect happiness? Freedom. In body, mind and spirit. And to be able to make a living doing what I love and creating a life of my own design.
What is my greatest fear? I’m afraid that at the end of my life I may not have reached my full creative potential due to my own self-sabotage and fears. I believe what is said: that we regret the things we did NOT do more than the things we did.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? Procrastination! No matter how many good intentions I set and no matter how much I love my work I still have to drag myself to the easel too often and can find all kinds of distractions instead.
Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? Way too many to mention and I’d feel awful if I forgot to list somebody! But overall I admire artists, in whatever genre, who are daring enough to express their own, true voices in their work, artists who have overcome obstacles in order to create their work in the first place, whether it’s non-support from family and friends, working multiple jobs to support their art, artists who are finding the balance between raising children and following their passion for creating.
What is my greatest extravagance? My big studio! Until about 4.5 years ago I always had a studio in my home and could never justify the expense of paying rent on one. But having made that leap over 4 years ago has propelled my art business in significant ways. I find I’m more productive out of the house because there are fewer distractions, I and my clients view me as more professional and I love being surrounded by other artists on a daily basis. It keeps me inspired and not so isolated. But is it really an extravagance to invest in yourself??
On what occasion would I lie? If I think the truth would be harmful to someone.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? The paperwork, the marketing, all of the administrative things we have to do as self-employed business owners! I would advise every aspiring art student to not only take art classes but business and marketing classes as well because you will spend just as much if not more time on those tasks than creating the actual artwork.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work? There are always two moments I live for that keep me creating: the moment when I am happy with the finished piece, when it flowed from my hands as if by magic (this does not happen very often but when it does, oh, it’s so addictive!) and the moment a viewer is visibly touched by the work, when that connection between my work, the viewer and me is present. These moments feed my soul and keep me returning to the easel time and time again.
If I could, what would I change about myself? I would practice better time management, let go of fears and just dive in!
What is my greatest achievement in work? I have been fortunate to have won some very nice awards and have my work published, but the times when I have brought joy and comfort to family members by capturing their deceased loved ones in posthumous portraits the way they remember them (even if I never had met them in person myself) top everything for me. This happens when I am able to “connect” with the subjects during the painting process, when I feel they are there in the studio with me and it’s a gift I treasure and never take for granted. It is those times I feel that I serve a greater purpose than just creating a new painting.
Where would I most like to live? I love where I currently live: Southern California! It was my dream to live here and I’m fortunate to live very close to the beach while enjoying mountain views all around me as well. But having traveled extensively I could see myself living in other places (mostly in Europe) for extended periods of time, especially my home city of Berlin, Germany.
What is my most treasured possession? I hesitate to say my children, family and friends because they are not possessions, but they do rank first! I’d also have to say my good health that allows me to live the type of life I want.
What is my most marked characteristic? Tenacity and passion.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city? Anywhere outdoors: the beach, on a hiking or running trail, top of a mountain. Other artists’ studios, museums and galleries are great, and fill my creative well with inspiration but it’s in Mother Nature that I’m most tuned into myself and my connection to the Source of all things. It’s at those times I receive ideas and solutions.
What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? I love having a picnic on the beach! Pizza or homemade, doesn’t matter, but food always tastes better outdoors.
What books influenced my life and how? Eric Maisel’s books on creativity have been hugely helpful during artistic blocks, as have other books dealing with the creative process. While I enjoy a good novel, I am always inspired by biographies of creative people.
Who are my favorite writers? Alice Walker, John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Gilbert, J.K. Rowling, Emily and Charlotte Brontë, and on and on….how much time do you have?
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Again, so many to choose from, but these would be top of my list: Beethoven’s 9th, Ode to Joy, Amazing Grace, Hallelujah, Pink Floyd, Nessun Dorma s(ung by Pavarotti). But that’s what I say today, who knows how I’d feel that day! Maybe I’d like to listen to a whole lot of upbeat songs that make me want to dance!
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? People who overcome fears and obstacles to keep after their dreams and aspirations no matter what, who find and create ways to accomplish their goals and who do it without causing any harm to others. People who go out of their way to help others even if they put themselves in harm’s way. People who are born into dire circumstances, poverty, hunger and war yet persevere and still see the good and find happiness.
Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? One that immediately comes to mind because I recently watched it for a second time (which does not happen very often) is Babel, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and written by Guillermo Arriaga, with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. I think it’s an important movie to watch in today’s climate where the world is so much more intertwined and an action in one country can hive dire consequences in another. It’s a perfect example of how we are all one, all connected in one way or another and how our actions can affect others, even in far off cultures.
What role plays art in my life and work? It IS my life and work! It’s part of who I am, can’t shut it off. I see art in everything I do, everything around me and it’s exhilarating, spiritual, inspiring. Nature as well as the creations of mankind in all of their forms are art to me and I’m thankful that I notice them!
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? I’d have to say my two daughters and my brother. They have never once said anything less than encouraging, have cheered me on and always celebrated the ups and consoled me through the downs, never resented my time spent on art. My daughters have also been my muses, having posed for my paintings many times. Romantic partners have not always been so unconditionally supportive, but my kids and my brother ALWAYS have!
Whom would I like to work with in 2017? There are several galleries and curators with which I’d love to work but I don’t want to jinx anythingJ Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2017? There are too many figurative painters whom I admire to list here! Also, I’d like to meet many more collectors who like my work;)
What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on? Continuing my series Silence of The Lambs which began as an outpouring of emotions, memories and revolt during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. I’m looking forward to creating more and more personal work.
Where can you see me or my work in 2017? I spend most of my time in my studio in Camarillo, CA, where we have Open Studios every Saturday of each month from 11-3. I will also be showing work in group exhibitions at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, CA, as well as other galleries in and around Los Angeles. One of my water paintings is currently in a traveling exhibition in China and I’m hoping to show my work in Berlin one of these days but it may be after 2017. You can always check on the events link at the bottom of my website: http://www.daggistudio.com.
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? It means that I intend to be passionate about my work, all art, life, people and nature until the day I leave this Earth. Passion IS life, so until life ceases, passion will continue.
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? Judy Takacs Pendergast, Ohio painter and writer whose painting series such as Chicks with Balls and her brilliant and funny writing I have long admired even though I have not met her in person…yet!