On The Chaise Longue: Dace Kidd
bY Derrick White
Latvia is a Baltic Sea country between Lithuania and Estonia. It borders Russia to the East and is six to eight hundred miles north of Ukraine. Latvia’s countryside contains extensive coastlines as well as intense, expansive woodlands. Latvia’s capital is Riga, home to distinguished wooden and art nouveau architecture. This is the former home country of East Texas juggernaut, artist Dace Kidd. Dace is a tremendous force in the East Texas art scene and one of the hardest working artists in town. She remembers, “Creating art became my pursuit when I was five years old. My parents enrolled me in a local children’s art school. It shaped my childhood and set me on a path to attempt acceptance in the prestigious Jānis Rozentāls Art School in Riga, Latvia, a high school combining academic art training with a traditional high school program. One of my teachers in my middle school told me I would never succeed as an artist and would not be accepted. Instead, I became very spiteful, which motivated me to practice every day. I was eventually accepted into the prominent school and graduated with honors. I then applied and was accepted into the Latvian Art Academy (Latvijas Mākslas Akadēmija). I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and then went for two years to Accademia di Belle Arti Palermo, Italy, where I studied Italian masters and mural painting. Currently, those studies have become significant for my work, and I continue to study art every day.”
Dace recalls, “My family in Latvia is not artistic except for my dad. He is a jeweler and seeing him make things by starting with a simple sketch and then creating a beautiful piece of jewelry seemed like magic. Early on, he involved me in the design process, and by six, I was drawing rings and bracelets he later made for his clients or me. I suffered from asthma as a child and could not play sports, and was very shy, so I would stay home and practice my art. Latvia in the nineties was recovering from the oppressive influence of the Soviet Union, and even if you had some money, you could not acquire everything you wanted. So, if it were someone’s birthday or a special occasion, I would make the gift. Part of being creative was to investigate what the person liked and execute it so it would surprise the person when I presented it. Receiving the feedback of those positive emotions was a massive trigger for becoming an artist. I still do it to this day.”
Dace Kidd began her professional career in Europe, where she was represented by a gallery. Then in 2011, she relocated to Texas and restarted her career. She has been a whirlwind of energy engaged in the local art community. She states, “A significant turning point for me was when I painted the first mural on Tyler’s Broadway Ave. since the 1960s, in downtown Tyler, The Eyes of Tyler and a couple of years later created The Wings of Tyler with local artist, Cassie Edmonds. Last year, I completed the largest hand-painted mural in Texas, Flower Power, located in the historic downtown district of Longview.” She continues, “My style is often described as eclectic with influences of impressionism, minimalism, pop-art, and op-art with a nod to early Italian modernism. I enjoy using negative space in my compositions to allow the viewer an opportunity to interpret and discover diverse ways of seeing. My work is often very personal; however, I do many commission pieces that are collaborations between my client and me. It is thrilling to work with someone on a project. It is like taking a road trip and not knowing where the journey will lead.”
Kidd works mostly in oil and acrylic paints on canvas. She has been a practicing studio artist for close to two decades. She enjoys drawing, painting on paper, and creating digital art. Dace has also used some, let us say, non-traditional materials in the creation of her artwork. She recalls, “My Texas series was created using cow patty and tequila when I first moved to Texas. It started as a joke, but my friends loved it so much that I kept creating more. You can see one of my longhorns at Stanley’s Pit BBQ painted using bourbon and cow patty (with a bit of linseed oil as a fixative). I make sculptures from paper and use them as drawing surfaces to create three-dimensional drawings. I enjoy fashion and décor and creating wearable decorative art.”
Dace states something art has brought to her life is connections to other people. She says, “I would have never moved to Texas if I had not received an art critique from my future husband and I corrected him. He assumed I was a man, and that is how we met. I have learned making art is never easy, however with practice, you get better at it, and more effort seldom equates to more quality. I appreciate and thank my friends, family, and patrons for their support and for allowing me to be a successful artist in East Texas, where I can both pay my light bill and give back to our community. My greatest thank you goes to my husband James, who is incredibly good at carrying ladders and helping to operate lifts and painting between the lines and making sure I always have plenty of chocolates and caffeine.”
Dace will be curating the sixth international juried Arcadia Art Show (AASH) this fall. The call for artists will open later this spring. This is a wonderful opportunity for local artists and patrons. More information is at www.artshowtyler.com and she is currently painting a mural in the historic azalea district on the corner of South College and Rusk Street. The mural depicts the historic Cotton Belt Route, an engine and depot surrounded by roses and azaleas.