For Dily Terry, everyone is an artist as long as you have a passion for making art. Based in Bristol, UK, the artist's passion can be felt in her sensual and bold nude figures. Whether through painting, drawing, or digital art-making methods, a palpable energy can be found in each of her figures, a spark of something that is about ignite. Join me in conversation as the artist and I discuss her experience as a queer artist, her deep love of nude figures, and how she--along with a group of her friends--started a community-based art and music space.
Let's begin with a little about you. Where are you from originally and where are you currently based? Did you grow up in a creative environment?
I grew up in Portsmouth, UK and I am now currently based in Bristol. I was raised in a very creative environment, my parents both taught at junior schools. However, my dad’s teaching was in a forest school. This meant he worked with pottery, sculptures ,and carpentry with me and his students. My mum was similar with her creative side, however, she expressed this with her writing, alongside illustration. This led to me and my brother becoming very intrigued in the creative world and this passion never perished.
When did you first consider yourself an artist?
It took me a while to consider myself an artist. I thought you’d have to have won some awards or achieved something great. However, I realized when friends would ask me for advice on drawing, painting, or general queries, that they had the same doubt in themselves as being an artist. If you have the love and passion for making art, that’s what makes you an artist.
What continuously draws you to the human form as a subject? Have you always been drawn to the nude figure?
I have always been mesmerized with the human subject and the nude figure. In college I was almost scared to paint women as naked. Being a queer person, it made me worry people would think I’m gay because I grew up in Portsmouth, which is not a gay friendly city. When I started university, I felt more open to do what I wanted, I didn’t have to worry about the way people thought of me and my art. As I painted more women in the nude, I became more comfortable with my queerness to the point if someone questions me [about] being heterosexual, I am offended.
You have such a distinct artistic style. Can you talk about your journey arriving at this style and getting to where you are now?
My journey getting to my style was not an easy one, finding the artistic style that you love and want to keep producing is a hard endeavor. It requires a lot of mental gymnastics for some. and for others it just falls into place! It wasn’t until second year of university that I really settled into my love for painting the nude. I chose pornography and the positions and adverts that they produce because this creates a real conversation about my work with other people. I personally find porn fascinating and wanted to bring aspects of it into paintings of people that weren’t always being overtly sexual.
With the colors I use for my work, I have been doing this for quite sometime. I use the three primary colors I like in order to intensify these colors within my subject’s skin tones.
I understand you are also a graphic designer. What led you down this career path? Does this feed into your independent artwork, and vice versa?
Graphic design and illustration have also been a burning passion of mine. When working with my digital work, it opens a world with no boundaries, one in which I fell in love with instantaneously. My digital work has been something I’ve worked on since college. Working on programs like Adobe Illustrator and Procreate, I’ve been able to express myself through different forms of work. Alongside this I use animation to help bring my work to life, a skill that I hope to expand through all forms of art and where I hope to form a career from. With my graphic design jobs, I have worked with small companies and start-ups, ones in which have not subjected me to using my own style and have led me to work my style into other walks of life.
Can you tell me a bit about “Brackery”, your involvement, and what they do?
The Brakery is an arts and music collective idea me and some friends had. From university, it made me and a lot of my friends realize that the art world is a cruel and expensive place--hard for young people or poor people to become a part of. We wanted The Brakery to be a community-based arts space in which it is run by artists for artists, never wanting to take profit from the artists we get involved with and help create a collective in which people can make friends, sell work through us, and begin their network. The music side of things happened from our love of music and almost slipped into our hands by accident from living in Brighton. This helped us meet lots of people that wanted to become apart of our collective and help us put on nights for everyone to have fun! This project has proved to be a lot of fun and has brought artists and musicians together in a beautiful way.
Who are some artists working today that you particularly admire?
Some artists today that I admire today are Pascal Möhlmann, an artist that paints using figurative work with a lot of violent or sexual scenes. This art I find hypnotizing, the way the paint brush marks flow through some scenes of people fighting whilst simultaneously having sex. The images can be quite disturbing, but this is what draws me in. Another artist I have enjoyed looking at is Motoko Ishibashi, her photography and paintings that investigate the sexualization of Asian women creates such fantastic bodies of work. These images, much like Pascal Möhlmann, create a conversation around their work, one that differs from the average fine art world.
What music influences your artwork?
Music that influences my work is Jazz, Reggae and World Music ,which normally comes from Africa. These types of music generally calm me or help me fall into the zone of painting where I forget everything around me and focus on the painting.