Queer Artists in Their Own Words: Dani Lopez Reaches Back in Time With Her Work

The month of June is a time to celebrate the LGBTQ community and reflect on the advances of queer people to strengthen civil liberties around the world, even in a moment of great political uncertainty. It’s also a good opportunity to spotlight the richness and diversity of culture we have within the community. Hyperallergic is commemorating Pride Month by featuring one contemporary queer artist per day on the website and letting them speak for themselves. Click here to participate.

Portrait of Dani Lopez in her studio with one of her weavings, “a way in/a way out” (2018) (image courtesy the artist)

Age: 36

Location: Oakland, California

Artistic Medium: Textiles

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m a textiles artist who just finished graduate school. I weave, embroider, and make fiber sculpture. I make work that aims to reach back in time to give myself a queer youth. Some of the work are enlarged objects from everyday life, others are abstract weavings, and some are slightly figurative works. Working between queer utopia and trauma theory is where I’m at right now in the work. I love being at the loom.

What are the top three greatest influences on your work?

Music (Robyn and Frank Ocean), queer culture (lesbian Instagrammers), and literature (contemporary fiction and memoirs).

Describe your coffee order.

Iced americano with light half & half, plus simple syrup.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Finishing grad school in my mid-30s and learning to weave.

What constitutes a perfect day?

Sleeping in, doing yoga, and heading to the studio for a nice 6–8 hours of work. Find a friend to have a margarita with, maybe see some good art, head home, make something tasty for dinner (or maybe some takeout), watch a movie, and then read in bed before lights out.

What was your favorite exhibition from last year?

Made in LA at the Hammer Museum.

What would your superpower be if you had one?

Having all the technical weaving knowledge one could possibly have just downloaded into my brain.

Tell us a lie about yourself.

I came out when I was young.

What is one question you wish somebody would ask about your work?

Why do textiles do something for you versus painting or anything else?

What is the greatest threat to humanity?

Trump, late-stage neoliberal capitalism, and people who don’t value the arts.

What did you make when you first started making art?

I drew a lot of portraits when I was young. I was pretty basic.

Do you prefer spilling the tea or throwing shade?

A heavy dose of spilling the tea with a pinch of throwing shade. Preferably over drinks with close friends.

What is your all-time favorite work of art?

“Eulogy for a Dyke Bar” by Macon Reed, “Untitled (Glass on Body)” by Ana Mendieta, Cy Twombly’s blackboard paintings, Ebony G. Patterson’s artworks, “Untitled (Signs of Love)” by Ree Morton, Robert Morris’s felt works, “Longtime Companion” by Josh Faught, and “bitter attendance, drown jubilee” by Diedrick Brackens.

What are your plans for pride month?

Spending time with as many of my queer folx as possible and DYKE MARCH!

What is the future of queerness?

In the words of Ilana Glazer on Broad City: “We’re headed toward an age where everybody’s gonna be, like, caramel and queer.”

Back in my day…

You knew how devastating the AIDS Crisis was and calling yourself a lesbian wasn’t gauche.

Name one guilty pleasure.

Doritos, Dr. Pepper, and gossip.

Greatest queer icon of the internet: Babadook, Momo, or a pervading sense of existential angst?

A pervading sense of existential angst.

Is there enough support for queer artists where you live?

No, and I live in the Bay Area.

How do you stay cool during the summer?

Water, iced coffee, and Moscow mules.

What is your favorite type of milk?

Almond or oat milk.

“Queer Artists in Their Own Words” is an ongoing feature happening every day in the month of June. For prior posts in the series, please click here.

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