Five Questions: Dragana Monson

I’m senior project manager in an architectural office, presently leading design team working on Affordable Multifamily Housing project in San Francisco. I have been practicing architecture in Bay Area since receiving graduate degree from UC Berkeley in 1982, and have variety of projects in my portfolio (housing, institutional and religious facilities).

If you could use any special or rare material in your work, what would it be?
My work often contains original, one of a kind materials, personal documents, mementos, photographs, unique wallpaper etc. collaged into it. One of my next pieces will include more than 60 year old wedding “wreath” my mom wore. I would also like to try to use leather, its tactile quality and durability offers great possibilities for juxtaposition with more fragile, paper like materials…. I’m inspired by stories embedded in those found materials, often they are intensely personal, containing family history, forgotten events …

Do you ask anyone to give you feedback on a work in progress?

I receive feedback from my teachers while attending evening Extension classes at CCA, as well as occasional weekend workshops. If so, why did you chose that person/people? Since art is not my vocation and I never attended an art school, I feel I have so much to learn from artists who are teaching these classes and workshops. So far, in the last 4 years, I have been working with only 3 women artist and each one of them offered me very valuable and generous advice and helped me grow and open new tracks for me to explore.

Dragana Monson, Fear Reduced

What is the longest amount of time you have ever spent creating one work? What is the least?
My working time on each piece can vary between two-hours up to twelve-hours or so. Sometimes I leave piece alone for a while and then come back to it, and in that case it can be a bit longer.

Do you have a funny or unusual technique?
I don’t believe so, I use mixed media, layer materials using medium gel, sometimes build layers one over the other…. Sometimes I draw or write over painted surface of collaged material…. Nothing unusual…

What do you do to get over blocks to creativity?
I don’t paint regularly, I do it when inspiration comes (and I have time), usually I’m provoked by something I find (document, story) and want to incorporate into a piece, or an event that brings a memory that pushes me to do art. It is very spontaneous process and since it is not every day that I work on my art, I have lots of “stored material” in me. Sometimes I just start by putting paint on paper and seeing where it takes me… Element of chance definitely plays a role in my work.


One thought on “Five Questions: Dragana Monson

  1. nevenka gril says:

    Here I am, Dragana’s friend from Serbia.
    Not surprised at all! Such a deep, subtle and distinctive emotions were bound to be layered in reach and picturesque piles of memories – what a pleasure to see some of them tranfered into the piece of art!

    Congratulations, Dragana

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