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Chevere: Daena Title

I was going for Joy. And Celebration. How “Chevere” to see a Supreme Court Judge cutting loose and dancing at a disco. But during the time I have been working on this painting, Donald Trump has changed the environment for Latinos in this country. He has insulted a Latino judge saying he was incapable, by the very fact of being of Latino heritage, of doing his job. He has told us the kind of people he would nominate to the Court. I don’t think Justice Sotomayor would be on that list.

So what was initially a dance of joy may now be a dance while you can—or, depending on the results on November 8, a dance of triumph and relief.

For me, for now, it is still a dance of joy—a Latino woman on the Supreme Court—that is something to dance about.
— Daena Title


If you could describe your life (or career) (or personality) with a movie title, what would it be?

Career: To Have and Have Not
Personality: Truly, Madly, Deeply

You get one chance to go back to your childhood for a day, what day would it be? 

I think I would pick the day my late father took me to see the collection at the old MOMA, the one that had "Guernica" in the stairwell, for the first time; I think I was 9? And I'd experience all those paintings for the first time, and hear him again trying to convey his passion for them to me as he guided me through that astonishing new world that he loved so much.

Is there a color you dislike so much you won't use it?

Funny, one of my early teachers told me to not use white, black or brown.  She said I should mix my own colors to create browns and black, and that I shouldn't rely on mixing in white or black for value but lean instead on color choice. These days, thankfully, I use more white, but I don't tend to use earth colors, burnt sienna or the umbers That's no secret looking at my work which is very Cadmium, Thalo chromatic. I even have to remind myself, usually in the last stages of a painting, that Yellow Ochre exists, as I am so drawn to the brighter yellows. And black, oh black, is always a choice rather than an impulse.

How many times have you ventured outside of your comfort zone? 

Too few! Too few! I will try again today. And tomorrow. 

Who would you like to have sit for you for a portrait? 

Steve Martin, that is, if he's in a talkative mood.

If you were sent to space to paint or write, which three books would you take with you? 

I would die in space where there is no color, and no book could fill the gap. Please don't send me there.

Sotomayor at the Disco | oil on canvas | 48 x 24 inches |  2016

Sotomayor at the Disco | oil on canvas | 48 x 24 inches |  2016


Feminist painter Daena Title's colorist, expressionist work centers on her obsession with the seductive force of modern female icons. Her work has been shown in gallery and museum spaces since 1998, including recent group exhibitions at the Carnegie Art Museum, the Long Beach Art Museum, The Oceanside Museum, the Riverside Musem, the Torrance Art Museum, as well as Koplin del Rio and Gallery 825 in Los Angeles. Her next solo show will be at the Carter Burden Gallery in Chelsea, Manhattan in September of 2017. Title has received critical praise for past solo exhibitions from the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, and the Huffington Post, and was included in the Post’s recent article about the Zhou B Art Center group show “Freak Out!”, “Neither Painting Nor Disco is Dead and Here’s the Art to Prove It”.  Title is proud that her work is part of the Brooklyn Museum Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art Online Feminist Art base and the Tullman Collection.  See more of Title’s work or join her mailing list at daenatitle.comYou can also follow her as Daena Title Artist on Facebook. 

Didi MenendezComment