Daphne Minkoff sees beauty where others may not. In the cover image, a collage of an old, abandoned Wonder Bread factory made from oil and photographs, Minkoff ties the
sentimental image of the brand as a wholesome icon — “you think about family sitting together eating sandwiches” — and what remains when the place that manufactured the icon has outlived its usefulness.
“Most people, I think, have this idealized view of what beauty should be or is,” she says. “Mine’s just a little different.”
Aside from the style of collage, there’s not a lot of similarity between the Wonder Bread factory and her more recent Narrative series. On the cover of the calendar at the center of this guide, Narrative with Nest is one of several collages she created concurrently. For a base layer, copies of old letters made what Minkoff calls “background noise.” She then covered that with a layer of beeswax encaustic and added further layers of postcards and old magazines, with a bit of spray paint mixed in. Between each layer she sanded to achieve her intended effect.
Incidentally, while the letters in this particular series did not have any specific significance beyond texture, in a previous series created for Seattle Art Museum’s Transformations exhibit the letters were the point: Her grandfather fought in the Prussian Army against the Russians in World War II. He never returned. Copies of his last correspondence with his family, letters Minkoff’s mother held onto for many years after he went missing in action, made up those artworks’ base.
“That was all I had of my grandfather,” Minkoff says. “I don’t have an image of him, I don’t have a relationship I can remember with him.”
Minkoff can pinpoint the moment she decided to create art full-time: It was during a visit from one of Israel’s best-known authors at her post-graduate program at the Arad Art Project.
“We met Amos Oz and he just talked about how no matter what your discipline is, you have to think of it as your store. Sometimes the customers come and sometimes they don’t, but you always have to go to the store and open the store,” Minkoff explains. “He was talking about inspiration — that you can’t just make work when you’re inspired, otherwise you’d never make it.”
So now, more than a decade later, whether she paints, cleans her brushes, or merely sweeps the floor, she still shows up in her studio, day after day.
Daphne Minkoff is represented by Linda Hodges Gallery. More of her work can be viewed at http://www.lindahodgesgallery.com. New pieces will be featured during the Pioneer Square First Thursday art walk in October 2011.