Delphine Diallo = Feminist + Collage Photographer
What are three words that describe you?
Energy - Generosity - Honesty
What was your first artistic memory?
My mother taught me how to draw when I was three or four. I remember the art books she used to buy; for me they were like temples of anatomy: colors, forms, shapes and perspectives.
When did you realize you wanted to become an artist?
When it was too late to make another choice! A big influence was meeting Peter Beard in 2007. We became friends and he really pulled me out of my comfort zone. That was the best gift. Now, I understand what it means to have a mentor: he flipped a switch.
What was your biggest influence growing up?
My mother signed me up for judo classes when I was a kid. Even today, I thank her for that. It was an environment where kids were wearing the same clothes, boys and girls together. When you enter the space, there are rules of respect and honesty. It appeals to me as the best lesson I received as a kid. I think it really helped me when I came to the Unites States face the challenges that were awaiting.
Why do you create? What is your message?
Creativity is a natural form for me. It is something inside you that you have to express and can't contain. For me creativity is pure love, it is pure consciousness. It comes to you by pure nature and it's one of the most important forms of freedom mankind can have.
With my work I hope to break the conformity, the status quo of what people are supposed to think and do with their lives. My message is to inspire women and support women first because I have a lot of beliefs for women and their potential.
What do you think you would be if you were not an artist?
Not a human being. Another type of creature. I have lots of beliefs but they're all set in mythology. We need stories, signs, symbols. As human beings, we have to find meaning in everything we're doing. If we don't, we just die. We were born this way.
Why do you think photography is your medium of choice?
The knowledge we have of vision today is very limited: we don't understand how we've been constructed through entertainment, politics, movies...society conditions you. Photography is my only weapon against intolerance and ignorance. Every time I am creating a vision, I am teaching myself. I'm actually a student and I keep going through the photography: it's a tool of personal growth.
First step in your creative process?
I never have the same day. To get inspired I need to get out: I travel, I give myself time and space, meet artist friends. Usually I don't have a wall. Creativity is something natural after 10 or 15 years of practicing it. It has a fluid rhythm: I never know when it's coming but it's there almost every day. There is no separation between my work and my life.
What's your favorite artwork you've ever made?
I didn't make it but I came up with the idea: it's the portrait my mother took of me. I think it's a brilliant idea to ask your creator to create a piece of you. Somehow the love she has for you is inside the heart and translates into the lens. The love is so deep that it's what creativity actually is.
Are there any causes you're passionate about?
I've been shooting diverse women of different backgrounds for eight years. I didn't see them in museums, in galleries, so I wanted to start that work. It doesn't make sense to keep going in this direction of objectification. This work was about me breaking my condition as a woman object. Of course it's finally becoming a big topic and I'm very happy, because I have a lot to say.
Do you listen to music when you create? What type?
Yes: music and I have a very long relationship. I often dated musicians and I tried to escape that world when I moved to the US. But my work seems to keep attracting music. I also grew up around music, at the studio listening to recordings, I'm familiar with the process. It helped me on my photo production: the reason, the complexity of every tool, the long sessions and hours of composition. I'm a big fan of worldwide music and DJs with new ideas. I think music is sometimes stronger than vision: it translates into any language. I think it's beyond religion and helps you live a better life.
What is success for you?
Success is that I wake up every morning, open my eyes and I love my life. Which means I love what I do and I love my friends. Money isn't as important as I thought it was: it doesn't change much. It doesn't teach you anything. The only thing you can learn from life is attracting the right people and projects.
What would you imagine your last words to be?
It's too early to say. But I hope to take that door with gratitude and a lot of respect for those who have helped me along the way.
This artist is based in Brooklyn, NY
For more info: delphinediallo.com