Dévi Shyamalan Loftus’ sculptural work crosses paths with painting and installation, exploring the dimensionality and materiality of textile, and how it relates to other media and space. Just graduated from Pratt Institute and consistently experimenting, check out more recent work at the links below!
Can you tell me a little bit about you?
Philadelphia born artist, currently based in NYC. I hold a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA from Pratt Institute. My textile work is very labor driven and demanding of my time. I am constantly dragging my work everywhere. It comes on trains and planes with me. When I work on it before I go to sleep, it *occasionally* ends up sleeping with me in my bed.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
Art has always been a huge part of my life. I was exposed to working with my hands from a young age. I painted, wove baskets, worked with wood, and learned how to sew all before age ten.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
Bringing the digital into my work has been a new thing for me. I’m really interested in digital space and how it interacts (or doesn’t interact) with physical space. I’m trying to make digital objects into tangible ones. I’m also interested in the movement of digital information and how it maneuvers through space.
What is your process like?
I glitch photographs that I take on my phone. The photograph becomes completely abstract. I then print them onto fabric and use the pattern to dictate how the fabric gets manipulated by hand. I’m interested in the dichotomy between the immediacy of the photo and the weeks of hand labor that goes into each piece. I’m exploring the meaning of “an instant” and how technology allows us to understand it now.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
I’m grateful I let go of painting, and got “weirder” as one of my teachers suggested. My works moved off of the wall and continue to explore the spaces where they exist.
What is your studio like?
Messy! I am a borderline hoarder but that’s what inspires some of my favorite work. Something I threw to the side a few months ago suddenly sparks a new idea.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
The most frustrating part about pursuing art is that it’s a very niche field so when venturing outside of the art world people don’t always understand the choices I’ve made in life. They do have a point though—it’s risky to dedicate yourself to something so uncertain. I still can’t imagine doing anything else!
What are three words you would use to describe your work?
Awkward. Soft. Fun.
What are you working on right now?
I just started exploring ceramics and will probably continue to focus on that.