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Artist Vance Diamond takes inspiration from outer space


With the Interact studio temporarily closed, we're revisiting some of the conversations we had with artists in late 2019. In this interview, Visual Arts instructor Brita Light and artist Vance Diamond sit down over hamburgers to discuss his interest in outer space, career aspirations, and the work he refers to as his psychic drawings.


Vance Diamond: Oh boy.

Brita Light: Okay, so, I've started recording now, Vance. That's a big burger. Here, don't let it fall apart on ya.

VD: (Laughter.)

BL: Here are some napkins.

VD: Yeah.

BL: So, can you tell me about how you start making a piece? Do you start with an idea?

VD: No, I just go ahead and do it.

BL: How do you know where to start?

VD: I just write. Your hand does that.


Vance Diamond, Mississippi, 2017, pastel and graphite on paper, 20 x 14 inches


BL: What do you think makes you want to draw? Did you always draw?

VD: Yeah.

BL: When you were a kid, did you?

VD: Never. 

BL: What do you hope when you make a piece, what do you want to see happen with your work?

VD: Leave it there [in the flatfile] until it is time to sell it.

BL: So is selling your work important to you?

VD: Yeah.

BL: Is it important to you to make work, even if you don't sell it?

VD: Yeah.


Vance Diamond, Earth, 2019, pastel on paper, 17 x 11 inches


BL: Are there other artists whose work you're interested in?

VD: Nah, I like them all.

BL: Any famous artists?

VD: Uh-uh. How about me? Am I famous?

BL: Well, maybe you will be after we finish this interview.

VD: Uh oh.

BL: Do you feel like drawing helps you to express yourself?

VD: Yeah, anybody else, too.

BL: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

VD: Just make anything you want.


 Vance Diamond, Los Angeles, 2019, pastel and graphite on paper, 17 x 11 inches


BL: How would you describe yourself as an artist?

VD: Oh, just by painting.

BL: What kind of artist are you?

VD: Sketching and drawing.

BL: A sketcher and a drawer?

VD: Yeah.

BL: What do you hope people think when they see your work?

VD: "Ehnah, uh-uh."


BL: You hope they say that?

VD: Yeah.


Vance Diamond, Outer Space (detail), 2018, pastel on paper, 26 x 20 inches


BL: Can you tell me about your psychic drawings?

VD: Oh. They're from the universe and outer space.

BL: How did you start thinking about the universe and getting interested in that?

VD: TV. 

BL: Any particular show?

VD: Stark Trek.

BL: So, do you think about outer space a lot?

VD: Yeah. It's quite different in outer space.

BL: When you say that they're psychic drawings, does that mean that it's you making them, or are you saying the inspiration comes from outer space?

VD: Outer space.

BL: That's how you know what to draw?

VD: Yeah.

BL: How does that work?

VD: Well, I do psychic drawings to see what's going on in the world.


Vance Diamond, Sun, 2019, pastel on paper, 17 x 11 inches


BL: Did you make them when you were a kid, too?

VD: No. It just came to me after I became psychic.

BL: After you became psychic, you started making art?

VD: Yeah, yeah.

BL: How did you know you were psychic?

VD: There's a lady. Didn't get along with the family too well. She told me.

BL: Who was it?

VD: Her name was Barb. 


Vance Diamond, Space Cake, mixed media on paper, 2017, 20 x 14 inches


BL: (Pulling out a drawing from Vance's portfolio.) This is one of my favorites.

VD: Now that's one of my bigger ones. I like it. Ladies wear the diamond ring. That's what it is.

BL: A diamond ring?

VD: Yeah.

(Crinkling of food wrap.)

BL: Do you like the burger?

VD: Oh, yeah.

BL: I'm gonna eat, too. Should I keep recording in case you want to say more?

VD: Yeah.

(Vance and Brita enjoy their food.)

BL: What else do you want people to know about your work?

VD: Well, I kind of like what I've been doing. So far I've said some pretty good things. 

BL: You've said some pretty good things. Is there anything else you want to say before I shut it off?

VL: I want to turn this off for now.

BL: Okay.

VD: Yeah.


Vance Diamond has called Interact his studio since 2012. Primarily working in drawing and painting, Vance is inspired by outer space, which is where he gets ideas for much of his work. Recent exhibitions include Randomland at The White Page (Minneapolis, MN), Work with Your Quirk! at the Bridgewater (Minneapolis, MN), and Changing Landscapes at the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota. You can find more of his work here.

Brita Light is a mixed media artist working across drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. She is currently working on a series of miniature living spaces and exploring the emotional environment imbued in them. She has been a Visual Arts instructor at Interact since 2014.