WRITTEN BY: CARLI BAZINETT
Denisse Wolf is a celebrated artist within San Diego and the North Park community. She contributed an outstanding art piece for the 2015 SDCCU Festival of Arts in North Park and was selected as the featured artist. Her banners were seen throughout the community with tremendous accolade. Denisse recently opened a studio in North Park where she gathers inspiration from the urban art scene and community. We jumped at the opportunity to ask her a couple of questions and get to know a little more about her and to see how she finds inspiration from the North Park community.
Carli Bazinett: Tell me a little bit about when you decided to go “pro” in the sense of when did you decide to dedicate yourself to your art.
Denisse Wolf: This whole career as an artist happened so organically with no expectations. I went through something very difficult in my life that made me turn to art, through painting. I don’t think I have ever done anything that has made me feel so surprisingly free. I found myself through art. I took a total of one drawing class in my life when I studied to be a graphic designer, so considering I am a self-taught artist, it took me a while to believe I could do this as a profession. I decided to do this on a more serious note, when I started selling my pieces and getting commissioned. Everything started falling into place when I got out of the way and believed in myself.
CB: Do you remember the first painting you did that you were really proud of? That painting that made you say, ‘Yes, this is my calling; I am an artist’.
DW: I remember when I did a large painting of a WWII Soldier, I just really loved the image I found in a book, so I decided to paint it. I still didn’t think of myself as an “artist,” but I did wonder why I hadn’t done this before. My husband asked me why I hadn’t told him that I could paint, and I didn’t really know I could either. I sold that painting not too long after, and I took it as a validation and an encouraging sign to move forward.
CB: Was there a moment or a decision you made in your career that you feel was a personal success?
DW: I tend to be really hard on myself, especially when it has my name on it. When I decided to dedicate myself to being a full on artist, I considered that a moment of personal success. I was recently invited to paint a piece for the NBA All Star Game, and all of the players received a print of mine.
CB: What are you working on right now, or what are you currently obsessed with?
DW: I am luckily swamped with commissioned work until the end of summer. I’m so obsessed right now with my new studio in North Park. I’m so excited to bring and create new and different things!
CB: What’s the one painting you’ve painted that you will always keep?
DW: I only own one piece of my own, it was my very first piece and it is of my dog Celia. It signifies much more than just a painting, it represents growth and the day I found myself.
CB: San Diego is a big city, why did you choose North Park to live in?
DW: There is a nook and cranny for everyone’s lifestyle in San Diego; for me it was North Park. It offers the right amount of urban as it does the sense of community. It is a great place to be a part of.
CB: What about North Park inspires you?
DW: I love the culture and the creativity flow around these parts of the city. North Park is a community that is continuously changing and it embraces its resources, including art and local businesses. Knowing that I am part of this, encourages me to create and grow.
CB: How has opening a studio changed your life?
DW: I’m very excited to open up my first public studio. This changes things quite a bit. The pressure is on (in the very best way possible). It symbolizes a rather important stepping stone in my artistic career. It means I’m doing something right and my voice is being heard.
CB: Did your artwork receive more attention after winning the SDCCU Festival of Arts contest? What kind of opportunities did winning the contest open up?
DW: Winning the SDCCU Festival of Arts was so exciting! It was just the best opportunity to grow locally in North Park. The Festival itself was also a great way to meet other local artists, vendors and business owners – it’s all about networking!
CB: What’s your favorite part about North Park?
DW: My favorite part of North Park is the community. I’m also big on pets, so I love seeing everyone with their furry kids.
CB: How has living in North Park inspired/changed your art?
DW: What I notice about North Park artists is the diversity in styles. Everyone is unique; illustrators, fine artists, graffiti artists, contemporary artists, tattoo artists – all different and all awesome. These things encourage me to get out of my comfort zone.