Artist Profile: Darlene Olivia McElroy

Darlene Olivia McElroy

Darlene Olivia McElroy comes from an old New Mexico family of storytellers and artists. She began making art the first time she had access to both a wall and a drawing instrument. She credits her grandfather, an artist on Catalina Island, as her artistic mentor and greatest influence.

Darlene currently lives in Santa Fe with her husband, Dave, and their four dogs, Oso, Taco, Bernie and Zola.

She is currently working on her third book for North Light Books, again teaming up with friend and collaborator Sandra Duran WIlson. Mixed Media Revolution will be in stores in December 2012 but you can check out Image Transfer Workshop and Surface Treatment Workshop today! (And check out selected PDF downloads here and here!

Catch up with all Darlene is working by visiting her website:

Q: What kind of art are you known for?

Mixed Media Narrative Art. I am a visual storyteller and I just can’t paint a picture with out some kind of visual dialogue going on.

Q: What is on your workspace right?

Currently in My Workspace: Second Hand Interesting Things

Old frames, wood pieces, canvases, panels and tons of S.H.I.T. (second hand interesting things)

Q: Why do you make art?

Citrus Muse by Darlene Olivia McElroy

Because it is in every fiber of my being and I can’t not do it.

Q: What’s your current favorite, can’t-live-without-it tool, supply, material, or junkyard find?

My computer. I block in a lot of my designs on the computer, use it to print out transfers on to different substrates, and surf the web to see what art is happening in the world.

Q: What is your least favorite technique that you still use anyway?

I tend to use the techniques I love since I can do what I want with them.

Q: What’s your favorite tool or material?

I love my rubber brushes.

Q: What do you listen to when you create?

Dogs barking.

Q: What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

Too Many Romance Novels by Darlene Olivia McElroy

Lately it has been a lot computer book reading, but Catherine the Great by Henri Troyat was a good one.

Q: What’s the most inspiring trip you’ve ever taken or adventure you’ve ever had?

I spent two years traveling around the world solo and it was candy for my mind and eyes.

Q: What’s the last thing you cooked?

Couscous aux pruneaux. Moroccan cooking is my specialty. Yum.

Q: If you could surround yourself with only one color, what would it be?

Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold

Q: Do you have a talisman/power garment/magical thing you wear?

Black is my power color and my closet is the black hole. People pay admission to get a look at the fabulous amount of black I own.

Q: What’s your favorite place in all the world?

Glance by Darlene Olivia McElroy

Can’t pick one. Tahiti for relaxing, Paris for romance, Morocco for food and Italy for art.

Q: What one thing do you want to do that you haven’t done yet?

Own a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes.

Q: What’s the best day you’ve ever had?

Toss up between getting my first book contract and being selected by Santa Fean magazine as one of the 36 locals we love.

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Q: What’s today’s Word to Live By?

Sushi Chick by Darlene Olivia McElroy

Paint hard, party hard and skid into home base.

Q: What is your guilty pleasure?

Red licorice.

Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?


Q: With whom would you love to spend one day making art?

Robert Rauschenberg and Tapies

Q: When is your favorite time of day?

My messy studio

My messy studio.

4:30 a.m. when no one else is up and I am my studio with a cup of coffee and my dogs.

Q: What is your earliest memory?

Drawing on the walls of my bedroom.

Q: What was your first job?

Towel girl at the local WMCA. Really!

Q: What’s your one favorite material thing?

Dogs. Do they count?

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for artists?

Be the best that you can be and share your knowledge with others.

Ed. NOTE: And for an added bit of fun, a brief video clip from Darlene’s recent photo shoot for the forthcoming book Mixed Media Revolution. (Around the offices and photo studio, this has become known as a happy place!)

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2 Responses to Artist Profile: Darlene Olivia McElroy

  1. I went to the link for her website and it doesn’t work. Searching on google leads me to a blank page as well.

  2. kconlin says:

    Hi Cheryl,

    Sorry for your trouble with this, but not certain what is causing it. I just tested the link myself and it worked just fine. I’m including a non-truncated version here if you’d still like to check out Darlene’s website:

    Thanks for commenting.