Interview with Trina Doerr

Interview with Trina Doerr

As part of our Summer School 2022, artist Trina Doerr will be teaching a 5-day creativity workshop designed to awaken one’s unique style in ceramics. This workshop can be studied independently from 1st -5th August, or integrated within the 2-month Summer School programme.

1.Can you tell us where, why and how your journey as an artist began?

Growing up in a small northern town in Canada, my childhood was spent outside making up games and stories with my friends. I have always been making and creating and just building on those experiences. I was really encouraged by my family and teachers to express myself and they were always interested in my story telling through creation.

2. You’ve been living in Spain for the last two decades, how has your surroundings influenced your work?

Spain has been a wonderful country to develop my work. I live in a very small white mountain village. The tranquility and excellent light makes it easy to work here and living in the village there is never a shortage of interesting subject matter.

3. I absolutely love your ‘Whimsey People’ ceramic series, how did this style emerge, and what was the creative process like?

Thank you, I have been fascinated with the concept of thematic art work and specifically how one develops a congruent theme. The Whimsey People reflect this development. I just started playing around with the shapes of the lips specifically and wondered how I could tell stories with them. That then developed into making naive flowers and decorations that essentially became them.

4. Aside from ceramics, you are also a wonderful painter; how do you balance these two motivations, does one ever take over the other?

That is a great question. I am normally working in tandem. While things are drying or waiting for next steps in the ceramic process I will be painting or making mosaics. I love working between the two.

5. Your work is so colourful, vibrant and playful, and I think many artists can be intimidated by a full colour palette. Tell us about your journey of using colour.

I honestly think this is a reflection of how I actually see the world. I can’t imagine not using colour. I have really been inspired by simple colour wheels and integrating contrasting colours in my work. I also feel that if you really want to capture light you must really concentrate on using as little white as possible.

6. What advice do you have for young, emerging artists today?

Have something concrete to say and say it. Don’t be scared. Not many people are listening and if they hear you they are your people.

7. Your ceramic collections are so strong throughout your sculptures and mosaic works, how have you created multiple series with such integrity? Do you ever struggle to stay on the path of one idea?

I think that this goes back to my fascination with creating themes. Within one idea there are so many ways to develop it staying true to the narrative. It’s not really hard to maintain this as nothing is ever just one thing.

8. What have been the most difficult challenges that you’ve faced as an artist, and how did you overcome them?

I think that there are challenges that we all face as people. Showing up and doing the work is probably one of the biggest. I think with every collection I produce quite a bit of work and then I can choose the best pieces that speak to me the most. Not everything is a winner and certainly not everything lives up to expectations. Having the ability to let those pieces go is the only way to keep moving forward. So embrace being pragmatic.


Written by Freya Saleh