Bill Dambrova Answers the YabYum Seven

All photos courtesy of Bill Dambrova

All photos courtesy of Bill Dambrova

1. Who are you and what do you do?

Bill Dambrova: The easy answer if I met you on the street would be, “I’m a painter and museum exhibition designer currently living in Phoenix, AZ.” The more complicated answer is that I’m in some sort of transition and I’m about to transform (again). So rather than lock myself into what I’m doing now by defining myself is to let this transformation unravel and focus on my new dream. I know my next move has something to do with traveling the world with like-minded artists and teachers facilitating art and dream related workshops (playshops) involving different cultures sharing ideas and creating new things.

2. How did you get your start?

For the past 21 years I’ve balanced my jobby job as an exhibit designer with my art career. They both inform each other. After I graduated college with an art degree I figured I should get a job where I could be around great art. I was living in Phoenix at the time and the obvious place to work was the Phoenix Art Museum. I started as a guard and then within a few months became an installer/preparator building furniture and crates and handling art created by many of my art heroes. After a few years I started working at The Heard Museum as a preparator. At the Heard my boss wanted to start his own design company and part of his plan was to have me move into part of his role as designer at the museum and that’s when I became an exhibition designer. That was a major turning point in my life. Some of my exhibits are still there 15 years later. Over the years I have worked at major museums around the country and have been able to have close contact with major works of art, beautiful natural history specimens, ancient artifacts, and live critters.

I’ve always made art, but I have purposefully avoided having to create paintings to sell as my only income so I could be free with my art and not feel like I was making a product. I love to experiment so my work was changing constantly. It wasn’t changing because I was uncertain about what I was doing, I was (and still am) exploring and searching for my voice (my images). Now I’ve found my “voice”and my “images” and I am rolling full steam ahead with the art career. It took me 20 years to do it, but I feel that the journey and the experimentation over the years helped me achieve what I wanted, which is to make art that allows me to explore biological existence, spirituality, and consciousness through the process of traditional painting. By traditional I mean that I do pay homage to art and artists riffing on them in my work and I see what I’m doing as a continuation of art history. I feel that with what I am doing now the final product not only resonates with me, but also a wide range of folks from all ages, genders, and cultures. Most importantly the stories unfolding in the paintings I’m making creates a dialogue with my viewers that I get to learn from.

Bill 02

“Born Hungry”, 2014, oil on canvas, 30”x40”

3. What inspires you?

All of this crazy existence inspires me but mainly how trippy it is to be a luminous being wearing a meat suit, and the fact that we are all connected and yet we all feel isolated at the same time is something I think about constantly. Artists I like: Norman Bluhm, Terry Winters, Carroll Dunham, Glenn Brown, Fred Tomaselli, Walton Ford, Erik Parker, Christian Rex Van Minnen

4. What do you like about AZ?

Norteno’s chili relleno burritos, family, friends, the amazing support of the art community here in Phoenix, creosote bushes, sunsets, and roadrunners—in that order.

5. Where can we see you(r) work?

From October 3rd till November 2nd 2014 I will be having a solo show in the Shade Gallery at MonOrchid here in Phoenix.

6. What would you like to accomplish before you die?

That dream I mentioned back in question 1. Oh, and immortality.

7. What is your mantra?



Bill 03

“Funny Feeling”, 61″x38″ oil, acrylic, and spray paint on canvas

Bill 04

“Never Follow a Hippie to a Second Location”, 71″x71″ oil and acrylic on canvas

"Saint John with a Tail", 2014, 30"x 52" oil and acrylic on canvas

“Saint John with a Tail”, 2014, 30″x 52″ oil and acrylic on canvas

For more info on Bill Dambrova and to see more of his work, visit his blog.

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