Danica Lundy


“I realized recently that the first phase of my paintings feels like I’m in a sword fight”

AT: Where are you from and how/why you start engaging to art? 

DL: I grew up on Salt Spring, a small island in the Canadian Pacific Northwest. I remember being propped up as a very young child beside my dad’s renaissance books and learning to draw by copying sculptures. Consequentially, my earliest portraits have heavy, half-moon eyelids and no eyelashes.


AT: When did it become serious? 

DL: In a way, it always was. As a kid I was a terrible overachiever, as we in Canada would call “a total keener,” and learned that my creative proclivities would elicit the praise and encouragement I so craved. By the time I had the privilege to choose where I would go to university, I’d spent a young lifetime drawing and it just seemed like the natural choice to pursue art. However, I think there always has to be a willingness to play as an artist in order to take risks and remain unfettered by fear of the possibility of failure, and part of this for me involves never taking myself too seriously.


AT: Are there any people that have been significant in your progression as an artist? 

DL: Too many— I’ll just name a few. First, my dad, Derrick Lundy (the ultimate artistic renaissance man), and then teachers of varying capacities: Sierra Lundy, Sharada Filkow, Sandra Locke, Chris Down, Leah Garnett, Jerry Ropson, Peter McFarlane, Jeannie Koby, Dik Liu, Wade Schuman, Sebastian Burger, Peter Drake, Michael Grimaldi, Steve Mumford, Margaret McCann, Catherine Howe, Alexi Worth… I am definitely forgetting many here (my apologies). And my mom, Susan Lundy, is the most solid support system I could ask for.


AT: What’s your first approach to the work? Where does your process start? 

DL: It usually starts with a vivid feeling that manifests itself nebulously, at first, as a visual idea— I usually start with a drawing and work my way to paint.

Saw III, oil on canvas | 48.25 x 74.25 in | 2018

AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working? 

DL: Right now, I work primarily with oil paint on canvas, as well as ballpoint pen on paper, but I have a soft spot for textiles and unplanned/precarious sculpture-making: felting wool, cutting and sewing up thrift store clothes and wood-gouging all ignite a certain thrill in me.


AT: Do you leave your work open to interpretation? Or do you think the viewer should engage with your work in a specific way? 

DL: The former, for sure. I try to leave a trail of clues—from allusions to iconography, both gleaned in part from personal experience and art history—like bread crumbs through my paintings, but I don’t expect anyone to get to the same elaborate story I have told myself in making them.


AT: How do you feel while you are working? You think of the final result? 

 DL: I realized recently that the first phase of my paintings feels like I’m in a sword fight. Sometimes I feel completely unworthy of my medium; sometimes I feel like a brick layer, or a sexy construction crew… often I feel frustrated. When I blink, days or months later, and realize it’s finished, sometimes I step back and I can’t remember having painted it. No, I’m never sure what it will look like in the end — it’s like a constant search party with gut instinct and the limbic system serving as flashlights.


AT: How do you understand when a work is finished? 

DL: When we have nothing left to say to each other.

Fishy, oil on canvas | 30 x 40 in | 2018
Prom Night in Flat Land, oil on canvas | 60 x 48 in | 2016

AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from? Do you find inspiration outside or it’s all inside you? 

DL: Personal experience, art history, lots of magnetic, lively new paintings (showing on the Lower East Side right now, in particular), books, myths, songs, podcasts, news articles, scraps of paper, the smell of grass, good light, a drive to the hospital, a visit to my past. All manners of visual input and output.


AT: Do you think art can be learned or it is something innate? 

DL: I think skill in technical terms is probably a marriage of hard fucking work and natural ability, but I think art is more about asking questions, digging in, being curious, doing more hard fucking work, and engaging with the visual, tactile, physical, social, cerebral world at large until your bones creak and lungs give way.


AT: There are any artists that influenced your works? Why? 

DL: Oh man. How much space do I have here? I just saw a Kai Althoff show at Tramps in NYC that blew me away. The gallery is above a bustling Chinese food mart built into the base of the Manhattan bridge. You can feel the traffic tremors every few steps. It’s a series of scruffy-looking, locked glass rooms — some of which host uneven flooring and torn wallpaper— unlocked as onlookers enter. My friend and I went from room to room, awestruck by these small, initially unassuming paintings. Besides the fact I couldn’t figure out how they were made (I know it sounds funny, but they felt somehow slowly touched into existence with strange, ethereal fingers), and their values were so compressed that the amount of colour emanating from them seemed impossible … I could feel the paintings’ presence at the back of my neck when I wasn’t looking at them. And when I looked, they settled into me like that’s exactly where they should have been all along. This was a couple days ago, so I don’t know yet what the experience will lend me— I can only hope to one day achieve the same effect on someone else with my own work.


AT: How important is for you the role of social media?

DL: Though I can’t find its original source, I stumbled across this quote once (which was attributed to Mary Oliver): “Most of what calls itself contemporary is built, whether it knows it or not, out of a desire to be liked.” I think this succinctly encapsulates social media’s underlying thesis. Social platforms are both a bane and boon to me. There is so much anxiety and expectation built around this desire to be liked — as I mentioned earlier, it was my initial motivation as a kid — that one’s sense of self worth can be tied to a shallow, arbitrary number of thumbs up. The danger is that it affects what one makes or doesn’t. I only really “do” Instagram. It is a hugely valuable tool to acquire widespread visibility for artwork, or beliefs, that might have otherwise gone unseen or unheard. And I’m certainly grateful for the opportunities I have gotten through a presence on Instagram! However, my final thought is that reducing something with as much potential for juicy, visceral objecthood as a painting down to a phone-sized JPG, as it is done on social media, and then thinking you’ve “seen” it does you and the painting a big disservice.

Bonefire, oil on canvas | 60 x 72 in | 2017/18

AT: What’s your opinion about the contemporary art system nowadays from your point of view as an artist?

DL: I am a green in the contemporary art scene, so I have much to learn and experience. From my three years in New York, I can tell it’s a complicated system with quirky cogs and gears and a lot of bright people with whom I hope to earn an encounter. C+N Canepaneri Gallery in Milan was my first foray into the international art world, with a solo show there last February. They gave me great optimism; they exhibited professionalism and generosity, and though it’s a young one, we built a relationship out of mutual trust and respect. Anecdotally, of course, the contemporary art system has many dark corners, too — ask me a couple years from now, I’ll probably be all chipped at the shoulder and incredulous at my naiveté displayed here.


AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?

DL: Most challenging: maintaining a daily belief in myself and my work; the age-old balancing act between making money and art, the insecurity of an inconsistent income; finding the right things to say and the right way to say them; the fearful prospect of being a paint-pusher without purpose. Most rewarding: visual puzzle-making and solving; engaging in conversation with that larger visual, tactile, physical, social, cerebral world; the privilege of learning and re-learning how to see, what to look at, how to think.


AT: What do you do outside of painting?

DL: Currently, I bike, exercise, dance (wildly), draw, read and proofread, and wreak mild havoc around Brooklyn (where I live) with my boyfriend, Tim.


AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future? 

DL: I’ll paraphrase an answer my friend and fantastic artist Nicolas Holiber once gave to this question: “In ten, twenty, fifty years from now I hope to be in the studio”.

Da Capo, ballpoint pen on paper | 48 x 96 in | 2017
Danica Lundy 
Born in 1991
Based in Brooklyn


Master of Fine Arts, New York Academy of Art, New York, NY, USA
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB, Canada

Solo Exhibitions

Arte Fiera, solo booth with C+N Canepaneri Gallery, Bologna, Italy

The Ghost I Made You Be, C+N Canpaneri Gallery, Milan, Italy
A Teat, A Cage, A Hook, Art Lines Gallery, Hackensack, NJ

How I Know I’m Here, START Gallery, Sackville, NB, Canada

Untitled, Sitka Spruce Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Selected Group Exhibitons / Fairs

Rewind, C+N Canepaneri Gallery, Milan, Italy

Hello Bushwick!, 1089 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Chubb Fellows Exhibition, Wilkinson Gallery, Manhattan, NY
Right Behind The New Museum, 195 Chrystie, Manhattan, NY
Santo Santa, Los 14, Mexico City, Mexico
Little But Fierce, ChaShaMa Art Space, Manhattan, NY
Mother and Child, 198 Allen Street, Sugarlift, Manhattan, NY
Future Generations, Intercontinental Barclay Hotel, Manhattan, NY
MiArt Fair, C+N Canepaneri, two-person booth with Alberto Garutti, Milan, Italy
Art on Paper Fair, Sugarlift Booth, Manhattan, NY

Chubb Fellows Exhibition in Miami, Chubb VIP Suite, Miami, FL
Sugarlift Open Studios, 393 NYC, Manhattan, NY
Idios, Collier West Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Take Home A Nude, Sotheby’s, Manhattan, NY
New York Academy Annual Summer Exhibition, Flowers Gallery, Manhattan, NY

Leipzig Summer Residency Show, 111 Franklin Lobby Gallery, New York, NY
Transmission: New York >> Leipzig, Spinnerei, Leipzig, Germany
New York Academy Annual Summer Exhibition, Flowers Gallery, Manhattan, NY
Affordable Art Fair, Sugarlift Booth, Manhattan, NY
TriBeCa Ball, New York Academy of Art, Manhattan, NY
Ballpoint, Sugarlift Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

Deck the Walls, Wilkinson Gallery, Manhatta , NY
Group Show, Art Atelier 546 Art Gallery, Victoria, BC, Canada

First Impressions, Las Lagunas Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA,

Even Cheaper Art Show, Artbarn International, Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
30x40, START Gallery, Sackville, NB, Canada
BFA Graduation Exhibition, Owen’s Art Gallery, Sackville, NB, Canada

Untitled, Marjorie Young Bell Conservatory Gallery, Sackville, NB, Canada
Prizes and Awards

Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant

The Eileen Guggenheim & Russell Wilkinson Scholarship

Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant
New York Academy of Art Academy Merit Scholar Award
British Columbia Arts Council Scholarship
Ryan Alexander Lovett Memorial Arts Scholarship

John P. Asimakos Award in Painting
People’s Choice Award, Artbarn International Art Show, Salt Spring Island
Academic All Canadian (2010-2013)
Dean’s List (2011-2013)

British Columbia Arts Council Scholarship (2009,2012)
J.E.A  Crake Scholarship for Exceptional Performance in the Arts & Humanities (2011,2012)
Mary K Mclean Trust Scholarship (2009,2011,2012) 
Derek Crawford Architect Inc Scholarship
Donald Corbel LeQuesne Scholarship
Salt Spring Painter’s Guild Scholarship
Steffich Fine Arts Scholarship

Residencies and Fellowships

New York Academy of Art’s 2017/2018 Chubb Fellowship

Leipzig International Art Programme Residency, Germany