Based in Brookings, Diana Behl works with traditional and other forms of printmaking. She’s an associate professor and studio art program coordinator at South Dakota State University, and the artist says the best part of living and working in South Dakota is learning countless things from her students. Behl opens up about her pieces, her green thumb, and offers advice for aspiring artists.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ART MEDIUM TO WORK WITH?
My work is rooted in printmaking processes, such as intaglio and relief. I love working in the print studio with copper plates, linoleum, and hand-set type. I combine these processes with collage and drawing to create colorful and layered mixed media works on paper.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO GO FOR INSPIRATION?
The “everyday” is an important theme in my art, and inspiration is found in all aspects of my ordinary day-to-day. It’s discovered on walks in my neighborhood, while visiting new places, within the things I read and listen to, or the observations made in my home, garden, or studio.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THE SOUTH DAKOTA ART SCENE, AND WHAT DO YOU THINK THE SCENE NEEDS MORE OF?
I’m grateful for the community I have met through Ipso Gallery [in Sioux Falls] and the South Dakota Art Museum [in Brookings]. Both have made me feel at home in South Dakota, have supported my work, and have introduced me to new people and ideas. I would like to see this kind of support and visibility continue to expand in the state to create an encouraging, inclusive place for artists to make and share their work.
WHERE ARE YOU FAVORITE PLACES TO GRAB A BITE OR DRINK IN BROOKINGS?
I enjoy a pour-over from Kool Beans [Coffee & Roasterie], or a Sidecar cocktail from The Pheasant [Restaurant & Lounge]. Both are an indulgent comfort and are made even better when I get to chat with friends there.
CHECK OUT SOME OF BEHL’S ART AT THE
SOUTH DAKOTA ART MUSEUM
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL AN ASPIRING ARTIST WHO’S IN A FUNK?
A vital aspect of an art practice is developing perseverance and self-reflection. Making art uses many different skills, and it’s always helpful to step away and engage in another activity where the stakes don’t seem so high—cooking, biking, taking photographs, visiting the library, laughing, and listening to music and podcasts. Use these activities to help bring new perspectives into your work and ideas. Then try again to find a place of joy in making, or approach your task from a different angle.