Home News Calendar Instagram Home News Calendar Instagram Home News Calendar Instagram Home News Calendar Instagram


Home FEATURES Meredith Dittmar Interview

Meredith Dittmar Interview

Written by Trippe   
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 03:53
This Portland artist does incredible things with clay. She opens a solo show Dec 9th in Mexico City. We meant to interview this Portland based 35 year old Flash designer/ developer turned amazingly talented clay sculpture a few months back and completely spaced on it. Glad we came across her work again recently to remind us how amazing she is. Her work is incredible and she opens a show at Upper Playground Mexico City December 9th. Great stuff.

Welcome to Fecal Face, Meredith. Amazing work!... Let's start with you describing your process of creating a new piece.

My process is always changing. Typically I collect images, diagrams, math and words and surround myself with them before I begin a set of pieces - though once I start working I only refer to them rarely. I throw it all into the brain blender and see what comes out. I usually work on several pieces at a time because creating certain effects in clay is labor intensive and then when something doesn't fit it usually get used somewhere else. I try to sculpt freely, creating parts, using them or not, and see what begins to appear. I sketch the larger overreaching ideas as they come and maybe use them or not. I'm always playing with the balance of tackling the technical challenges the clay poses, with the desire to keep moving forward with more immediate techniques. Most importantly though, I try to keep my head out of it and work from a open & quiet state.

What materials do you normally work in?

I work mainly in Premo polymer clay and wire, but experiment with other clays, resins, and fiberglass. I also enjoy playing with mirrors and spray paint

How durable is your work? How strong is the clay with a finished piece?

I constantly trying to improve the durability and lifespan of the work. According to polymer clay companies the clay does not degrade over time. It's a lot of technique and attention to detail that increases the overall strength of the pieces. For example if you use a certain liquid polymer in clay joints it binds them stronger. It's a major pain and adds another step but its worth it to make something that lasts. The clay is cooked in a conventional oven - cooking them twice is another strength enhancing technique I found via polymer clay bulletin boards. The medium is relatively new so there's still a lot to discover.

Works in progress

If you had to explain your work to a stranger, how would you do it?

I usually say I sculpt relief-like works in polymer clay that hang on a wall. Wow that's really bad. I need something better than that. You got something? I wrestle with verbal communication a lot - that's why I love being an artist. I can communicate this big "idea" without saying a word. Words overcomplicate and frequently attach unintended meanings to things.

How long have you lived in Portland and what brought you there?

I've lived in Portland since 99. Originally big mountains drew me out west. I was living in Tahoe (Meadows4life!) riding fulltime during the winters and working in LA during the summers as a flash designer/developer. I met my husband at a gathering in the Mojave desert and we decided to move somewhere new to start our lives together. Portland had everything we wanted and so we moved here sight unseen.

What do love most about living in Portland?

I love the accessibility to such amazing terrain... urban gardens, rivers, the mountains, rainforest, high desert, and coast - theres so much diversity so close. Also I'm so completely happily embedded in a fertile womb of likeminded people. Everyones got the DIY attitude, and prioritizes quality of life over fanatical money making.

If I came out for a visit what would we do/ where would you take me?

It depends on how much time you have and the time of year, but I'dd definitely get you out in the backcountry for a day (either on snow or scrambling a peak somewhere). Then we would have to take a boozy bike tour around town visiting friends & bars & food carts and adding people to our crew. Then wed probably end up having an impromptu party in my backyard because I love my backyard a LOT. Besides the drinks are free and my husband can cook up a storm.

What do you do to pay the bills?

I feel super fortunate to sculpt fulltime. Besides art I sell my "My Guys" characters on my website and on ebay and I also take ad gigs doing commercial illustration in clay.

Do you do any design work? Your work has a strong design sense to it. Seems like you'd make a great designer.

Thanks! I used to - I was obsessed with Macromedia Flash back in the day. It was my professional and creative outlet of choice from 96-03. I hang with a lot of badass designers so they must have rubbed off on me.

What are you really excited about right now?

The hadron collider. Networks. Fractals. Mycology. Integral theory. Adyashanti. Stop motion. Alpine backcountry. My bike

When are you the most productive?

Generally - the mornings.
For thinking - in the shower.
For writing - in the coffee shop.
For sculpting - when I get a big solid continuous block of time - like a week or more uninterrupted.
And anytime when someone gives me some Adderall wheeeeee!

Favorite trip taken?

The one I'm on now. Wherever I am, it's Now - just a different location.


YES. I hate to give you the stereotypical "everything" here, but its true. I download/devour music of all kinds, at a rate I feel kind of guilty about. (Because most don't get the attention they deserve) I cant even remember bands names anymore. I enjoy expanding my musical ear in all directions, and a good authentic musical performance is one of the easiest ways to make me cry.

What were you like in high school?

I didn't hang with the popular people, but I was that floater type that got along with everyone. I had a life outside of high school so that definitely changes your dependence on your peers. Senior year I hung out with this group of guys and we coordinated lots of, umm, chaos. I was suspended 4 times. Senior "bring a beer to lunch day" was just the tip of the iceberg. Ive always hung out with more boys than girls and have been in careers that are male dominated.

Upcoming projects and/ or upcoming shows, etc...?

Hmm there are few projects I dont want to jinx, but one cool thing I'm working on is a private commission to create a life size diorama consisting of 4ft stone characters that will be scattered in the forest around a beach property on the Oregon coast. On the dockett next for shows is Upper Playground Mexico City Dec 09.


Alison Blickle @NYC's Kravets Wehby Gallery

Los Angeles based Alison Blickle who showed here in San Francisco at Eleanor Harwood last year (PHOTOS) recently showed new paintings in New York at Kravets Wehby Gallery. Lovely works.

Interview w/ Kevin Earl Taylor

We haven't been featuring many interviews as of late. Let's change that up as we check in with a few local San Francisco artists like Kevin Earl Taylor here whom we studio visited back in 2009 (PHOTOS & VIDEO). It's been awhile, Kevin...

Peter Gronquist @The Shooting Gallery

If you like guns and boobs, head on over to the Shooting Gallery; just don't expect the work to be all cheap ploys and hot chicks. With Make Stuff by Peter Gronquist (Portland) in the main space and Morgan Slade's Snake in the Eagle's Shadow in the project space, there is plenty spectacle to be had, but if you look just beyond it, you might actually get something out of the shows.

Jay Bo at Hamburg's Circle Culture

Berlin based Jay Bo recently held a solo show at Hamburg's Circle Culture featuring some of his most recent paintings. We lvoe his work.


Fifty24SF opened Street Anatomy, a new solo show by Austrian artist Nychos a week ago last Friday night. He's been steadily filling our city with murals over the last year, with one downtown on Geary St. last summer, and new ones both in the Haight and in Oakland within the last few weeks, but it was really great to see his work up close and in such detail.

Gator Skater +video

Nate Milton emailed over this great short Gator Skater which is a follow-up to his Dog Skateboard he emailed to us back in 2011... Any relation to this Gator Skater?

Ferris Plock Online Show Now Online as of April 25th

5 new wonderful large-scale paintings on wood panel are available. visit: www.ffdg.net

ClipODay II: Needles & Pens 11 Years!!

Congrats on our buddies at Needles and Pens on being open and rad for 11 years now. Mission Local did this little short video featuring Breezy giving a little heads up on what Needles and Pens is all about.


In a filmmaker's thinking, we wish more videos were done in this style. Too much editing and music with a lacking in actual content. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

AJ Fosik in Tokyo at The Hellion Gallery

Matt Wagner recently emailed over some photos from The Hellion Gallery in Tokyo, who recently put together a show with AJ Fosik (Portland) called Beast From a Foreign Land. The gallery gave twelve of Fosik's sculptures to twelve Japanese artists (including Hiro Kurata who is currently showing in our group show Salt the Skies) to paint, burn, or build upon.

Ferris Plock - Online Show, April 25th

FFDG is pleased to announce an exclusive online show with San Francisco based Ferris Plock opening on Friday, April 25th (12pm Pacific Time) featuring 5 new medium sized acrylic paintings on wood.


Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne played host to a huge group exhibition a couple of weeks back, with "Gold Blood, Magic Weirdos" Curated by Melbourne artist Sean Morris. Gold Blood brought together 25 talented painters, illustrators and comic artists from Australia, the US, Singapore, England, France and Spain - and marked the end of the Magic Weirdos trilogy, following shows in Perth in 2012 and London in 2013.

Jeremy Fish at LA's Mark Moore Gallery

San Francisco based Fecal Pal Jeremy Fish opened his latest solo show Hunting Trophies at LA's Mark Moore Gallery last week to massive crowds and cabin walls lined with imagery pertaining to modern conquest and obsession.

John Felix Arnold III on the Road to NYC

Well, John Felix Arnold III is at it again. This time, he and Carolyn LeBourgios packed an entire show into the back of a Prius and drove across the country to install it at Superchief Gallery in NYC. I met with him last week as he told me about the trip over delicious burritos at Taqueria Cancun (which is right across the street from FFDG and serves what I think is the best burrito in the city) as the self proclaimed "Only overweight artist in the game" spilled all the details.

FRENCH in Melbourne

London based illustrator FRENCH recently held a show of new works at the Melbourne based Mild Manners

Henry Gunderson at Ever Gold, SF

Ever Gold opened a new solo show by NYC based Henry Gunderson a couple Saturday nights ago and it was literally packed. So packed I couldn't actually see most of the art - but a big crowd doesn't seem like a problem. I got a good laugh at what I would call the 'cock climbing wall' as it was one of the few pieces I could see over the crowd. I haven't gotten a chance to go back and check it all out again, but I'm definitely going to as the paintings that I could get a peek at were really high quality and intruiguing. You should do the same.

Mario Wagner @Hashimoto

Mario Wagner (Berkeley) opened his new solo show A Glow that Transfers Creativity last Saturday night at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco.

Serge Gay Jr. @Spoke Art

The paintings in the show are each influenced by a musician, ranging from Freddy Mercury, to Madonna, to A Tribe Called Quest and they are so stylistically consistent with each musician's persona that they read as a cohesive body of work with incredible variation. If you told me they were each painted by a different person, I would not hesitate to believe you and it's really great to see a solo show with so much variety. The show is fun, poppy, very well done, and absolutely worth a look and maybe even a listen.

NYCHOS Mural on Ashbury and Haight

NYCHOS completed this great new mural on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco on Tuesday. Looks Amazing.

Sun Milk in Vienna

With rising rent in SF and knowing mostly other young artists without capitol, I desired a way to live rent free, have a space to do my craft, and get to see more of the world. Inspired by the many historical artists who have longed similar longings I discovered the beauty of artist residencies. Lilo runs Adhoc Collective in Vienna which not only has a fully equipped artists creative studio, but an indoor halfpipe, and private artist quarters. It was like a modern day castle or skate cathedral. It exists in almost a utopic state, totally free to those that apply and come with a real passion for both art and skateboarding

"How To Lose Yourself Completely" by Bryan Schnelle

I just wanted to share with you a piece I recently finished which took me 4 years to complete. Titled "How To Lose Yourself Completely (The September Issue)", it consists of a copy of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine (the issue they made the documentary about) with all faces masked with a sharpie, and everything else entirely whited out. 840 pages of fun. -Bryan Schnelle

Tyler Bewley ~ Recent Works

Some great work from San Francisco based Tyler Bewley.

Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery

While walking our way across San Francisco on Saturday we swung through the opening receptions for Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in the Mission.

Jeremy Fish Solo Show in Los Angeles

Jeremy Fish opens Hunting Trophies tonight, Saturday April 5th, at the Los Angeles based Mark Moore Gallery. The show features new work from Fish inside the "hunting lodge" where viewers climb inside the head of the hunter and explore the history of all the animals he's killed.

The Albatross and the Shipping Container

Beautiful piece entitled "The Albatross and the Shipping Container", Ink on Paper, Mounted to Panel, 47" Diameter, by San Francisco based Martin Machado now on display at FFDG. Stop in Saturday (1-6pm) to view the group show "Salt the Skies" now running through April 19th. 2277 Mission St. at 19th.

The Marsh Barge - Traveling the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to quit my job, move out of my house, leave everything and travel again. So on August 21, 2013 I pushed a canoe packed full of gear into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, along with four of my best friends. Exactly 100 days later, I arrived at a marina near the Gulf of Mexico in a sailboat.