“It’s not easy to be so far from our friends, family and the sunny weather of California, but we feel like the slower pace, smaller city, great public education, access to medical care, and a good work/life balance is worth the distance,” explains Dodge.
Already establishing herself as an artist in Los Angeles, Dodge, who initially found it hard to secure work in New Zealand, turned to rely on her artwork soon after her move to New Zealand. Faced with the recent loss of her mother, and a sudden search for identity in a new place that she hadn’t felt before, Dodge’s art became a way of finding her place in a new home.
“I started posting pics of my art on Instagram in 2014, and started sharing my process and then my first collective series, ‘Scratches, Marks and Makings’”. This body of work deployed various blocks of colour inspired by maps and dreamlands combined with lines representing distance, connection and travels, and spanned two years.
Dodge’s works tend towards large-scale abstracts; incorporating painting, which has the focus of her BFA from California State University, weaving and a variety of other mediums. Contrast is established in the works through a varied palette that plays with the warm, rich colours of the American Southwest and the cool, temperate colours of the rugged, coastal city in which she now lives.
Exhibiting works in a range of group shows including the NZ Art Show in 2016 has been a great way for Dodge to make connections with other artists, but already kept busy with commissions, she has not reached out to galleries for representation at this stage.
Dodge describes creating custom commission pieces as one of her greatest joys. “It’s such an honour to be trusted to make a piece of art! Every collector has a special place or story for the piece and it humbles and inspires me at the same time.”
A stand out work was created last year for a family in Los Angeles who commissioned a vibrant piece for their new home in Silver Lake. The brief was to create three large paintings as a triptych utilising specific colours to represent the family. “Each family member chose a colour based on a personal reason and I needed to incorporate that for them. They were totally open to the style.” Also commissioning a tapestry for each of their three daughters at the same time, the works took almost three months to complete, and completely took over the artist’s home. “It was chaotic but so fun and incredibly inspiring”.
In 2018, Dodge will be working on a new series that deals with legacy and her relationship with her mother who was a full time painter and potter. She also plans to continue developing weaving into her painting practice as she creates a series of large-scale three-dimensional abstract works.
You can see more of Dodge’s work on her website, poppydodge.com, and, for insights into her process and her beautiful sketchbook, her Instagram account is well worth a follow.
Images courtesy of