“I went all-in.”
Winston-Salem artist Dianne Murphy says she’s a maker of “outsider objects d’art, created from found materials. Lots of deconstruction and reconstruction.” Her work is clever, whimsical, celebrates the inherent beauty of its components, and displays a subtle humor.
A lifelong lover of art, especially Dada and outsider works, Dianne was inspired by the explosion of repurposing and the resale retail market. Further motivated by the sheer number of things destined for landfills rather than a second life, in 2014, she decided to leave her marketing career to go “all-in.” For Dianne, “all-in” has a name: LoLo.
“Fantastic objects and oddities, just begging to become something else.”
“This is what I see at LoLo,” says Dianne, “although some may simply see junk.” You never know what you’ll find in the 5,000 square feet of warehouse space: furniture, natural wood, objects d’art, machine parts, doll heads, photographs, or a brass microscope, and more. Browsing the well-curated, artfully arranged collection is a creative adventure itself.
LoLo is also Dianne’s workspace. “At any given time there are 20 to 100 projects scattered about undercover, under tarps, under tables, just waiting on me to revisit, rethink, redirect, or abandon altogether,” Dianne says.
Dianne has hosted creative events at LoLo, too, like a couple of MIXXER meetups, a series of life-drawing sessions, and a series of “story-drawing” sessions in which people created drawings in response to original short stories as the author read them aloud. All were free and open to the public.
“A creative melting pot for inspiration.”
Of MIXXER, Dianne says, “I picture several things: a source of knowledge for a random variety of skills, a place of entertainment/social interaction, and a creative melting pot for inspiration.”
She says she looks forward to meeting the people MIXXER will attract and to what will happen when these folks get together and ideas start to percolate, adding, “This type of venue in Winston will surely and naturally spawn a host of other businesses and activities that we probably never imagined before.”
More About Dianne
How long have you been a maker?
In my head, all my life. In earnest, two to three years.
Were there any obstacles to your becoming a maker? If so, how did you overcome them?
Yes. Money, time, skill, and space. How did I overcome these? I quit a very good job to have time. I rented a very large building for space. The money part I have not overcome. Skill? I learn something new every day and seek the advice of knowledgeable people.
These solutions did create new obstacles of course. To get by, I barter, I reach out to smart people, and I rely on good friends.
What new maker skills would you like to learn and why?
I would like to be much, much, much more proficient with power tools of all kinds. Not a very sexy answer, I know, but it is foremost on a day-to-day basis. I am entirely too interested in everything—welding, wax casting, glassblowing, torching wood. All the sexy stuff. But I have to be realistic with time and money limitations.
What tool or piece of equipment could you not live without?
Recently, I have been favoring the grinder. I spend a lot of time trying to “fix” things and as much if not more time trying to mess up the things that are in good shape. This little tool can really mess things up.
What have you learned from being a maker that’s surprised you?
Creating has exposed fear in me that I did not know existed—and I need to get over it.
If you could say one thing to someone who wants to get into making, what would it be?
Surround yourself with like-minded creatives and identify local experts in the craft of your choice.
How has being a maker affected other parts of your life?
The friends, acquaintances, and activities are hugely different from my previous life as a professional in marketing. It’s like going from IBM to the wild, wild West, and I have enjoyed both.
If you had to start over again as a maker, what would you do differently?
Keep overhead very low and be much more selective in the materials I acquire. The “stuff” is easy; the time and space are not.
What is the most frustrating thing about being a maker?
What is your favorite thing about being a maker?
Photos courtesy of Dianne Murphy.