About the Artist
Deann Acton graduated with a Bachelor's of Fine Art degree from the University of Texas and received their Masters Degree in Art Therapy and Marriage Family Therapy from Notre Dame de Namur University outside of San Francisco.Deann is deeply inspired by their Latinx and Indigenous heritage, their children, and their own anxious spirit. She loves to explore all different modalities of creativity - but finds that she has gravitated towards watercolor and embroidery work over the last decade. She enjoys exploring fantastical themes that lie somewhere between reality and fiction and loves when she can make the viewer smile. Deann uses art as a way of calming their own intensity. When they are not making art, they are helping others use art to heal their own spirit as a licensed Marriage Family therapist and board certified art therapist.
Art making has always been the thing in which I turn to help calm me and heal me. When I was a little girl, my family would always move. I used moving boxes as my canvas. I would draw and paint on any surface presented to me. When all of my career assessments said that I would make an excellent engineer, I enrolled in engineering school only to find that instead of taking notes in class - I was constantly doodling. I changed my major to studio art. After art school, I was a bit lost as to how to use my degree. I made thirty self portraits trying to figure out who I am and what I was supposed to do in this world. I decided that using art as a vehicle for healing would be my journey. In 1998, I graduated with a degree in Art Therapy and Marriage Family Therapy. And although I spend most of my day helping others figure out how to lead a life worth living, I understand that for myself, art making is the thing that drives me. When I am being creative, I am at my most happy.In 2016, I discovered art challenges which has helped to ensure that I am constantly making art. Every year, I do inktober - an art challenge where I do an ink drawing a day for the month of October, or a challenge in January where I draw portraits, or Mermay where I draw a mermaid for each day in October. Art challenges allow me to practice creativity, and like a muscle, the more I practice, the stronger I get. Art challenges also give me lots of opportunities to create a ton of art. Some pieces are successful, others aren’t. But all of them are vehicles to learn new skills and find compassion for myself and my process.Themes in my artwork often surround the mythical and magical. I love drawing sea monsters, cryptids, werewolves, and mermaids. There is something in the whimsical nature of these creatures that tap into a realm of possibility. Creating emotional narratives behind monsters allows me to see those things that are difficult in my life with a new understanding. Creating nonsensical hybrid creatures requires my brain to problem solve. What would a rabbit mermaid actually look like? I also love the idea of creating things that are not “high art” but rather are steeped in the absurd. Is there meaning in the pieces created? Does there need to be? Is there meaning in our own lives? Does there need to be? What if the meaning is the moments of happiness that we carve out of stress and challenges? What if in the absurd we can learn to embrace those things we don’t understand? And to be honest, I would rather live in a world where Mothman exists to warn people of collapsing bridges.