Meet the Maker: Debbie Clapper
Debbie Clapper has been drawing nearly every day since the age of 9, and has mastered the art of freehand drawing and painting without the aid of a ruler or straight edge. Her career has been built around pattern illustration and a passion for abstract optical illusion art. Heavily inspired by M.C. Escher and graffiti, her work strives to inspire and ignite imagination in all who interact with it.
Q: At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Debbie: I knew I would do something creative from a very young age. My parents always encouraged me in my artistic endeavors, so when I got to high school, they didn’t poo-poo my desire to want to make a living as a creative. My high school counselor turned me on to graphic design, and I embarked on getting my college degree in that. Now, as of this year, I have made a full pivot to pursue my career as an artist full time. It has always been a part of what I do, but I made the decision come 2019 to full on go for my passion and make it work
Q: Do you have a favorite piece you've made?
Debbie: I do! I have a little black and white painting I made between 2001-02 (I can’t quite remember the exact date). It’s titled “gneural” and I have always loved it. It is one that I will never sell or give away.
Q: Where did you grow up? If outside of Colorado, how did you end up here?
Debbie: I grew up in Rocky River, OH. I moved to Colorado in 1998 to go to the Art Institute of Colorado (my sister had convinced me to come here for college). Funny thing… within a year of my moving out here my sister ended up moving to Jersey (doh!), but I stayed and fell in love with Colorado. It is home to me.
Q: What are three words you would use to best describe your work?
Debbie: Abstract Geometric Illusions
Q: Do you recall the first piece you made? If so, how did it turn out?
Debbie: I can’t recall the very first piece I ever made. But I will say that once I started drawing regularly at the age of 9, I kept everything I created. EVERYTHING. Every doodle, sketchbook, drawing, painting, etc. I enjoyed creating so much, and loved seeing how things would turn out. I was often surprised at the dimension created by 2D line drawings. Sometimes I couldn’t believe I had made some of the things I made. And I sometimes still feel that way. I’ll look at a piece and be like… wait, I made that? How did I do that?!
Q: It's the weekend. What do you see yourself doing?
Debbie: Drink some coffee. Do a little reading. Go on a hike, mountain bike ride or long walk. Work on a drawing. Enjoy a nice cheese plate. Happy hour with some friends. Have a nice meal. Possibly squeeze in a little Netflix. Hit the hay.
Q: Are you self taught? If not, did you learn from a mentor?
Debbie: I’m self taught for the most part. My art training doesn’t go much beyond high school art classes. And though I went to the Art Institute of Colorado, they primarily focused on commercial design, so I only had one life drawing class while I was there. I will say that I like that I don’t have formal art training. I feel as though it’s allowed me to be very free with what I enjoy doing art-wise, and to not come into my work with preconceived notions on how things have to be done.