Dazed's ultimate guide to US creativity
As part of our new digitally-led US project States of Independence we've invited our favourite 30 American curators, magazines, creatives and institutions to takeover Dazed for a day. It only seemed right to hit up New York's art 'it girl' Petra Collins for an insider take on US creativity right now. In this five-part series, Petra Selects, the prolific photographer shoots and interviews her favourite underground creatives set to steal the scene stateside.
When you've got Richard Kern at your door asking to direct your first music video you've got to be doing something good, or bad if Kern's boundary-pushing back-catalogue is anything to go by. A cursory glance at Dana Wright's band, Dentata plus her fearless modelling gigs tells us it's the latter. Heading up a crew of NYC music miscreants, Dana's band – a thrashing mix of Hole meets The Vagina Monologues are currently recording their first full-length release but caught Kern's attentions way back in 2011 when he directed "Earwig". Although they're still on the down-low right now, lyrics like "Got a visit from the King of hate, my period's three weeks late, soon all you little shits will see Satan's baby crawl right outta me" won't keep Dentata, or Dana underground for very long. In fact, she's set to branch out solo on the r&b/pop train early next year.
How do you tackle concepts of female sexuality in your work?
Dana Wright: The concept of female sexuality just comes out naturally in all my work because I'm very sexual and very comfortable with it. I like to be very empowering because we hold the power and control with our body and mind depending on how we want to use it. I like to do it in a more in your face type of way because I'm a very sexual person and I'm honest about it.
You have a striking look and a somewhat sinister aesthetic, what kind of role has this played in your work? And how has it affected you on a daily basis?
Dana Wright: I'm a very happy person but have experienced a lot of pain and darkness because that's just life. I like to feeel something and I've always found myself attracted to heavy music or dark concepts because there is depth and meaning in there. It's real and I can relate.
As a woman in music, what challenges do you face? Who do you look to for inspiration?
Dana Wright: As a woman in music one of the challenges I face is obviously that most men think they have the upper hand or that their opinion or idea is better. I find it much more enjoyable to write and create with a female but I have always ended up being surrounded by males so I'm constantly trying to prove myself and stand my ground which can get frustrating. It could also be a positive thing though as it makes me work harder. For inspiration I look towards people who were always straight-up and heartfelt or just brutally honest and truthful such as Marilyn Manson and Eminem. They are my two musical heroes. Exposing themselves and saying what everybody else was too pussy to say and shoving the truth down your throat. Without giving a fuck – GODS.
You've surrounded yourself with a sweet girl gang in nyc, what about the city – do you think it makes it easier to find friends and peers who have the same views and goals for your work as you do?
Dana Wright: There's just some crazy amazing thing happening in New York right now with all the girls. It feels like we're all in this together? We're all pushing and supporting each other and we all want to collaborate and just be there for one another. It's a really amazing thing to be like "Hey you're fucking sweet! I love you let's make stuff together and be buds" We're all in love it's disgusting lol.
Follow Petra Collins on Twitter here @petracollins
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