Reaching Rainbows: An Interview with Dallas Clayton
By Dani DiPirro
Dallas Clayton is an American author and illustrator best known for his children’s works in the Awesome Book series.
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You know that feeling when you get the chance to interview one of your favorite artists?
Yeah, I didn't either... until last week! I had the wonderful opportunity to interview the brilliant and talented Dallas Clayton on positivity and his work and I'm so excited to share our little Q&A with you.
If you're not familiar with him, you should be!
Image by Positively Present
He's an amazing author, illustrator, public speaker, mural painter, and adventure seeker. Check him out at his website.
Interview with Dallas
Your work always seems to come from a positive place. Have you always been a positive person? If not, how did you acquire such an optimistic outlook?
It takes effort, I feel, to want to be better and to want to make things better.
I don't know that my goal is positivity so much as an honest attempt at celebrating that which I find beautiful.
There are plenty of people who find chaos and destruction and tumult and distress beautiful.
In many ways this is because the traditional standards of beauty seem foreign and unrelatable to them.
If everyone arounds you thinks the color blue is beautiful and you think everyone around you is terrible and oppressive it can be easy to see the color blue as terrible and oppressive too.
My teenage years felt a lot like that, looking around at everything that was blue and calling it stupid.
Since then, I've grown and explored and met people and raised a child and fallen in love many times over with the world.
Colors of the Rainbow
The most honest thing I can do is to say "I too have hated the color blue, but have you ever looked at the color blue from this angle, it's pretty rad - also colors don't actually exist in the real world, just in your brain, so if you don't like the way a color looks, make up your own."
That's what I'm trying to do most of the time.
You have so many wonderfully inspiring works of art. Do you have a favorite piece? Why do you like that one the best?
I like to live in a world where favorites and ranks don't matter so much.
Sometimes the feeling of a brush on a page or a stick of chalk on the sidewalk is reward enough.
Image by Dallas Clayton
The things I like about making work will no doubt be different than the things you like about taking it in.
A nice feeling is when someone else takes my work and makes it their favorite, and then turns it in to work of their own. I like that.
Your "Reaching Rainbows" design is one of my favorites. What inspired you to create that? What does it mean for you?
It's been a slow evolution, like most ideas. Just sketches that become more defined with each iteration.
I like the thought of people lifting, reaching, celebrating. Nothing in their hands but potential.
This is the core of it. Where it lands, I have no idea.
What inspired or encouraged you to pursue life as an author, artist, and illustrator? Did you always know this would be the path for you?
The longer I live, the less of a choice it seems. Like asking someone why they chose to be a person.
Author and illustrator and artist are just titles to make it easier to have conversations, but what we are really saying is "why aren't you doing what everyone else is doing?"
The answer to this is because "I am not everyone else, just as they are not me."
A Bit of Advice
If you could tell your past self one thing, what would it be? What would you tell your future self?
I think my past self and my future self talk all the time when I'm not around.
Mostly, I imagine they are having a real laugh.
What's one thing (creative or otherwise) you'd recommend that Positively Present readers do today to help spread positivity in the world around them?
Find someone who seems like they are all alone and talk to them.
Image by Dallas Clayton
Thank you so much to Dallas for taking the time to answer these questions!
He's such an inspiration to me -- his artwork, his lifestyle, his attitude -- and I'm so grateful to have had a chance to connect with him.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about him.
Check out his work at DallasClayton.com, where you can visit his beautiful shop, pick up one of his books, and learn more about his illustration.
And I highly recommend following him on Instagram. His work brightens up my days and it's also so inspiring to see people around the world sharing his inspiration and spreading positivity!