Inside the Sperm Whale
Kaki Dimock gives new meaning to the term “working artist.”
By day, she is the Executive Director of The Haven, the day shelter on Market Street. By night, in her home in Schuyler, Dimock creates colorful ink drawings that draw attention to the intersection between the natural world and what Dimock calls the “people world.”
The North Garden native left Central Virginia at 17 to attend Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York and then went on to pursue a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University. But she never received any formal artistic training.
“I was always creative since I was a kid,” says Dimock, “but when my mom gave me these beautiful pens four or five years ago, I instantly gravitated towards them.” Dimock says the compact dimensions of her work allow them to be “completely transportable,” such that she can carry them around in her bag and then work on them after the business day is over. “I do something every day after work,” she says, “whether it be a small sketch, or part of a bigger project.”
Starting October 5, Dimock will exhibit “Hiding in Plain Sight,” her newest works which will be shown at the WVTF and Radio IQ Study Gallery on Water Street. Support for the show comes from a local non-profit called the New City Arts Initiative, which also sponsored her year-ago show at The Garage.
“That was the first time my drawings ever went outside the house,” says Dimock, whose work appears to be gaining in innovation and appeal, using more white space and drawing upon her extensive knowledge of animals and fish.
Despite a two-dimensional almost folk-art style, the themes can be complex. For instance, in “Neighborhood Watch,” two fish battle, a response to the shooting of Trayvon Martin. And an inscription underneath a drawing of a snake living below the floorboards of a house reads, “he made a home for himself there, hiding in plain sight,” lending the show its title.
Indeed, dovetailing with her job, much of Dimock’s art highlights themes of home and housing. “The issues of housing and safety that I wrestle with in my work life sneak into in my art,” she says. “The art becomes a way to reconcile those two worlds.”
Dimock is also the creator of a project of much larger dimensions– a mural created in partnership with several fresh water groups to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. (The project was originally slated for the Milgraum building on Water Street, but is currently without a confirmed destination.)
“Much of my work is water-themed,” says Dimock, expressing interest in bolstering appreciation for the oft-hidden Rivanna River.
“I’m interested in showing how the transitions between air and water, and water and land, are much more tenuous than they seem," she says. "Otherness is much closer than you think.”