There’s art, and then there’s the artist. One is the work itself, the other, the creator. Capturing both time and life with her eyes, mind, and hands, Ditas Akins is truly gifted.
Utilizing a very keen sense of detail while wielding the simplest of instruments, Ditas creates masterpieces with a black ballpoint pen. The impression left when observing her works is a lasting one of sheer amazement. Although the works of this phenomenal artist aren’t anything less than captivating, what truly is most intriguing is Ditas Akins herself. Her life– a work in progress. Her work– nothing but inspiration.
Allow this interview to show that to you. As you read on, get that much closer to the heart of her works and works of her heart.
WBM: Who is Ditas Akins?
DITAS: First and foremost, I am a woman. I am also an artist, a mother to four beautiful, amazing and talented kids, a student of life, a business woman, and a lover of knowledge–science, philosophy, mathematics, religion, the arts–and love to ponder how it all relates together. A rebel by nature. I consider myself an oxymoron–internally spiritual, outwardly worldly, self consciously confident, enthusiastically indifferent, and completely unfinished.
WBM: Where are you from?
DITAS: I was born in a house in the Philippines, and came to the United States when I was three years old.
WBM: What are your interests?
DITAS: Art, of course. Creating. Weight training. Reading. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but when I do, it’s usually a documentary, Project Runway, or Mad Men.
I like trying new things. I went sky-diving by myself because I didn’t want anyone to discourage me, and I recently took guitar lessons. I’m also Hawaiian-Tahitian dancing!
WBM: What does art and being able to express yourself mean to you?
DITAS: It means everything to me. Art is expressed in the way I dress, the way I speak, how I approach things. My art is my life experiences expressed outwardly. If it wasn’t for art, I would not be me.
WBM: How long have you been involved?
DITAS: Art has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I believe I was five years old when my oldest sister Delia had me model for her at home, when she was taking an art class in high school. I remember being fascinated and would always be over her shoulder watching her draw. I wanted to draw just as well, if not better than she did.
WBM: What is it that interests you about it?
DITAS: Everything! Art is undefinable. It’s different things to different people. It’s subjective. How I view a piece of work would be totally different from someone else because we place our own experiences, points of view, and preferences on it. I can create something that means one thing to me, and someone else can interpret it so differently, and I love that about it.
WBM: Any inspiration behind your work?
DITAS: I remember when I was young, looking at pictures of artwork in the Encyclopedia Britannica and seeing paintings from Leonardo Da Vinci and the Old Masters. I was absolutely amazed that they could paint something so life-like on a flat surface. I would stare at it for hours. I think I was only about eight years old at this time. Imagine me sitting on the floor with this book in my lap, staring at these photos, studying the brush strokes, trying to re-create it in my mind the way they painted it. It was like a puzzle, a riddle, a mystery for me that I had to solve. This is probably why I am a realist to this day; I’ve always favored creating photo-realistic art and I attribute that to my fascination with the Old Masters when I was younger.
WBM: Why the use of the black pen?
DITAS: I had always considered myself a painter for a long time. I painted still-life and figures in high school and also in college. Spent thousands on supplies, canvases and paint. Painting, as you can imagine, takes time to set-up and to clean up. I no longer have that luxury of time.
One day I wanted to create, but didn’t have a prepped canvas or the right colors of paint. But I did have a sheet of paper, and a black ball point pen. So I started sketching with the pen and I like the way it looked. I drew again the next day, and then the next. And true to my self, I started trying to see how realistic I could get with it. I find it funny that I had spent so much time and money in college purchasing art supplies and here I am now just using a blank sheet of paper and a ball point pen. Such irony- I love it!
Why do I like drawing with the pen? I like the idea that I can’t erase, that if I make a mistake, I have to accept it or make it work. It’s kind of like how I’ve approached life. There’s no going back, only going forward and making it work- making do with what you have.