Visual artist Nalini ‘Deedee’ Cheriel seems to be operating on another plane. When you first look at her work, it is otherworldy but grounded all at once.
It is easy to mistake Cheriel’s work for folk dipped in LSD. Although it is the marrying of color color and pattern that hooks you, further examination causes you to recognize a much deeper meaning.
Born in the hippie town of Eugene, Oregon and now living in Los Angeles, Cheriel’s work may very well be a literal reflection of her upbringing. We could speculate as to what her work means but sometimes art isn’t open for interpretation. After chattering about her pieces for a good part of the week, we finally caught up with Cheriel upon her return from London.
You seem to have a folky surrealistic theme throughout your work, what are some of your influences?
“East Indian temple imagery. Punk rock music, Latin american literature and culture, camping with my mom in Oregon as a child. Angst.”
Is there a particular message that you are trying to convey in your work?
“I guess I feel like the world would be a better place if we saw each other as equals and if we treated animals as if they were family members protecting their homes in the forest, we would have a more sane planet. If we didn’t cut down trees and over consume we wouldn’t have global warming and poverty. I try to humanize my natural environment to communicate these ideas.”
It all makes sense now. Cheriel isn’t blurring the line between man and nature, she is urging man back to a rightful place of empathy; a place where evolution and technological innovation has lead him to stray far from.