Utah Arts Festival 2019: Ingra Draper’s contemporary pressed botanicals using flower petals work like paint to create designs

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Ingra Draper, a Salt Lake City artist (Booth 129), works with contemporary pressed botanicals using flower petals, like paint, to create designs. Draper, who earned a fine arts degree at The University of Utah in lighting design for theater and dance, is among the 177 artists who was invited to participate in this year’s Utah Arts Festival in the Artists Marketplace. As she explains in her artist statement:

The natural world is powerful and compelling to me. I love merging my passion and awe for nature with the art of creating.  Using pressed flowers, leaves and plants help me to express that passion. My love for gardening is inherited from my grandparents, Lila and Basil. They sparked an interest and zest for gardening that has grown and strengthened with time.

Ingra Draper.

Draper recently agreed to answered a few questions with The Utah Review.

TUR: How have you used art media forms in helping to create an holistic body of artistic work that searches for a more complete expression of your own innermost and most powerful states of emotion, inspiration, contemplation, and self-identity?

ID: The medium of pressed flowers is a means by which the existential expression of my passion for nature presents.  The emotional inspiration of my self-identity is revealed by the contemplative phrase: I dig nature!  I love being in it, touching it, experiencing it.  If I can’t get out in it, I love looking at it and reading about it.

TUR: What is your training as an artist?  

ID: I received Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1986 from the University of Utah. I worked as a lighting designer for theatre and dance. As far as my medium, pressed flowers, I am self-taught.  Each flower takes special and different consideration when pressing. Tulips are taken apart and allowed to relax before pressing.  Larkspur are pressed immediately after opening. Little Suzie’s need 3 paper towels in the press, Forget-me-not require no paper towels, etc.

TUR: Who do you consider your most significant influences and inspirations?

ID: Nature is the most significant influence and inspiration in my work. Others include other artists and art forms including Georgia O’Keeffe and my husband David, who is a photographer.

Ingra Draper.

TUR: Do you work full-time exclusively as an artist?  

ID: I work more than full time as an artist.  I started pressing flowers and doing art shows in 1997.  In 2005 I had health issues that did not allow me to continue with my artwork.  Starting last year, after a 13 year hiatus, I have been able to start back with my art work again.  It’s wonderful! 

TUR: Do you find it easy or difficult to start new work? 

ID: Most of the time my head is flooded with design ideas.  I can’t create the designs fast enough and try to make notes or drawings for later discoveries. 

TUR: And, typically, how do you prepare yourself to handle both the creative and physical demands of creating your art? 

ID: The physical demands are large for me.  I can’t go to the art supply store for my materials.  I have to grow them first and that involves hard physical labor.  But I love gardening, so it is definitely a labor of love. Juggling the growing and pressing part of the work so I have design material is often a challenge.

Ingra Draper.

TUR: With regard to participating in the Utah Arts Festival, please share your feelings being a part of this enterprise?

ID: Growing up in Salt Lake and going to the UAF was always something I enjoyed.  Going to each artist’s booth and talking with the artist was something l looked forward to and appreciated.  So being a participating artist at the Festival this year is a real thrill for me!

TUR: Have you been in other festivals and do you plan to explore other festival venues?

ID: A few of the shows I have been a participating artist at are The American Crafts Festival at Lincoln Center, New York; Scottsdale Arts Festival, Arizona; Celebration of Craftswomen in San Francisco, ; California; Park City Art Festival, Utah; Sun Valley Center Arts & Craft Festival, Idaho; Portland Arts Festival, Oregon (where I was awarded 1st place in Mixed Media).

For more information about all events, see the Utah Arts Festival website. Ticket information can be found here.

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Les Roka
I am a native of Toledo, Ohio, having received my Ph.D. in journalism and mass communication from Ohio University's Scripps School of Journalism in 2002. In addition to teaching at Utah State University and the University of Utah, I have worked extensively in public relations for a variety of organizations including a major metropolitan university, college of osteopathic medicine, and community college. When it comes to intellectual curiosity, I venture into as many areas as possible, whether it’s about music criticism, the history of journalism, the practice of public relations in a Web 2.0 world and the soon-to-arrive Web 3.0 landscape, or how public debates are formed about many issues especially in the political arena. As a Salt Lake City resident, I currently write and edit a blog called The Selective Echo that provides an entertaining, informative, and provocative look at Salt Lake City and its cosmopolitan best. I also have been the U.S. editorial advisor for an online publication Art Design Publicity based in The Netherlands. And, I use social media tools such as Twitter for blogging, networking with journalists and experts, and staying current on the latest trends in culture and news. I also have been a regular monthly contributor to a Utah business magazine, and I have recently conducted a variety of editing projects involving authors and researchers throughout the country and the world, including Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Lebanon, Cyprus, the United Kingdom, France, and Japan. I’m also a classically trained musician who spent more than 15 years in a string quartet, being involved in more than 400 performances.

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