INTERVIEW : Andreana Donahue

Danielle Kelly is an artist and writer based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Kelly’s project-based practice ranges from installation to performance and has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in Los Angeles, Seattle, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Portland. Kelly’s writing has appeared in such regional publications as Las Vegas Weekly and Desert Companion. Kelly is the Executive Director and Curator of the Neon Museum. She has done a series of interviews with artists with ties to Las Vegas for celebration of our music issue.

What is your relationship to sound in the studio?

Over the past year, I’ve started to introduce a subtle, almost unnoticeable use of sound in my work. This includes a few pieces that reference sound created by objects in sci-fi films (such as Tarkovsky’s Solaris and Close Encounters of the Third Kind), sculptures that present the threat of noise if interacted with (makeshift alarms), or other visual suggestions of sound (such as a theremin schematic drawing). It’s challenging to incorporate sound into an installation thoughtfully so I admire artists who are able to achieve this.

alarm 2014What is your relationship to music in the studio?

For me, time in the studio falls into two categories – researching or art-making. If I’m engaged with research, I prefer silence. Conversely, my physical processes are extremely repetitive and time intensive, so I prefer having something on in the background when I’m working. Sometimes I listen to music, but most often I’ll have a film on that has a direct narrative or aesthetic connection to whatever I’m currently working on. Occasionally, I’ll switch things up with podcasts or stand-up comedians (Katt Williams’ Priceless: Afterlife is a recent favorite).

What, if anything, is in heavy rotation in your studio right now?

A playlist I compiled of early work by many great country artists: Townes Van Zandt, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, George Strait, etc.

Lately I also keep returning to Q-tip’s The Renaissance, Kendrick Lamar’s new album, Destroyer’s Kaputt, and anything by James Brown. Lyrics are highly important and a nostalgic element is often involved.

What would be your desert island studio record?

Many artists associated with Muscle Shoals are high on my list. Ultimately, I think I’d have to go with Otis Redding The King of Soul. He’s magic.

Andreana Donahue received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003. Since then, she has curated and exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in Chicago and Las Vegas; she’s currently preparing for an upcoming exhibition in Juneau, Alaska. Donahue’s multimedia installations engage a wide range of methods and concepts, but always reflect an ongoing investigation of elaborate processes and simulacra. In addition to her studio practice, she’s presently working on a long-term documentary project (Disparate Minds) intended to foster dialogue about self-taught fine artists living with various disabilities and the studios that support them to maintain studio practices. You can learn more about this endeavor at Disparate Minds was awarded a 2015 Puffin Foundation Grant and 2015 Harnisch Foundation Grant. Donahue is also the recipient of a 2014 NAC Professional Development Grant, 2014 Vermont Studio Center Artist Grant/Residency, 2011 NAC Jackpot Grant, and 2010 Nevada Humanities Grant. You can learn more about her work at

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