500X Alumna Interview: Diane Durant
500X: Tell us a little about yourself. What is your artistic background?
DD: Oh gosh. I got my BFA in Studio Art/Photography from Baylor, but it all started in 1992 when I wasn’t admitted to my high school’s art program. I joined the newspaper staff instead and learned how to process film and print in the darkroom, and I think going this “photojournalism route” still informs my photographic aesthetic as well as my writing—I ultimately became the editor of the paper and wrote editorials and articles, too—which is undoubtedly a dominate element in my work.
500X: What years were you a member of 500X?
DD: 2011 – 2015, I think.
500X: Were you ever a 500X officer? If so, what position(s)?
DD: President, 2013 ½ – 2015.
500X: Who were some of the other members with you?
DD: Tiffany Wolf, Clayton Hurt, Elliot Doughtie, Christine Bisetto, Scott Hilton, Matt Clark, Tim Harding, Kerry Pacillo, Shelby Meier, Jonathan Snow, Nick Hutchings, John Taylor, Bernardo Cantu, H. Schenck, Clint Bargers, SHERYL ANAYA, Kate Colin, Syd Webb, Justin Strickland, Michael Furrh, Laura Garica-Penn, Jessica Fuentes, Kate Helmes, Jenn Seibert, Elaine Pawlowicz, Joel Kieser, Giovanni Valderas, Chance Page, Colette Copeland, Michael Francis, and a handful of others that are slipping my mind right now.
500X: Tell us about your time at 500X. What was it like?
DD: Wonderful and brutal, all at the same time.
500X: What do you think you gained from being a 500X member?
DD: So many wonderful friends and professional relationships that have continued to develop over the years. Opportunities have come from these relationships that I never could have anticipated when I applied. I also gained a girlfriend? Don’t print that. But it’s true.
500X: How has 500X impacted your career as an artist?
DD: It allowed me to develop my practice, because let’s face it, when you’ve got a show in a few months, you better work though those ideas, push passed the fears, and make something. 500X also allowed me to work through those ideas and try new things in a (relatively) safe space. But I think it impacted my career as a teaching artist more than anything. Again, those relationships that were created at 500X have continued to afford me opportunities in the community that I could have never anticipated.
500X: Is there anything you'd like to add about your experience of being a member?
DD: It was a ton of work, but I’m glad I did it. And looking back, even more removed from the experience, I’m even more glad. I learned some very valuable lessons—in art and in life—and I continue to build off those experiences—from the practical to the more esoteric—today. Were it not for 500X, I don’t think I would have the same confidence as a creative, as a leader in the arts community, as a teacher, as an art installer, as an organizer of shows and people, as a human being.