Introducing DC Ice

We just got in some great original pieces by Minnesota based artist, DC Ice.  I was curious to learn more about her.  Check out my interview below.

"27, A Following" by DC Ice

Art Star: Where did you grow up?  Did you draw as a child?
DC Ice: I grew up in Rochester, MN in an old stucco perish house on top of a hill. Surrounded by trees, exploring in my backyard and picking wild raspberries was my favorite pastime. I have always loved creating art.  One of my very first memories is of painting with my mom.

AS: Did you go to art school? If so, what did you study?
DC: I have a BFA degree from The College of Visual Arts. My major was illustration.

AS: What mediums do you work with? What is your favorite?
DC: I work with acrylic and oil paint, colored pencils, pen & I sew critters called “scary dolls.” Recently I have been enjoying drawing with razor blades on scratchboard. I constantly change up mediums which I feel keeps my art fresh.

"My Tea Tastes Like Dirt & Old Fruit" by DC Ice

AS: DC Ice is such a cool name! Is it your real name or do you just use it for your work?
DC: I was born “Dawn Candace Silvernagle.” My parents never just called me “Dawn” though, they always called me “Dawn Candace.” When I went to college and introduced myself at “Dawn Candace”… well, everyone just started calling me “DC.” I married a guy named Nick ICE. Sooo, DC ICE is actually my name.

AS:  You have illustrated 6 children’s books.  How long have you been doing that for?
DC: My first book was published in 2006 and I have been doing it ever since.  When I was little I remember trying to copy the artwork in books I liked.  Now I get to create the real deal. Really exciting. I am currently working on a book called “Can a Pig Swim?” by Thomas Rush.

books illustrated by DC Ice

AS: Do you work as an illustrator full time?
DC: I DO! And I love it. I also get to take care of my niece and nephew a couple days a week. Their little creative minds are a joy to be around.

AS: How much does children’s book illustration inspire your own art? Have any specific illustrators influenced your work?
DC:  I think Edward Gorey has been my biggest influence because he illustrated adult themes in a children’s book format. My art is a bit grim like his. I adore his work. Other artists that I love include Julia Pot, Owen Gent, Lizzy Stewart, Anne Faith Nicholls, Evan B. Harris… just to name a few.

Illustration by Edward Gorey, from the Gashlycrumb Tinies

AS: Based on the titles of your work (which are great) & the fact that you illustrate books, I feel like you must have some great stories behind each of your characters. Is this a correct assumption?
DC: Yes, my characters definitely tell stories. The titles to my art pieces are sometimes ridiculously long though. A few works just finished this month include, “I Concur Claude, It’s a Complex Mystery”and “Greetings from the Abyss Under Your Bed.”  I like illustrating animals with human attributes because I think it is a purer way to portray feelings. I don’t want sex, race and sometimes wardrobe, to taint the onlookers view of the feelings I’m trying to portray. When using animals as a way of conveying a mood, the onlookers perception is less contaminated due to associations that people often create towards people.

"Fresh, Oblivious & Missed" by DC Ice

AS: You must have an Amazing imagination to come up with your subject matter.  Where do you go for inspiration? Do you keep a sketchbook?
DC:  I am inspired by other artists and music, but mainly personal experiences and my past. I always have a sketchbook nearby and keep my old sketchbooks. It’s funny to see how my art transforms through the years.

AS: Do you plan out a piece from start to finish or is it a more intuitive process for you?
DC: With small pieces I just start drawing, it’s neat to see what comes to life. With larger pieces though I have an idea in mind and sketch out something really quick to figure out the composition.

AS: What is a typical day like for you? Do you have a studio that you go to each day?
DC: Years ago I had a studio in Minneapolis which I shared with some dear friends. These days however, I love having my studio right in my house so I can jump into my work whenever I get inspired. During art school I was told once that there are too many distractions when you have an in-home studio. I go into my art cave in the morning with a cup of coffee, turn on music, and the world fades away for me.

"Ghostly Noises" by DC Ice

AS: If money was not an issue, what would you be doing? Would you be focusing more on your art or would you still be illustrating? Or would you be doing something entirely different?
DC: Illustration is my love. I consider all my art illustration, the paintings, the books, and even the scary dolls, they are 3D illustrations. I enjoy creating my art most of all but there’s something spectacular that I feel when I get handed a book in printed form. Warm fuzzies. I wouldn’t change a thing.

AS: Any fun projects or shows in the works?
DC: I am thrilled to have my art with you in Philly right now. This is the first time my art has seen the east.I am really excited about getting my work into Gallery 360 in Minneapolis too. That show opens on March 3rd and will be up for 6 weeks. I also have a show at Frameworks in St. Paul right now. Please visit for more show updates and new art.

Check out our entire collection of her work here.

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