Dayna Gilbert was born in 1983, the last years of when young kids still used their Mother’s sewing machines and focused heavily on making things with their hands. Whether it be playing outside in the mud or creating worlds from old toilet paper tubes and gum wrappers, from an early age Dayna was transfixed by the magic of the material world. These are just some of the things she spent her early years transforming into art. The excitement and resourcefulness of “found” mediums excited Dayna as a kid and continue to inform and inspire her work today.
Dayna studied art at Western Michigan University and in 2008 moved to San Francisco to attend Academy of Art University. In 2009, she was introduced to the World Headquarters studio on Treasure Island (AKA Building 180) and began a long and fruitful period of incubation in a supportive network of artists, builders, sculptors, and fabricators working in the space. It is through this space she worked in the Ghost Ship Halloween party Art Department (now called Love Boat) for 7 years as a builder, lead artist, decorator, and designer.
Dayna became interested in theatre production in 2015 and worked for the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival as both Props Artisan and Props Master for Hamlet and Winter’s Tale. She has since produced and supported design and site-specific installations for Hive, Stripe (Apple Pay), Bungie HQ, and The SF Exploratorium. Most recently, she has had the titles of Producer with Guerilla Science NY (reinstating in May) and as Fabricator with Exit Reality VR in Oakland, CA.
After a decade of working on the scope of large-scale art installations, Dayna has taken to focusing on smaller mixed-media creations. She is currently making watercolor and ink poetry chest plates, sewn together like chainmail and ironic and lovely small embroideries of pastel-colored weaponry. Large or small, organic or repurposed, ancient, modern, plastic or paper - the juxtaposition of mediums in her art carries with it the element of surprise, and perspective shifting. Dayna has long been on the hunt for the scraps, memories, materials, moments, and feelings that best describe our human condition, and interpreting them into works of art that can be experienced by many.