Park Profiles: Meet Daphne Gaylord!

Cassie Kaawaloa Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, One Park - One Team, Park Profiles

Daphne Gaylord is a mixed media artist in Spanish Village Art Center, where she creates and sells her work in Studio 3 with fellow artist Don Knapp. She specializes in glass painting and jewelry, and also hosts paint pouring parties and demonstrations to show guests how to create their own unique work of art.

Can you tell us how you became an artist and started working in your studio here in Spanish Village?

In the late 60’s and early 70’s my aunt was an oil painter and had a studio here, where she also taught classes. My dad as a single father would sometimes drop me off after school to sit in on her classes, and she would give me supplies so I could follow along with her students. So I learned all of my basics from her, and I remember one day coming out of the Southwestern Artist studio and there was this huge, colorful painting right outside and I thought, “I want to be here someday.” So I lived my life, got married, had kids and retired. When I retired I decided to try and jury into the village and be in a studio. In May 2015 I went through the process to be juried in for my paintings and jewelry, and got in! I’ve always painted and throughout my career I knew that I wanted to make time for my painting, so now I’m living out my dream.

What impact have the arts had on you personally?

Art just gives me an outlet for my creativity, even when I was younger it was a way for me to work through things. So it always helps me, and I just really enjoy creating art! Art comes naturally to me and it’s one of the things that relaxes me most.

Do you have a favorite artist, or someone that influenced your work?

I like a lot of artists, not just one favorite in particular. I like Miro, Van Gogh,, and Klimt. I really like creating patterns and designs in my work. I’ve been drawing since I can remember, and as a kid I would always read my step mother’s Vogue magazines. I loved the models with their elaborate shoots, clothes, and makeup. I would mimic them in my drawing, and that really shows in a lot my work now.

What do you enjoy most about having a studio in Balboa Park?

It really means something to me personally to be here with so many other artists, and it’s just quaint and I love Balboa Park. I remember growing up and playing and climbing trees here with my brothers. I love the Park itself and the beauty of the architecture. My son just got married at The Nat museum last weekend and it was just such a beautiful wedding!

What do you like to do outside of working in the Park?

I like to read and listen to audiobooks. With technology now I can download audiobooks from the public library to my phone and listen to them in my car or wherever I am. It’s wonderful! I also do some writing but don’t have much time for that, maybe when I’m a little more retired, ha ha.  

What is the best advice you ever received and would be willing to share with others?

Don’t listen to other people’s advice, ha ha! Just go with your own instincts and your gut feeling. Those instincts are true to you, and while other people can help educate you on things they’ve done I think the most important thing is to trust yourself.  

What is your favorite spot in Balboa Park?

Probably the Lily Pond and the Botanical Buildings because I remember going there as a kid all the time, and I just love being in the Botanical Building. The plants are so elaborate, you just want to draw and paint them.