A true artist at heart, Dina lives her life through creative expression. At a young age, she was fortunate enough to find her passion and with persistence and grit she eventually turned that into her career.
Who are you, where did you grow up, and what do you do?
My name is Dina. I’m a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto. I’m a photographer, painter, actress and model. I’m currently balancing all four things.
Growing up, I bounced around a lot. I was born in Russia, and moved to Israel at the age of 6. Then, at the age of 13 my family and I moved to Canada. I left Toronto when I was 18 years old to pursue my modeling career. That’s when I started to traveling a lot and lived in different cities like Barcelona, Athenes, New York, Miami, Berlin and Milan.
Was this the career path you’ve always wanted to pursue? How did it all unfold?
I’ve always been very creative and inventive. Growing up, I use to love getting dressed in my moms clothes up and performing like I was in a film, or getting an Oscar. I was also a rhythmic gymnast for 15 years and that’s where my passion for being a performer began. I also attended an art high school and was accepted into the graphic design program.
When I was 16, I really wanted to become model and it became my obsession. I got rejected pretty often because of my height but that really didn’t stop me from pursuing my dream. I started to research and study the best photographers and asked them to work with me which was how I built a strong portfolio and convinced an agent to take me on. Eventually, agencies and clients started to book me.
Modeling gave me the opportunity to travel abroad and work with so many talented and interesting individuals. I was surrounded by so many creatives and that’s where my love for photography started to develop. I wanted to be on the other side of the camera. Modeling started to become really empty and I felt like I needed to express myself more as an artist then just my looks. So, about 5 years ago I moved back to Toronto and invested my time into other disciplines. I started acting, photography, moulding and painting. I realized I had so much more to offer to the world.
Can you tell us a little bit about your favorite past projects you’ve worked on?
Recently, I flew to Paris to do a commission work with my paintings. I think that was the most exciting thing that has happened with my work as a painter. It really solidified me as an artist and gave me a huge confidence boost.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Raw and moody. I like to create conversation pieces; things that will tell a story and give a feeling. I want my work to be a bit complex just like myself. I use to be very safe with my work and was afraid to push my own boundaries. But now I’m really exploring more and being less hard on myself. I’m really giving myself room to screw up and explore.
Where do you find inspiration when starting a new art piece or project?
Everywhere and everything. Usually from my emotions and how I’m feeling, and where I am physically at that time. I like to play with colors, textures and shapes. I also reference a lot cinemas, books, interior design, friends. Even food inspires me.
Who are you most inspired by?
I’m inspired by many people. Great artists like Cy Twombly and amazing poets such as Pushkin and Leonard Cohen. I’m also a fan of Harley Weir who is an amazing photographer. The list goes on.
What is the best part about what you do?
I’m constantly trying new things, meeting new people, going new adventures. My work doesn’t feel like work half the time because I truly love what I do.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
I’m my own worst critic. It’s really hard for me to separate who I am and my work but my art is who I am. So, learning how to be less harsh on myself and trusting the process .
When do you feel the most empowered?
When I feel like my hard work pays off and I’m being the most authentic self.
What is the best advice you’ve received?
Trust the process but also enjoy the process. Just be in it.
How do you unwind or take time for yourself?
I do have a hard time with this. But when I do, I turn off my phone. This helps me recharge and be more in tune with myself. I also love to read and meditate. I’m a pretty spiritual person and try to find time to practice this. I also love a good massage.
Where are your favorite spots in Toronto to eat and drink?
416 Snack Bar