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Meet our Founder

Stephanie Dillon

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It all begins with curiosity.

Stephanie Dillon is a Twin Cities–based many-medium artist who drives reinvention as regeneration. By reviving discarded items, recycling art to bring new beauty to each piece and painting on mediums such as upcycled clothing and furniture using a variety of creative techniques, she interrogates and rejects the idea of disposability, a concept she grappled with when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. “It’s like a whole sustainability parachute fell open over my head during that time,” says Dillon, who rerouted her own direction from backing art behind the scenes to creating it — with a strong sense of purpose. 

She set about examining her participation in damaging systems, and worked to figure out how to move differently: “Our lives are finite, and we need to think about what we create, how we craft our lives.” Her art challenges consumptive ideas that permeate our society. “It’s going to take all of us to save the planet,” she says. “Seventy-three percent of clothing that’s bought is sent to landfills, whereas 95 percent of it could be reused or recycled. Isn’t that staggering to you? Do you know how much we throw away?”

Dillon speaks of second life, more life, opportunities to serve other people and the planet. At the beginning of 2020, she founded apparel company Citizen-T, which involves practically zero manufacturing by sourcing clothing and other items from landfills and features the work of a number of artists in various collaborations. 

She has 8 years’ board experience, vice chair of the executive board of the Sanneh Foundation in St. Paul, Minn., and is a member of Rolling Stone’s Culture Council. Her work has been featured in a wide range of magazines and can be found at StephanieDillonArt.com and Citizen-T.com

Dillon believes old is still beautiful, what we have is enough, and that art is everywhere.

Q&A

If you could invite anyone in the world to dinner, who would it be?

Definitely Wim Wenders. He was a major figure in new German cinema and he directed my all-time favorite film called 'Wings of Desire'. 

What was the first album you ever bought?

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John.

Who taught you the most about life?

The best lessons I've learned in life come from having my heart broken. 

Hope or despair?

What is your favorite color of nail polish?

Hope springs eternal.

Are you a morning or night person?

Morning, and no I have not always been that way. 

Black.

Do you remember your dreams?

Yes, I write them on recipe cards and put them in a recipe box that my grandmother gave me. 

Where is your favorite vacation spot in the world?

Love or Lust?

Always love. I can't trust lust. 

What is one thing you miss most about your youth?

Not being tired so often.

What social stigma does society need to get over?

That there is only one true love. 

Favorite word?

Fuck.

My favorite place to travel is Snowbank, Minnesota.

Who's home have you been in that had the biggest impact on your life?

Chica Younger in San Antonio, Texas. It was pink and it was amazing. 

What is the most important rule that we should break?

That our job is to make people feel comfortable. 

What's something that everyone should try at least once? 

I think everyone should burn a bridge, and come to me for the matches. 

What is your favorite quote?

What is the nicest thing that someone has said to you?

Favorite dessert?

Chocolate anything. 

"It's far worse a crime to have to steal than to be stolen from." 

"You've changed"

What do you do when you're sad?

Give to others. 

What's something that will always be in fashion no matter how much time passes?

Truth.

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