Who: Dina Cintura
What: Business owner (Women Who Wallpaper), welder, musician (in the band Joy), and wallpaper installer
Where: Via Zoom where her Australian shepherd, Rudy Boy, made a cameo
Quote that didn’t make it in the article but will always be remembered: “I’m not meant to be famous. I would not do well with it.” –Dina Cintura
KC: What would bother you the most if you were stranded on an island?
DC: Probably access to food and freshwater. The basic necessities. Also, do I get to have my dog because that would be a pretty big deal? If I had my dog, I would probably enjoy the solitude and the peace that comes along with being alone.
Do you get that feeling of solitude when you’re installing wall coverings?
I’m drawn to the installation because it comes in steps. It’s this organized, detailed activity where you have all the things that you need and you slowly go through the process. I really enjoy being alone, and I really enjoy getting to go into that zone where the world is silent, except for what is right in front of you.
Yet, people are so intimidated by the idea of putting up wallpaper by themselves. Paint, yes. Wallpaper, panic. What’s going on with that?
Each wallpaper has a different skill set attached to it. There’s different types of wallpapers and by knowing all the different types you become a key. As in, you know what you’re going to do for each different one. Each wallpaper has a different substrate — the backings are all different, and so some take certain types of adhesives or certain types of primer, and once you know all those things, you work with them specifically. There’s a type of wallpaper called non-woven, but you’ll possibly get two different brands, and they’ll both be non-woven, but they react totally differently when you’re hanging them on the wall.
It’s like people and life. In a relationship, the two people might come from the same place, but their perceptions and reactions can be completely different.
KC: What’s a book you’ve read more than once?
DC: I’ve got a couple, but the most recent was Master and Margarita.
A Russian literature fan.
I am. I read Dostoyevsky’s Brother Karamazov last year. It’s so good, but I actually got two editions. The first one was so hard. I tried to read it and couldn’t understand what it was saying. Then I got another translation, and I read it all the way through. It’s funny how the translation can make all the difference.
KC: If you could choose to wallpaper anyone’s walls, who would it be, and what would you wallpaper the walls with?
DC: I would love to go and hang, in Florida, wallpaper for my grandma because that would make her super happy. She’s actually been trying to get me to come down to Florida, for the last year.
We recently did a Graham and Brown wallpaper, and she was obsessed with it. I sent her a photo and she was like, ‘That’s the one I want. Please get me that one.’ It was really nice with a grey background and pink flowers on it.
Now you have me thinking about objects. Is there an object or an image that you want to see on wall prints that’s never there or available?
There’s people’s personal art that I would love to see as a wall covering, but I mean, God, there’s just so many different options and there’s so many different wall coverings you can choose from. You can have custom prints made and then shipped to you within two or three days from all over the world.
But, if I were going to choose one, it would be the artwork of Mike Wicox. His art is amazing and I would love for it to become wallpaper.
KC: What’s a phrase you say too often? What’s a phrase you wish you said more?
DC: [Smiling]. I think the phrase I say too often is usually in my head and not suitable for radio or written programming. [Laughing].
As for a phrase I wish I said more often. I would choose, ‘This project is completely finished.’ I’m so detail-oriented that I feel like I can always add more. I think Coco Chanel said always take away rather than add on [Full quote: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”] She’s probably completely right, and then I’m always leaning into ‘…but if we can just make this trim slightly different or change this little part.
And it’s interesting because I keep my personal space really really sparse. Like, very sparse — without a lot of patterns or anything. All day and everyday I work with patterns and prints, so when I come home, I want to feel free and clear from all design. Vintage lamps and white walls. That’s my place. And little black statues of dogs and white curtains.
KC: What’s a story that you feel like embraces the concept or mission of Women who Wallpaper?
DC: I, like most people, wanted to find a compromise with capitalism. I wanted to know how I could walk through the world in a way that I felt comfortable with, but I also knew that I had to make money and be a part of society.
I lean more towards an artistic-weirdo lifestyle, so this was a good compromise for me. I can beautify commercial spaces or people’s homes, and it’s also manual labor. It’s manual labor, and it’s pretty.
It’s wonderful because with starting this business, I’m able to hire women who are less likely to be hired in more labor-centered jobs. That provides them financial stability, or at least we try to do our best. And now we have this woman workforce that’s way better. Although, don’t get me talking about labor. I grew up doing migrant farm work from 18 until 30, so I’ll talk about labor all day long.
Part of it’s because I was a welder before this; I was a structural welder for years, and I was so sick of working in a steel mill and being around all these giant, nasty men who are like, ‘Honey this’ or ‘her this.’ You know what I mean? I still like lipstick, and I also wear coveralls. I was a cute welder, but that wasn’t how I wanted to walk through the world.
I was trying to figure it out, so maybe four years ago I started this company because my grandma [the one in Florida] suggested it. I was thinking I’d start a painting company — get government contracts and do big paint jobs — but my Grandma said, ‘You should do wallpaper. It’s all the rage right now.’