Monday, September 7, 2009

24 Works on Paper Artists: Bryan Dahlvang

To give insight into the works included in the 24 Works on Paper exhibition, Ryan Pack has interviewed some of the participating artists about their work in the show. The exhibition is now at the Eleanor Hays Gallery at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa. It will continue there until October 14. 24 Works on Paper will continue to travel the state through August 2010.

Bryan Dahlvang
Do you listen to anything while you create your work? What inspires you (Be it art, music, books, movies, etc..)?
I listen to music while I create.
As a matter of fact, I listen to music ALL the time while in the studio. I can't imagine what my work would be like without music. I'd probably lose interest. I've got a very diverse music collection. Some days I'm in the mood for Classical, other days I need to hear Alternative music. But most of the time, I just let the computer play random songs. Music keeps me creatively preoccupied. If I couldn't listen to music, I think all the other noises would bother me.
There are some people who like to listen to one group, or one CD over and over and over. That's it. Myself, I enjoy the random surprise. Once in a while, I'll get on a kick where I'll listen to one artist for a long time. I'll play them into the ground, and then I'm back to my random selections. Then I'll wonder why I was so obsessed with that group.
Such was the case with a group called My Morning Jacket. I listened to them every day for weeks. I almost wore them out. Then I found Neko Case. She's all I wanted to hear for a long time. Then it was Wolfmother, and now it is Muse.
Back in the days before MP3 players with massive storage capacity, when I was asked if I were stranded on an island somewhere, and could only bring one CD with me, what would it be, I had such a hard time with that question. I change. I would hate to have to listen to only a few songs. They would lose their flavor. I think that if I were limited to only a few songs, my artwork would reflect a lot more bitterness.

Would you care to tell us about the technique you used for your piece? And why the technique appeals to you?
I used a mixed media approach to this piece. Lately, my life is so busy with my job, and teaching at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and at Libraries all over the State of Oklahoma, freelance graphic work, and with my family that I don't have much time left for creating something for my own satisfaction. I have to sacrifice sleep to accomplish anything. I had to create "Beaver" a little bit at a time. Though I don't like leaving a piece - because it becomes a different animal every time I come back to it. I think this one worked well for me despite the length of time it took to finish.

Mixed Media collage seems to be a great choice for me too. As of late, I've been teaching Junk Sculpture classes at libraries during Summer Reading Programs. I bring a lot of found objects with me to these classes, and I enjoy watching the kids come alive with creativity! Though it can be challenging to put several things together to make one piece, it is so satisfying when things work out well.

Beaver started out as a challenge in drawing. I brought the idea of "creature creation" to an animation studio in Oklahoma City as a warm-up exercise. The company wanted to improve morale at the studio by bringing me in to teach drawing lessons - to get away from their computers for a while. So I told them about my childhood exercise of combining five animals into one creature. I'd hand someone a piece of paper and ask them to write five random animals down for me. Sometimes the creatures would turn out great, and other times not so much. This one really stuck with me. I have carried the head around with me for years. I only recently had time to finish him.

The technique is a lot like Junk Sculpture, now that I'm thinking about it. My life is so fragmented. I think this method of creation speaks volumes about how things are with me today.

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