Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Surreal Songs: 12x12 Artist Bryan Dahlvang

For this year's 12x12 artist Bryan Dahlvang created a musically-inspired painting. I had the pleasure of interviewing him via email to discover more about this work.

Laura Reese: What was your concepts and inspiration for this piece?
Bryan Dahlvang: The concept for my piece, "Planet Claire" was inspired by my son, and the B-52's. 
Though it doesn't matter if the viewer understands completely what the piece is about (to me), I'd be happy for the painting to evoke a mysterious, yet sentimental feeling. Like me, I think a lot of people my age miss the music of the 80's, the fascination with outer-space, and less-troubling times. With this piece, I wanted to visually represent the whimsical nature of B-52's music, seasoned with a bit of creepiness. 

Bryan Dahlvang, Planet Claire, Oil on Canvas, $525

The song "Planet Claire" used to frighten my son. Once he learned that the inhabitants of Planet Claire have no head, he was troubled. So every time the song would come on, he would say, "Dad, turn it off! Turn it off!" 
Fortunately, he's overcome that fear, and I can now enjoy listening to the song in its entirety. 

Ultimately, I wanted to create a portrait, as I've done in years past for the "12x12" show, but couldn't decide who I should paint. 
As serendipity would have it, the song came on, and I remembered my son's reactions to it. So I dug through some old photos and pulled a few out that captured his emotion well. 

What do you hope to convey to the viewer with your surrealistic images?
As for the surrealistic imagery, I tried to depict Planet Claire's pink sky, red trees, and the headless people, but also added a loose representation of Quiche Lorraine (the dog dyed dark-green, visiting from another B-52's album). With this painting, I'd like for viewers to lose themselves in memories of mix tapes and life before "twerking" - when songs about butterbeans and big birds could take one on a fun, imaginative journey. 

Where else can audiences see your work?
More of my work can be seen here:

and on OVAC's virtual gallery:

View and bid on this artwork as part of the 12x12 Art Fundraiser September 20th, along with food, fun and 149 other artists. Preview the artwork for the one-night event and purchase tickets

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