One of the requirements to graduate with my degree in Art was a final exhibition. I worked with several different professors working on this series discussing color palettes, compositions, concept, and technique for my last year of college at Missouri State University from 2012-2013. I had only been painting for four years at this point and didn’t have much of an understanding of structure, color theory, or how to brainstorm but I was decent at copying from a reference. And with the guidance of my awesome professors we pulled together a series that I love.
When I finally came up with a general concept of celebrating the weird, I knew I would need to take photos almost exactly how I would want them to be painted to show my strengths.
I'm so lucky to have willing friends to help!
Brainstorming the content of each piece was another hurdle. After learning different approaches to coming up with ideas, I found using word lists helps me, so I made lists of possible models, settings, and props, cut them up, and put them into bags to randomly draw each scenario. I went through this process many, many times and picked the most interesting and inspiring sets to work from. I also let models choose some of their own props and clothing to add more variation.
Then from photo to paint, the big time investment especially considering I needed these to be large.
My little studio nook as a senior:
I began working from home more often once I got it paint safe because I couldn’t work past midnight at the school studio and I’m such a night owl. Once my neighbor got a peek in when I was coming out the door, and I'm pretty sure his wide-eyes thought maybe I was a female Dexter. I cleared up any discrepancies and he still supports my work. :)
As per usual, I stayed up all night working 16 hours in a row painting my edges and putting final touches on each painting. I’ve heard the quote “Art is never finished, only abandoned” attributed to da Vinci. While I’m not sure about the claim, the quote remains very true to me. I call a painting done only when I run out of time. I am almost never sleep the night before a show.
Here’s my artist statement I hung with my work. My advisor had me write eight drafts of this, and I’m pretty sure he’d have me write more if I hadn’t ran out of time. They don’t mess around in art school. (I wouldn’t have it any other way!)
I called it "False Perceptions":
As a living, I work in customer service. The way in which I serve my customers is not entirely important to me as I enjoy the interactions with the variety of eccentric individuals I run into. I am particularly captivated by the man wearing a turquoise bathrobe with a lavender Mohawk or the woman with her face painted like Braveheart. These people, in being brave enough to be their own individual, brighten my world and stimulate my imagination. In my work, I attempt to reflect the curiosity and appreciation I have for these vibrant people.
Because my interactions with my customers are fleeting, I have fabricated characters inspired by them. I chose friends and family that have bold, fun personalities. My models took initiative in helping with decisions on posing, props, and the locations. This allowed for a more humorous scene than I could have come up with on my own. With these scenes, my aim is to celebrate the individual and emphasize the color they bring into this life. In doing so, I hope to encourage others to keep an open eye for these irreplaceable personalities. There may be more to them than what is expected.
It was my first experience seeing the difference between the paintings in my plastic-covered living room and studio versus a gallery wall. It made all of those late nights and paint stains totally worth it.
Brick City Gallery, Springfield, MO
At the opening my reception it was at my pleasure to watch everyone tilt their heads at my intentional skewed perspective, like someone might do if they approached something strange or unusual. Despite the snow and ice in May, there was a great turn-out especially full of friends and family.
Here they are individually listed with their titles. Even those are purposeful hopefully making the viewer reassess the character and recognize our fault of quick judgments.
Art-making has made me come out of my shell in many ways. While a bit embarrassed at the time, I had a couple people taking pictures of me taking pictures at the gas station and of my buddy and dog dressed as such. The gas station clerks were watching from the window cracking up. My professor also encouraged me to make it more colorful, and despite my lack of confidence I thought I'd try!
Oh, Daniel. This is a classic. I often get Snapchats and text messages from my friends finding this gem now appropriately hanging in the bathroom of 417 Taphouse known for the self-serve taps.
Medal of Honor
GUYS. My mom posed for this one!
Trilingual Father of Four
Sure landed a strange combination of words for this scenario.
Net Worth: $30 Million
Die Antwoord, anyone? My boyfriend at the time even got sucked into the project.
As usual, I’d love to know which one is your favorite, and why if you’d like!
Thanks for looking!