My Adventures as an Artist
I am self instructed as an artist. I first got started as a street artist painting the occasional wall mural or anything else someone was foolish enough to let me put my brushes to. In 1976 I did my first outdoor street festival and knew that was my life to come. The first couple of shows were all drawings and watercolors, but I could see that doing multiples was the only way to make enough affordable original art to keep going. So I took up printmaking. Mostly etchings and mono prints. With original hand pulled prints I could put my best effort into a plate and still be able to sell for a reasonable price. The same philosophy works with paper casting.
Over the 10 years I spent as a print maker I evolved into relief printing with embossing. I began to make paper to print and emboss on. Embossing involves making a plate, placing soaked paper or it and running it through a press. This was pretty easy but the detail and depth are limited. You can only stretch paper so far. I really wanted sculptural depth. Then one day I was looking through an art magazine and saw an example of cast paper. I thought "I can do that, and probably a lot better." (Self doubt is not my problem). And sure enough after about 3 years of errors and trials I developed my techniques. In about 5 years I had enough molds to do paper casting exclusively.
Paper casting is to me the perfect medium. It allows me use almost every skill set. A typical piece begins as a drawing or two. Then I sculpt it in wax. This is a long refining process and often the image sculpted is far different that the drawing. Then I build a dam around the wax and pour a rubber mold directly off the surface. A casting is made by pressing wet cotton pulp into the mold and extracting the water. Then I finish the surface.
While every piece that emerges from the mold is about the same, no two are really painted the same. Maybe I would if I could, but the painting process is always in flux. I am always experimenting with ways of mixing colors or washes and hard edge or new pigments. I send about 75% of my time with the painted finishes.
I am very excited to now be able to expand my designs into some other mediums. I have begun to offer digital prints of my designs. I have been experimenting with Giclees and traditional prints in addition to T-shirts, postcard and woven prints. I am very excited to now offer woven tapestries. The designs are 100% my own and woven on a digital loom by a small company in the USA.
When I see or dream a thing that moves me in that way I try to distill the essence of it and add it to my bag of tricks. I am something of a student of ancient art and particularly interested in Celtic history, but I am not interested in reproducing artifacts or furthering a traditional technique. There was an original impulse for man to do art in the first place. Images and objects that take us out of our day to day consciousness. A magic icon or at least a feeling that allowed the viewer to step out of the ordinary world of words and survival and allow a more ancient wisdom to arise. I am looking for that magic.
,When I am working, it never really seems like I am alone. It’s a strange feeling like channeling a human need to create. Voices of the past seem to want pass along a vision or standard. But then again, perhaps I am alone too much. Anyway, I hope that some of these images speak to you and you can find your own magic....... Kevin Dyer