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Art like music. Dan May (interview)

TH & Stary Van Dam Stary

Atmosphere comming out from Dan May's art - a very interesting painter from the USA - is unbelievable. You can't just sit and watch Dan's paintings without any emotions or strong reaction. This is how good art should be. Besides good artistic techniques it should affect us on emotional level.

Neso Art: Your wife said, you're in the middle of a big move. Where are you heading?

Dan May:  Yes, indeed. My wife and I have been married for almost 10 years and we have moved a total of 8 times during the course of that time. We have lived in some great cities (New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Cincinnati, among others). This move will take us closer to family; we will end up in Northern Michigan. Our new home is surrounded by natural beauty, definitely one of my favorite places we have lived so far!

/check out fall in Northenr Michigan on picture below. Inspiring ?

NA: What/Who inspieres you the most?

Dan:  seem to be surrounded by inspiration, it is all around us. Day to day events inspire me, along with family and friends, global issues, the universe, dreams, etc. My greatest inspiration has always been my wife, and now our newborn son as well. Kendal has been endlessly supportive and been with me through all of the ups and downs. I would not be the artist I am today without her. Having our son Max in our lives will no doubt provide a new and exciting source of inspiration!

NA: Is there any reason you choose that subject of your artwork ? Got to admit it has interesting, sad and disturbing atmosphere. Is there any message you wanted to pass?

Dan:  Well, thank you. I never set out to push any specific of message, but hearing your reaction to the work tells me that it is affecting the viewer on an emotional level. The creatures that I paint do seem to come from a place of sadness; they have experienced life and many have deep pain or regret, yet there always seems to be a glimmer of hope. I think as humans we all want to have hope, especially at our darkest times. I paint from my heart..I often have no idea what will transpire when beginning a piece. The images you see are what I feel, have felt, or have seen others go through. Each image I paint holds a certain meaning to me, but my hope is that when others see it, it will take on a life of it's own and inspire stories unique to each viewer.

NA: Do you listen music while you work ? Any favourite genres / bands ?  Do you think music can affect on the results of painting?

Dan: I love music. In many ways I wish I could create music. The way music sets a mood, reminds us of a time in our lives, or just takes us away to another place is how I hope people experience my paintings. I think art and music go hand in hand. My musical tastes definitely run the gamut, I really enjoy many genres and I could not even begin to list my favorites. 

NA: There's a characteristic thing in almost every of your paintings - very interesting and great painted wavy hair or fur. Any particular inspirations or reason?

Dan: Yes, that element has been a part of my work for many years... it has grown to represent many things. Most of all it is a symbol of evolution (on a personal level and on a grander level as well). I think it also represents mystery and intrigue... it tells stories, it is twisted and tangled just like life. There is also a technical element to it. It is peaceful and almost meditative to paint; I really enjoy the esthetic quality of fine line. 

NA:  How do you create? What technique do you use?

Dan:  I am creating all the time. Each day is filled with some form drawing, painting, writing... I never really stop. As far as technique goes, I primarily paint with acrylics on gessoed wood panels.

NA: Would you agree with the opinion, that using modern technology to create art is recourse to art itself?

Dan: I do not think that it is essential to the creation of art, but it certainly is helpful in spreading artistic vision. The computer and the internet/social networking have forever changed the way we view and share art. The fact that we can digitally catalog artwork and expose it to others around the world in just minutes is something that still blows my mind. I could not fathom this being a possibility as a kid. It has made our world small and allowed artists to live virtually anywhere on the globe and still feel part of a 'community'. I am so grateful to be creating art in during this period of time. 

/ Dan, you definitely hit the nail on the head!  /

NA: Can you tell me something about your beginnings?

Dan: I grew up in a suburb of western New York. I enjoyed drawing and creating from a very early age. My family always encouraged me to be creative and I continued to draw and paint everyday. Eventually I went to school for art and trained to be an illustrator. While I enjoyed the technical side of creating illustration, I found that painting commissioned work for various clients left a significant piece of who I was out of the work... it felt empty to me. I needed to go back to my roots and my childhood ways of approaching art and just create... from the heart. I have been doing so for the past ten years now and never looked back.

NA: Do you have any interests besides Art?

Dan: Yes, I enjoy skiing, biking, running, hiking, pretty much anything that gets me outdoors. I love to travel and spend time with my family. 

NA:  What are you working on at the moment?

Dan: My wife and I are currently working on a book together. When we first started dating we talked about writing and illustrating a book together, but unfortunately life got in the way and it became difficult to find the time to sit down and make it happen. We have always been such a great team, (Kendal is my business manager), so working on this project together came naturally to us. At this point the artwork is now completed. We are still finishing the writing, editing, and design, but we plan to have it ready in 2014. Aside from that I have been focused on some other interesting projects, painting for a few upcoming gallery shows, and we continue to release prints through the studio so that has kept us quite busy.

NA: What artists are you currently following ? Do you own or collect work by any artists?

Dan: I am constantly amazed by the artwork being produced today. It is definitely an exciting time in the art world. I have my favorites, but again, the list would be far too long and I'd probably leave out many names. 

NA:  Do you like classic art ? Any Favourite classsic painters?

Dan: Of course. I enjoy many of the classic painters. Some of my favorites include; Maxfield Parrish, Caspar David Friedrich, J.M.W. Turner, N.C. Wyeth, Caravaggio, Monet, Vermeer, Hieronymus Bosch, Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, among many others.

NA: The place you will never forget.

Dan: Where/when I first met my wife.

NA: Is it possible to do art for a living nowadays?

Dan: Sure, I think so. It takes an endless amount of dedication, hard work, promotion, and support, but I do think it is entirely possible. 
NA: What is the Universe to you ?:)

Dan: My family

Cosmos On Canvas

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