Monday, May 16, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Dane Youngren

One of the things we've learned to appreciate since entering the crafting community is the support we've received from other artists. We wanted to pay it forward and support other artists as well, and our first step in doing so is this interview of another local artist: Dane Youngren. Dane talked to us about his work in the following interview.
Dane Youngren
DoW: What in your life led you to this type of art?
D.Y.: I grew up on my family’s dairy farm and spent my childhood not only working but also gathering all kinds of leftover materials and scrap lumber. I would build things and explore the old structures and barns on our property. Our land bordered the railroad, and so there was also this influx of thoughts and a fascination I developed with this industry, which influenced me to create art that is a mixture of the rural and the industrial, those in-between spaces in our world that we often overlook.
DoW: Pick three words to describe yourself as an artist.
D.Y.: Ambitious, passionate, rational.

DoW: What feelings/thought does your art evoke in you?
D.Y.: My work is a mixture of nostalgia and melancholy. It elicits excitement in me to examine these structures yet also brings about feelings of remorse as these types of things in our environment are disappearing and on the decline.
DoW: What do you think it evokes in others?
D.Y.: I think my viewers are quickly able to read in to this same kind of message. Some are reminded of a particular place, and others haven’t had that same kind of experience but make connections to things they know to exist in our world.

DoW: What is your favorite medium and WHY?
D.Y.: You might have guessed that I’m drawn to the ceramic medium, there is some kind of connection I immediately felt with clay. I enjoy the technical challenges of working in the material and find that it is quite versatile. I also like the idea of permanency and fragility that my work conveys as a result of the material.
DoW: If you could only have one tool to work in clay with which one would it be?
D.Y.: My most important ones are a fettling knife for cutting and a needle tool for making incisions. I’d been lost without them and so if I had to chose one, I’d pick something that’s in between and can perform both tasks comfortably. Maybe I’ll have to design it myself!

DoW: Your work is mostly black/white- what made you decide against color?
D.Y.: It’s true that much of my work earlier work is void of bright vibrant colors, but more recently I’ve been exploring a wider color palette. I’ve run hundreds of glaze tests and have still found that my work is best completed with earth tones—browns, blacks, and greens to name a few general hues. It’s not so much that I’ve decided against other possibilities, but for this type of work it just makes sense. I’m mostly going off intuition.
DoW: Who is your favorite artist?
D.Y.: There are so many inspiration artists working today, and I particularly am intrigued by those who are also challenging the ceramics medium. There’s a photographer, Frank Gohlke, who I was recently introduced to. My work shares similar subject matter, and it’s interesting to me to see how the medium impacts the experience for the viewer.

DoW: What would your ideal art studio look like?

D.Y.: I have learned enough about myself and my working process over the last few years to know that I need ample working space. Like my sculptures, my ideal studio would be large and have state-of-the-art facilities to produce my work. It would include all the high-end equipment, like large gas fired kilns, that I’ve come to depend on. I like things well constructed and would view the architecture of the space as an art project in itself.
DoW: Where do you plan to work now that you have graduated?
D.Y.: I’ve applied to various residencies and have started to do a lot of self-employment type work like entering art competitions and shows. My goal is to eventually support myself in an artistic capacity. I plan to attend graduate school in the fall of 2012 to further my art education and attain a professional degree in the field. This would open more opportunities and the potential to teach in the college or university setting.
DoW: How can admirers contact you? Are any of your pieces for sale?
D.Y.: The best way to contact me is by email; dane.youngren@gmail.com. I welcome any questions or comments and do my best to reply in a timely manner. The pieces I am entering in various shows will be listed for sale. My overall goal is that the work would impact as many people as possible in various venues nationally and internationally in art shows and in the gallery setting before it enters a private collection. The ideal scenario would be for my work to reside in a museum where it would be available for viewing by the public.

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