This week at Art Insights, printmaker Stefanie Dykes voiced her need for narrative and community within her artwork.
Dykes is a co-founder of Saltgrass Printmakers in Salt Lake City. Saltgrass Printmakers is a non-profit printmaking studio and gallery. Her development of a non-profit studio allowed her to branch out within the art world. Some of the opportunities she came across included community engagement and collaboration with other printmakers.
During her lecture, she shared the different factors she’s inspired by as she creates her artwork. Here are a few things to take away from Dykes’ art thinking process and art influences:
Narrative is a Driving Force
Dykes voiced that narrative is what carries her work from beginning to end. She begins with a character and/or idea and pursues it throughout her work. This art process involves creating piece after piece that all relate to a certain character or idea.
Many of Dykes’ narrative project series involved inspiration from her surroundings. For example, one of her series exemplified her observations of the Great Salt Lake. To express her observations, she created various tiles that displayed the patterns she perceived from studying the lake’s phenomenological orientation.
Another series derived from narrative featured Dykes’ fascination with millstones. She started comparing the final results of a millstone to the final results of processing through a narrative art project. Dykes explained the analogy of millstones grinding wheat into meal, just as our minds grind through ideas as we work through a series of projects involving a relative concept.
Express and Collaborate with Those Around You
Dykes stressed the importance of displaying her community in her artwork just has much as she wants to express herself within her artwork. To do this, she conducted several interactive art projects to introduce community involvement within her art.
One of these interactive projects involved a rocking chair becoming repurposed into an ink press. Community members are invited to sit on the chair and rock back-and-forth, in order to press the ink onto the artwork underneath.
Dykes also finds as many opportunities she can to teach art classes to the community, partner with other non-profit organizations and bring visiting artists from around the world to teach local printmakers in her area.
Wherever You Find Art and Beauty, You Find Yourself
In her concluding remarks, Dykes encouraged her listeners to travel as much as they can. She expressed the opportunities and inspirations that have found her as a result of traveling the world.
“By traveling, artists are exposed to many varieties of art and beauty, which in return gives them many opportunities to find themselves,” Dykes said.
Visit Stefanie Dykes’ website (www.stefaniedykes.com) to become more acquainted with her art-thinking process, as well as view her latest artwork. More information on the Art Insights lecture series can be found at suu.edu/pva/suma/.