Itoro Udoko: On the topic of creating and the beauty of it, what is your creative process like? I mean conceptually speaking, as well as the space you’re in when you’re making art. Because every artist has different ways of creating right? For me, most of my photo editing, video editing, and writing has to be done in isolation. That’s where I really tap into myself I guess. I noticed with Basquiat though, he often worked with chaos. People coming in and out of the studio, music blasting, photographers taking photos of him. I couldn’t imagine such conditions. What’s it like for you?
Dorian Dargan: I think that um, I generally have music playing. I don’t necessarily mind people being around. Cause also, I’m in a dorm. Sometimes I put the canvas on my wall in my room. Or I put the canvas in the hallway on the floor. And people walk by you know? I don’t wanna say frenzy, but there’s definitely this sort of energy when I create. Music will be playing. I don’t have a TV. But I don’t think I would put on a TV unless there was something inspiring on there. I also use magazines. Because I like doing mixed media work, you know? So I sometimes use parts of magazine or books and such. But yeah. I use a lot of different material. Music helps me a lot. So I’ll play like jazz, or dupstep. Or live music. Just music that inspires me. Alternative rock. I listen to gospel too. When I paint though, it’s mainly jazz. I’m a big music guy. I play the drums, the piano, and I sing. So they go together for me. Music and art.
hear no evil, see no evil, 2007 mixed media 9” x 12”
IU: What about your different media? I know you use acrylic a lot when you work. What else do you work with?
DD: I use magazines. Found objects. Oil pastels crayons. Those are really cool. Like, the outer layer is hardened, but the inside is soft. I would use oil a lot more. But I don’t have the space for that. I like playing with textures a lot too.
IU: Can we talk about a few of your pieces?
DD: Yeah sure.
IU: One of my favorite works by you is Animal Spirits. Can you talk a little about that one?
DD: Um, okay. So I’m an economics students. The name came from a quote by Keynes. John Maynard Keynes; he was a British economist. "Most, probably, of our decisions to do something positive, the full consequences of which will be drawn out over many days to come, can only be taken as the result of animal spirits — a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities."
animal spirits, 2010 mixed media 40” x “30
The idea of animal spirits goes with economics. Economics is all based upon a model. People are always trying to maximize utility. Whatever makes them happy, that’s what they do. And they’re all in this greater market. Most people go on instincts when they make decisions. They don’t go, “Oh. This has a 85% chance of being lucrative, so I’ll go with it.” It’s more instinctive. There’s like subconscious cost-benefit analysis. This piece kinda goes along with that: the primal human. The instinctive nature of man, I guess you could say. It is really just a commentary on consumerism, and the fallibility of the economic models upon which capitalism is built. Nothing is that clear cut.
IU: And what about Hunger? Can you talk about that one?
DD: You can interpret that the way you want to. I don’t wanna color your perception. But just it’s about the competitive market I guess. That hunger drives people. People have to survive, at the expense of others. It’s a dog-eat-dog kinda world. It’s sort of an extension of the idea that lives in Animal Spirits. Hierarchy. Our desire to conquer… to eat or be eaten… and the reciprocity of nature.
hunger, 2010 acrylic 30” x 40”
IU: Last question I suppose. Do you plan on pursuing this art thing full time?
DD: I’m still trying to figure that out… and so I’m not sure. It’s really up to God, I just want to be in His will. But I would love to. To just be able to make art, with no restrictions. As it is, I don’t have enough time to make art the way I want to. I have so much energy to translate into pieces. But I’m just too occupied. Sometimes I just wonder how it would be if I just went to art school and had the full time to devote to this, you know? I do feel like it’s a part of me. So to some extent, it has to be there. Art has a function. When you have a big enough platform for your art, you’re highlighting things that people didn’t necessarily see before. I wanna share that. My opinions, that’s what art is – a window into that. I don’t know. We’ll see man. I’m still growing, you know?
IU: Yeah I definitely understand. It’s amazing though, to just listen to you. You have such a deep mind. I guess that kind of goes in line with a revelation that sort of dawned on me a little bit after I started creating art: the mind is the most important part. A lot of artists have been to art school right? A lot of individuals are more than technically competent. Everyone is capable of drawing “pretty flowers” as you would say. But what really separates a good artist from a great artist is the mind, the concepts that they explore. And you definitely have that, in abundance.
DD: Thanks. And yeah man. I definitely agree with you. And I’ve definitely enjoyed seeing what you’ve been doing, seeing you grow. When you think about art, art is so subjective. So just like, people may see a work they like and be like “wow”. But when they know the artist that did it, that’s when they really get excited. You know? They wanna get to know that artist, and the concepts behind them. They want to understand their state of mind, why they made what they made. That’s why I think it’s important to connect with social media too. People are eager to get to know others on a more personal level. For me, that’s really important in art.