Thursday Spotlight: Myles Dunigan

Tell us about your background.

I am predominately a printmaker, with an emphasis on intaglio techniques. I received my B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2010 in Printmaking, but also focused on traditional drawing while in school. I grew up in a rural part of central Massachusetts, and frequently refer back to the landscape of New England in my work.

Name some people, artists, artistic genres, etc. that have been influential in your work.

The most influential art movement for me is Romanticism. What I find most profound about Romantic works is that their creators allowed human experience to distort representational compositions, merging the intrinsic world of the individual’s subconscious with a shared language of perception. The Symbolist movement also fascinates me because it is the inverse: purely fantastical subject matter elucidated through a surprisingly traditional use of form and space. As far as specific artists are concerned, I would count Rodolphe Besdin, J.M.W. Turner, Rembrandt, John Martin, Walter Murch, and Hercules Seghers to be among my main influences.

Where and how do you get your ideas?

 My ideas are distilled from experiences that I have with places or objects that possess a profound, mysterious quality. These “sacred moments” are often dreamlike and possess a non-linear sort of narrative, much like something that is forgotten and then reconstituted through the fog of memory. Recently, the intersection between nature and “ruins” has been my primary focus, utilizing fetishistic architecture as a conceit for human experiences

What materials do you work with? Describe your technical processes.

 I prefer to work with simple materials capable of being worked extensively. I gravitate towards copper, wood, and paper because of their immediate physicality and interchangeability. I need my materials to have enough ebb and flow to reflect transitory concepts. My intaglio plates are worked extensively; images are “built” from disparate, preliminary drawings using a variety of traditional and experimental methods. All of my images are constructed in a piecemeal fashion with a variety of media with many layers of erasures and additions. The ultimate goal being a unification of disharmonious elements with the language of representational space.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of being creative? What is the best part of being creative?

 I would say the biggest creative challenge is applying ingenuity to one’s core artistic ideas. All artists employ systems as a means to generate work, but the work can easily become stagnant when an artist becomes too reliant on their system. Ergo, the biggest challenge for me is knowing when and how to change my “system” while still cohesively building off of previous work. The best part of being creative is when this systemic change clicks perfectly, and opens up a doorway to new work. It is that moment where you look at your process in a new light, and realize exactly where you want to go next.

What advice would you give to someone seeking advice about being an artist?

The only advice I would give in regards to being an artist is this: never stop producing. You have to remain constantly, incessantly working. No matter how “good” or “bad” the work may seem at the time, the only way to bring about change is through diligence. Just as a musician is expected to practice regardless of when their next performance is, so too should artists be constantly making work- despite not knowing if that work will ever see the gallery’s wall.

Myles’ website

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