Dutch [Interview]




MHM: When you sit down to make a painting, how do you start?

DUTCH: When I start, I just start going right into it. At most I’ll have a rough idea of what I want to create, sometimes there will be a doodle I did in my journal I really enjoyed and want to expand on, but most everything I do is made right off the cuff. I have an overarching philosophy I like to express in all my work, whether it’s expressed through my style or literally.

MHM: What do the terms “low brow” and “fine art” mean to you? In what ways are you challenging this?

DUTCH: I feel like they’re bullshit terms that the “Fine Art World” uses to create a sense of elitism based on how the work is consumed and who consumes it. There really isn’t a need for them. I really try to incorporate what the Art World views as low brow in my work with what they consider high brow, modern Cartoonism and Abstract Expressionism, at least in my two-dimensional work. Other artists have done this in the past, but I feel this still needs to be pushed.


MHM: When you say “noise void” what does this mean? What can exist in this space?

DUTCH: The “noise void” is really just a reflection of the all-encompassing infinite expanse of organized chaos that we exist in. I just find this very abstract space to be easier to understand how crazy our universe is we’re just use to it, we don’t question it enough.

MHM: Do you see yourself in your Ghost and Stan characters? Are they projective or subjective at all?

DUTCH: Oh yes they are most definitely projections of my consciousness. They’re the parts of my mind that’s keeping my shit together and helping me avoid spiraling into depressive rabbit holes of thought.

MHM: Why do you choose narrative as a vehicle for exploring abstraction?

I feel like the meaning behind the work is easily digestible that way. I’ve seen so many cartoons that drive existential pondering far more efficiently than fine art pieces, at least for me, so I like to use the narrative platform to hopefully achieve that effect once the series is finished.

MHM: Can you tell us a story that is important to you? It can either be directly related to a particular painting or more broadly related to your life.

DUTCH: I was driving down this suburban road one day, nice weather, windows down, not a care in the world. As I was passing by, this man doing some weed whacking at least 50 feet from me and I was going about 40 mph, a rock flung from his weed whacker and hit me in the side of the head. I had already been deep in thought about how chaotic everything is and as soon as the rock hit me I thought to myself, “Wow. Case in point.” Fairly plain story, but it’s a perfect example that even in what seems to be the mundane, there are all these little weird things that are always happening even in the most boring of things you just have pay attention to.

MHM: Do you get lost when you paint?

DUTCH: I definitely get that same feeling of being “everything” and “nothing” when I’m creating. As Otto Rank would probably put it, the individual is tapping into the collective consciousness when they are creating a work of art. Maybe that feeling is due to us tapping into the collective consciousness. The dissolution of the ego, or maybe the opposite, doesn’t really matter either way.

MHM: How do know when a work of art is done?

DUTCH: Just when I feel like it looks good. Full and interesting composition, movement that keeps the eyes of the viewer exploring the whole piece, message conveyed, all the things artists typically look for in a piece.


MHM: Where does your formal inspiration come from? In some of your works, you use patterns of simple shapes like triangles and waves, or heavy, bold lines. In others, colors melt together in chaotic movement. What visual influences do you find yourself tapping into?

DUTCH: The more geometric design is heavily influenced from cartoons from the 90’s and early 2000’s and NYC graffiti from the 80’s -- bold, colorful, and full of flow. All my biggest influences aren’t based out of Fine Art. The dirtier, more chaotic work is probably more heavily influenced from music, mostly noise and jazz. John Zorn’s Naked City is a good example of the sounds I want my expressionist work to look like.

MHM: There are many forms of creativity out there that we can use as an outlet. Why have you gravitated towards painting and mixed-media over sculpture, photography, video, ect?  

DUTCH: I actually want to start shifting over to more sculpture and performance art from mixed media drawing after this series is finished because there are more daunting emotions that I feel are more easily expressed through those forms. Still absolutely love drawing though, I’ve got some fun big plans coming up involving my drawings another artist and I are gonna collaborate on, not gonna say any details about it yet but it’s gonna be a huge project.

MHM: You also work with installation and found-object assemblage, like the growing interactive installation you set up recently at Rogana Rocks Arts and Music Festival. What is your philosophy when approaching this type of project?

DUTCH: (Insert laughter here) That one at Rogana Rocks was more so for shits and giggles and I just did that off the cuff. My other sculpture and installation work has a pretty similar process to my 2D work, mostly improvised but a general idea of what I want to express beforehand.

MHM: Do you have any favorite books that inspire your work?

DUTCH: Hmmmmmm. Nothing that directly inspires my work, though there’s definitely some philosophy books that inspired how I think, which I guess therefore affects what I create. So, in essence, everything I’ve ever read--but that’s a pretentious cop-out, so I’m gonna say Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and Plato’s Allegory of the Cave are two big players for me.

MHM: How does your music practice lend itself to your visual art?

DUTCH: They’re one in the same to me. I’m just trying to get people to question things.

MHM: Do you feel that instrumentation and color/media are integral to your relationship with the creative space?

DUTCH: Not quite sure what you mean by this question but if you’re asking if they’re necessary to my life and drive to create, then yes and no. I would make work no matter what but those are how I feel I best express myself.


Mineral House