Viewing the work of an art student can illustrate the development of ideas, almost as if we are given glimpses into the creative mind, watching in real time the active thinking that is at play. Damien Vines’ drawings here are sometimes, simple and linear, but also rough sketches of larger themes that the young artist may be only beginning to explore. His approach is very illustrative, with a fair dose of the fantastical present. His design for a skateboard might have appeared in magazines or a comic book, so clearly is that ancestry evoked, but what of the Bull? Exposed to the bone and dripping from slaughter, the beast carries a burden on his back; the weight of industrialized society. It’s a provocative image made all the more impactful by the subtle turn of the bovine head, which stares at the viewer with one, empty, blood-red eye socket. Does it go far to imagine the dripping red beneath might suggest tears?
“My work aims to make the viewer question the intent of subtle meaning and symbolism, I aim to make the work not one note but instead to create a conversation. I explore imagery and ideas that might be considered disturbing such as living with serious mental illness or the boundary between psychopathy and fictional characters.”
Despite his more serious intentions, Vines is clearly enjoying himself with lighter, irreverent collages such as this one that ‘paints’ one arm of Michelangelo’s David with candy color, covering the body like a post-Modern pauldron or vambrace - pieces of protective armor. The contrast in the approaches are may seem sharp, but it is clear evidence of the uncertain, restless mind that drives an artist to communicate.
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BFA candidate, Painting and Drawing, Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University, Louisville, Kentuck
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.