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Artists of La Crosse: Dayne Stevens

Artists of La Crosse, WI: This is a series dedicated to local artists of the La Crosse area.

The purpose of this project is to bring awareness to the art community, what artists stand for, their purpose, their mediums, about the artist them-self and most importantly to connect everyone to one another. For my project, I will be creating a piece dedicated to the artist and their art. It is a piece that integrates the two together; The process of this involves me taking a portrait of the artist and then creating a double exposure of the artist with their art

In conclusion ~ Make art of the artist and their art

It's like art to the third power or art inception!

This is a fun and interactive way for other artists to meet one another or learn about eachother. I will be sharing a new artist weekly so please make sure to check back in to see the new featured artist.

as always~ Enjoy!


Today's Feature

Artist name: Dayne Stevens

Medium(s): Marker and Colored Pencil

Instagram: daynestevens_art


When did you notice that you had a love for art?

Probably around 5-7 years old. I spent a ton of time around my Uncle who is also an artist. I always got art related gifts growing up.

Are you originally from La Crosse? If not, where are you from and how long have you lived here?

Basically, grew up in Holmen, which is just outside of La Crosse. I moved into downtown La Crosse around a year after finishing college at Western.

Growing up what were your major influences as an artist? Other artists, Life events?

My uncle, Salvador Dali, Tim Burton, John R. Dilworth. Those would be people, events, I'd say a friend passing away unexpectedly who was really into art, we had both been voted most artistic in high school. I'd also say the end of my longest relationship (nearly 7 years) which was with a woman nearly opposite of me. Lastly, coming out as gender queer and bisexual and through that and embracing it more, undoing a lot of what was taught to me while growing up about "Being a man".

What message do you want to share about your art?

It's ok to feel, in fact I think we should embrace every emotion we experience and process it and express it in some way that's healthy. It helps create a better understanding of ourselves as well as helps improve communication I believe. Also that it doesn't matter how different you are, or confused, everything will be ok eventually.

What do you stand for as an artist?

Passion, inclusion, empathy, growth and healing.

What is your process or headspace you get into while creating new pieces?

Honestly I just spot faces I think are interesting, and loosely draw based off those, outside of that, my process feels automatic.

My headspace, clear, I don't tend to think much when I do anything creative, comedy, writing, art, I sort of black out until it's done and I don't think about any of what it could mean or want it to mean until after it's done. I assign the meaning after, so that I'm not fixated on conveying a very specific feeling that I may not be able to express myself at the moment. I see whatever words I wrote last, or colors and shapes I put down last, glance at my stack of markers and just feel what's next.

I tend to play a wide array of my favorite kinds of music through noise canceling headphones when I'm working at home. If I'm not at home, then I'm in a cafe with other artist friends, sometimes pausing from roughly sketching out a cafe goer's face to chat about something meaningful.

What does the piece you chose for this project mean to you? Why did you choose this one vs other pieces you have created?

This piece to me, is about feeling a pull towards someone while not fully understanding why and refusing to act on that attraction. Accepting that developing a meaningful friendship would be a better choice even if that can be a confusion inducing situation, and welcoming the inspiration and energy that person can bring as a friend. It is also about the joy and confusion brought by a suddenly rapidly expanding circle of friends who accept me and supports me after years of not having such an amazing support system.

The following are the reasons I picked this piece:

They're the first portrait I have done that does not have their eyes going in different directions, they're not as confused as the rest, I'm not as confused as I used to be about what I want and deserve out of life.

They're one of 2 where the tear is that of joy rather than the sadness in the first handful of portraits in this style I had done. I'm in the happiest time period of my life so far, and I think there's no turning back, there might be valleys but they certainly won't be so dark with such warm individuals surrounding me now.

The vines and flowers in the background are also something that's different, normally I have solid colors and geometric shapes, the background is normally really just that, a backdrop for the portrait.

I'm free to be myself now, express myself, and grow and it's like watching a sprout push through the soil,.especially when those around me are acknowledging growth they haven't fully witnessed.

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