As a child, Donald Dahlke loved to create his own
worlds on paper. Today he's still creating his own worlds and happily
for us, they are worlds we love. Donald Dahlke is an oil painter
with two distinct styles. First, there's his naive style that depicts
the spirit of the West Indians. These paintings show fantasies such
as steel drum musicians floating over a turquoise sea. Then, there
are Donald Dahlke's idyllic scenes that capture the, warmth, serenity
and mystery of the Caribbean. They are surreal views of doorways
and windows you might see anywhere in the Caribbean but they are
in truth, our own fantasies of the "perfect peaceful place."
I first discovered Donald Dahlke through his painting, We Be Poppin! that was featured in the "Year 2000 Caribbean
Art Calendar" In this painting market women, pulled up by their
parasols, float into a summer sky. The painting, he says was inspired
by the movie, Mary Poppins. "But," he adds, " I used the West Indian
image to portray the whimsical feeling of life in the Caribbean.
The people here have a more relaxed, carefree attitude toward life
than people in the States or in Europe." This feeling is also captured
in his painting, "Jump Up and Sway" in which West India musicians
are lifted into the air by the sheer power of their music.
An art graduate of the College of the Cayman Islands
and the University of Oregon, Donald Dahlke considers all his paintings
"pure" in that they come from no pre-conceived intent, but are made
fresh at the moment of creation.
I am often surprised by what I create because
I'm always looking for new ways to interpret the subjects. Sometimes
an accident will turn into a new way of doing something. For example
you know oil and water don't mix but I like to mix an oil base medium
with a water-based one and what I get are swirls of colors that
don't mix. This produces a whole new look.
Living in the Caribbean, Donald Dahlke has created
his own symbols for what he believes is important to Caribbean culture.
Carnival for example... and fish.
In the Caribbean, fish is an important part
of the culture. Fish creates food and jobs. To depict this importance,
I created a painting in which a West Indian man is on the back of
a brightly colored fish, riding it like a bucking bronco in the
sky. In the foreground stand women looking on as the man attempts
to tame the fish. "I call this painting West Indies because I think
it sums up the preoccupation here...
Donald Dahlke is a busy man. Not only does he paint,
but he creates all his own posters and prints. And then of course
he saves a bit of time to dream up inventions such as a vending
machine that would dispense photocopies of art. The
concept is the same as a newspaper vending machine. It would sit
on a sidewalk corner next to the newspapers and when you get your
daily news, you could also get your daily art.
you can view and purchase the art of Donald Dahlke:
Mango Tango Gallery,
United States Virgin Islands.
(original paintings, prints and posters)
Maria Henle Studio,
United States Virgin Islands.
(email@example.com) (original work only)
J. Proctor Gallery,
website: (www.artnet.comm) go to J.Proctor Gallery (paintings and
website: (www.pearl-publishing.com) (prints only)
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