I experience birds as a vehicle of deliverance, transformation and awe. They live in the sky between the cosmos and earth and connect me to a deeper experience. Wild nature offers us a road to salvation as a way of seeing beyond ourselves to a kind of clarity and offers us hope. I paint portraits of birds and other wild beings on road signs as warnings to STOP and ask ourselves what is sacred and what is disappearing before our very eyes. The desert lends a kind of madness that takes over and goes against reason or maybe even gives you a better reason, a kind of clarity to see in the sky down on the ground a certain silent connection between everything and what it has to tell you. It gives perspective and a long view to the distant wilderness of possibility and feeling on the fragile edge.
I feel triple-lucky blessed! Born in Cuba, I now live in Ojai, CA with my great family and friends and I do what I love everyday. In 1994, I made a "now or never" decision to leave my job of sixteen years as a bilingual teacher to focus on my artwork full-time. Now I make or paint something everday.
For me, the process begins with the thrilling hunt for junk which I use for my materials. I order paints through the mail and the world provides the rest! I am surrounded by a wealth of creative resources that many others might consider trash. Thrift stores, garage sales and dumpsters are my never ending suppliers, as well as my community in Ojai, where half the population saves its bottle caps for me! Finding my materials is almost as much fun as creating my pieces. Often the object I find is what inspires and starts the creative process.
I didn't attend art school. I just take a lot in and express what comes. So may different artists inspire me like Kahlo, Keinholz and Cornell. There are so many others to mention. Those three just sound like a wacky lawfirm! I am also inspired by the colorful folk traditions of Mexico, India, Africa and South America, but especially from Cuba where I spent my childhood years. I have great memories of the flavor of life there and these have no doubt (along with the influence of my very creative grandfather), shaped and spiced my work. I look forward to returning there someday. .
Friendly lunacy and logic do an odd kind of dance in the assemblage art of Dan Levin. In his approach to the medium this artist understands that logic, even of a twisted variety, can prevent the appearance of randomness in work that’s all about discarded objects. Despite wild-eyed humor and hints of chaos, Levin’s art has a surprising cohesiveness of design through a series of variations on a particular theme. While his art may startle and amuse the observer, there is a method of the artist’s careful devising.
Dan Levin was born in Los Angeles in 1962, raised near New York City and returned to California where he earned a degree in graphic design and fine art in 1984. He has exhibited in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Australia and France, with work in collections from New York City to New Zealand.
Having spent four years living in Australia and Europe, the artist now resides in Santa Barbara, exploring nature and fabricating assemblages.
More of Levin’s work can be viewed at www.danlevin.com.
Cal-Arts, Parsons, Pratt Institute, Ecole Des Beaux Arts, The Sorbonne, Royal College of Arts........all art schools I never went to. Instead, art just happened and I just did it. Mom said to just do what makes me happy. So I have explored the artist's lifestyle, done my art when inspired and have been underemployed much to my enjoyment.