Dain Gore, artist in residence during the month of June 2018 at Main Street Arts, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Dain some questions about his work and studio practice:
Q: Tell us about your background.
I was born in Phoenix and live in Laveen, AZ. I have been there my whole life. I keep thinking what it would be like to move but in my travels I have yet to find a Goldilocks Zone for that (except maybe Japan). I have an MFA in painting (2009) and BFA in drawing (2000) from ASU. When I’m not making art for upcoming shows I like to perform puppetry at the Great Arizona Puppet Theater in the Puppet Slams.
Q: How long have you been making artwork?
I was just telling a friend that the only good days I really remember about grade school were when I could draw, especially when it was “rainy day schedule.” As a small kid, there really was nothing much else of significance for me than drawing and collecting action figures and video games. Socialization came much later in life.
Q: What was your experience like at art school?
I’ve also been talking about this a lot lately. My perspective now has been oddened, as peers are relating experiences that I simply did not have. For some reason I feel like I had some kind of plot armor, or that as I recall it, knew I could accept or reject anything tasked of me. This was best illustrated when a professor gave me a long list of corrections to my painting, followed by, “Or not…just keep painting!” This became a running joke at critiques but stuck from then on. This probably made the most sense of anything I ever learned in art school. Any kind of actual learning—not mimicking, not repeating–I think involves a moment where you simply have to do and stop thinking.
Q: Do you have a job other than making art?
I do! I am currently a faculty adjunct at South Mountain Community and Phoenix College. In addition, I have been substituting at Metro Arts, an arts-based high school in Phoenix. I’ve also been starting to do workshops based on some of my specific niche areas of interest in art, such at the Exquisite Corpse and painting board gaming miniatures. I also perform puppetry, as mentioned above, which often intervenes into my exhibitions.
Q: How would you describe your work?
My work is colorful, experimental, playful, image-ridden and fragile.
Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
My process very often involves turning on some music (I like art/prog rock) or Coast to Coast AM or an audiobook (currently trying to finish Snow Crash) to get started. I get out a piece of foam core and draw out a basic shape using a white China marker, paint directly onto the surface (sometimes with gesso or medium first).
Q: What are your goals for this residency?
My goals were initially to experiment further, but now I have a list of several things I would like to play with that may still involve my process.
Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I have so many too pick just one: James Ensor, Philip Guston, Martin Wong, Wayne White. There are so many great ones on Instagram now, too. I would have to say James Ensor overall, though, because his life echoes his art so closely in such a surreal way and feels like an echo of my life and art, too.
Q: What type of music do you listen to?
As mentioned, music can be crucial to getting me out of my own head and on to painting surfaces. I love DEVO, Blue Oyster Cult, Oingo Boingo, Idiot Flesh (and its numerous incarnations), Father John Misty, Of Montreal, Talking Heads, Neon Indian, Stereolab, Adam and the Ants, Al Stewart…
Q: Do you collect anything?
I “used to” collect action figures. I have a hopeless fascination with them, and it certainly has influenced my aesthetic choices and being a puppeteer. I also collect (and sometimes actually paint) the aforementioned miniatures.
Q: What’s next for you?
As soon as I get back to AZ I have to start working on a Puppet Slam piece for GenCon, two shows I will be featured in at Eric Fischl Gallery in September and Fine Arts Complex in October, in addition to the monthly AZ Puppet Slams!
Dain will be teaching two workshops during his residency at Main Street Arts. The first will take place on Saturday, June 16 from 12 to 3 pm and will focus on the Surrealist game of Exquisite Corpse—a spontaneous, group-collaborated creature where the only limit is your own imagination (see image above). Perfect for a group of friends! Sign up here.
The second workshop, taking place on Saturday, June 23 from 12 to 3 pm, will give participants to create puppet-like paintings that Dain calls “INGs”. Somewhere between two-dimensional paintings and sculptures, these objects represent an element of play as well as a thoughtful approach to the layered sensibility of painting (see images above). Sign up here.