WEB EXTRA: Jackson Pollock-inspired art and beaver chew sculptures

Web Extras

Meet Dave Lewellyn, local artist and Associate Professor of Visual Arts at Bismarck State College. He’s worked there for 13 years. Before that, he was a student there but received his Master’s Degree in 2017 through the Creative Pulse Grad program at the University of Montana.

For his final project, he chose to re-purpose products… for his home. The focus was on the frugality of products so he chose to live that way. Everything in his home is either up-cycled, recycled or re-purposed.

He built his kitchen cabinet doors using tin from his family farm. This piece happened to be a slate dated the same day as his birthday. It even has a story about his grandmother on it.

He uses his home as a studio cabin and creates things there using a lot of beaver chewed sticks. So he finds purpose in living near the product he uses to create his art pieces.

Dave says he tends to use items that don’t cost anything. He recycles other people’s artwork, gets most of his paint from the recycling center or people drop things off at his doorstep to use.

The front door panel window is made from glass bottles.

He says beavers never take a day off so driftwood is constantly available.

The cabin itself has taken about 6 years to put together piece by piece with items such as tin, wood, barn wood, stones, and bottles.

Besides the studio cabin project, Dave recently launched an art exhibit with his niece, Erica Thune, at Capital Gallery and all of his pieces were inspired by Jackson Pollock, an American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement in the 1900s.

Dave says he came to Bismarck back in 2000 and enrolled at BSC as a non-traditional student. He wanted to know more about visual art and was introduced to Jackson Pollock’s work.

This led him down a trail of discovery and ended up finding himself in the process.

At first he thought he’d be a landscape artist because he was unfamiliar with the culture of art. Through schooling, he began to realize the concept of abstract.

What he came up with was the question of “how do you know what something looks like if it doesn’t exist yet?”

This was the golden nugget that kept him going. Asking himself what will the next piece be? What will it be made out of? What’s it look like?

He said he is a busy person but his work balances him, looks like him… order and chaos.

Next week he will be in Medora, ND at the Capital Gallery West doing a week-long residency. He will be outside making things out of sticks and painting. It is free to attend.

Chaos & Control: an exhibition of selected works by David Lewellyn and Erica G. Thune will be up through July at The Capital Gallery located at 109 N 4th St in downtown Bismarck.

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