Tim Dangaran shares his passion for black and white paintings and illustrations with Habiba Insaf.
A black and white striped Zebra anthropomorphically gazes at his hind side, peering straight into one’s eye. The carefully rendered folds of the velvet skin evoke a delicate emotion. The wilderness around the Zebra’s stance creates a strangely haunting picture. The abstinence from colour creates an even stronger impact.
This is highly accomplished work . Zebra by Tim Dangaran, an illustrator from San Francisco. Tim is widely known for his detailed white and black graphite drawings. Besides graphite drawings, he also works with ink, watercolours, acrylics and oils creating stunning portrait work, wildlife sketches and vintage automobiles. Through careful observation of the shape, form ,texture, surface, mood and composition Tim creates a deep psychological portraiture that weaves a narrative. An African elephant with a broken tusk, and his trunk raised is an elegant insignia. The raised trunk is an important survival tool- to sniff the wind in order to locate any impending danger. A young girl squats with her frock tucked under her legs, her hands resting on her knees. Her downcast look reflects the curiosity that must have guided the examination of the marine organism.
Tim’s art is realistic. It employs a clever set of contrasting textures and moods that heighten the visual element of the drawings. Ruffled feathers are contrasted with jagged, sharp lines while dark, foreboding shadows are juxtaposed with soft lights. The gigantic magnificence of the elephant juxtaposed with the nimble deer in the foreground. In “Florence” , the celebratory mood is deflated by the bride’s dismal expression and a stony gaze.
Emaho magazine caught up with the artist to know more about his art. Here’s an exclusive interview with Tim Dangaran.
Could you tell us about your work and what inspires you to paint in black and white ?
There is something to be said about a successful image devoid of colour. Attention to tonal value is more prevalent because you don’t have colour to create contrast, separation,
How would you enlist your developments as an artist from the time you started until now?
Over the past few years, I have made a conscious effort in three areas. With regards to the process or the technique, the separation of the surface material and texture of each object represented in the image as well as the mood, atmosphere and depth within the picture plane is what I have strived towards. Probably the most important and most difficult is to convey some kind of intangible emotion, some sense of “Life” within the art.
Born in San Francisco, you also studied there, but your teen age years were spent in Nevada. How has this dual experience of urban and country life influenced your work?
Going from the paved city streets of San Francisco to the dirt country roads of rural Nevada was a bit of a culture shock for me as an adolescent. However, I acquired a new understanding of the subculture in our society through the experience. Also, I had a fewer distractions and more time on my hands so I began to spend a lot more time drawing-drawing objects around me, copying photos and the work of other artists with a pencil. I never thought about the impact that my art might have on the spectators and I drew because I enjoyed the process of covering a broad range of subject matter in my art. I especially developed an appreciation for wildlife and the vast countryside around me .
Animals both mythological and real like bison, horses, deer have been rendered by early cave painters and medieval painters alike for symbolic, ethnographic and didactic reasons. So what’s new about the animals that you paint?
On some level I will choose the subject for all of the above reasons. There is something majestic and magical about all life forms. I think we take that for granted in our day to day lives. I strive to push my bounds technically , to project more life through the illusion. If someone can take a moment and reconnect to that when they look at one of my works, then I think I have created a successful piece.
Your art is realist/natural with distnct photographic qualities and detailed craftsmanship.
Rather than residing in a specific time and locus, it has a universal appeal. Yet, at the same time it seems rather divorced from contemporary politics and realities.
I want to reach as many people as I can through my art and hence universal appeal sounds good to me. As I continue to push my bounds technically, my process, which is very methodical becomes more intuitive and reflects grater execution of the qualities I try to convey. Contemporary politics and realities aren’t my top priority with regard to my work at this point. Also, without careful consideration this could easily dissolve the universal appeal and any bit of timelessness. This isn’t to say that I don’t have an opinion and that I won’t address these issues in the future. The lack of these themes is a conscious omission for the time being.
Have personal memories or lived experiences inspired your art?
These days I photograph my own reference whenever possible , capturing an inspiring moment which I might later use. These images are effortless and have more reality to them. Other times I will find inspiration from something and shoot reference with a specific composition or concept in mind. This can be a challenge but if done well reveals an end result that attempts to pass as true, something that could exist but really doesn’t. When I’m lucky the end result looks better then I first imagined it.
Native Americans, cowboys, self absorbed women, punk girls, guitarist, and brides all find representation in your work. Why have you not attempted a self portrait yet?
My intention when doing a portrait is to be as authentic as possible regarding any given subject. The little details are a means of telling a convincing story, so textures, surfaces, shapes, and patterns, anything uniquely relevant to the subject are characteristics that I consider in my work. I think it could be time for a self portrait one of these days which could really be six months from now with other projects having greater priority.
In the age of minimalism and abstraction, your art is so detailed and meticulous. It is more tactile and less conceptual.
I like both minimalist and abstract art and I am drawn to both probably because it is very different from my work. I know there are people out there who enjoy my work and that’s what I focus on for my inspiration and those are the critics whose opinions matter to me.
“Zebra “was selected for a national juried show, Scottsdale salon of fine art. “White Lace” was featured in the artist portfolio magazine, issue 6.In 2011; you had a group show in 111 Minna gallery, San Francisco. How accomplished do you feel as an artist?
It’s hard to rate my sense of accomplishment as an artist. I’m grateful for the achievements I have accomplished and experiences I have had thus far. I try to learn from my mistakes. Constructive criticism is often as important if not more so then compliments. “Thats great, you did an amazing job…” is always great to hear but doesn’t give insight on how I might improve. I hope to project my art further through various outlets and venues and submit future work for shows and publication. My most recent piece titled “Athos”, won the second place award as part of the “Local Views”, juried exhibition at Livermore’s Bankhead Theater. Personally my aspirations and expectations are up there and I look forward to the future with a will to learn, grow and advance and feel more accomplished with each piece I complete.
Portraits, automobiles, wildlife. What next?
Portraits, automobiles and wildlife are how I loosely categorized my work. Over the next six months I intend to create a collection of work that more accurately represents my current ability and experiences within the genre of wildlife, animals, and nature themed art. I also intend to start working with colour, which has been overshadowed for years by my working predominantly with graphite.
What is the effect you wish to have over your viewers now?
My intention is to create an image that will capture one’s attention from across the room, draw the viewer in, and as they close in on the distance, they start to realize that there is more to see, until their nose is within inches from the drawing. I love watching people experience this evolution as they view my art for the first time.
Written and interviewed by: Habiba Insaf
Artwork by: Tim Dangaran
For more and more interesting updates, follow us at our twitter handle- Emaho Magazine on Twitter