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Bryan Dechter

My love and passion for making art began as a toddler. During adolescence I drew primarily portraits—from images I found in magazines, posters and so on—in pencil, charcoal and ball-point pen. My main influence early on was Rembrandt, and my drawings of that time reflect that dramatic light and earthy ambiance.

I began “serious” painting at age eleven, influenced by impressionists and my own grandfather’s plein air landscapes. In high school, my drawing became more exact and detailed—a kind of fantasy surrealism akin to Escher, Dali and Roger Dean. Toward the end of high school, while taking illustration and life drawing classes simultaneously, my drawing began to loosen up, and the gesture took on more importance. This primed me for my plunge into abstract expressionism and outdoor oil painting when I entered college. My new foci then were landscapes and abstracts, though I continued my life drawing too, and worked in other media such as charcoal, pastel, acrylic, brush and ink. I discovered monotypes, and I created a series of teapots inspired by the monotypes of my then-teacher Don Weygandt.

My focus later shifted to Africa, Asia and Native America. My landscapes became more colorful, full of pattern and design, especially after a trip to Guatemala in 1988. Around this time I also made a conscious choice to explore the unconscious—the dreamtime—exploring images often inspired by native masks and other imagery from aboriginal traditions.

These quite diverse interests have fed my art, in overlapping cycles. From plein air landscapes, to abstract expressionism, to portraiture, to fantasy illustration, to aboriginal art, I have tried to keep all options open, and approach each piece with all these visual dialects at my disposal, including—more recently—the digital realm, incorporating photography and digital illustration as part of my creative repertoire, sometimes in combination.

One common thread throughout all of my work is an attempt to combine earthiness and elegance, organic exploration and a respectful nod to classicism. I continue synthesizing and celebrating all these ways and means of expression in which I’ve reached some degree of fluency over the years.

All works by Bryan Dechter (23 pictures)

Images per page:  24 | 48 | 96