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100 Creatives 2012: Kent Dorn, Drawer, Painter, Artist

Kent Dorn's mixed media on canvas painting "Dead End (Water's Edge)."
Kent Dorn's mixed media on canvas painting "Dead End (Water's Edge)."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally from South Carolina, Kent Dorn has called Houston home since coming here for the University of Houston's MFA program in 2001. Beginning with his thesis show, Dorn's paintings and drawings have gained national recognition for both their unique narrative qualities and their distinctly gritty and dense surfaces. When he is not working away in the studio, he is either working behind the scenes at the Menil's exhibition department or happily lying low in Oak Forest.

His recent paintings and layered drawings have occupied a space in which seekers, failed mystics and drifters wander a fictional terrain in search of a revelatory experience. The New York Times described the scenes as "a mental landscape of loss and repressed grief where the promises of yesteryear hang in the air like fading echoes." Dorn admits his work is equally inspired by 1970s horror films, hippie subculture and survivalist tales, but in his hands even the dystopian environments he creates seem inhabitable.

What He Does: Dorn explains, "Recently, I've been working on large drawings, each composed by piecing together hundreds of smaller graphite drawings on tracing paper. They depict fictional terrains and scenarios inspired by books like Into the Wild, The Road and Endurance, as well as the hippie counterculture and early American landscape painting." He adds, "I also make paintings, like to play frisbee with my dog and have a day job at a museum."

What Inspires Him: Dorn tersely says, "Materials. Music. Movies."

Kent Dorn
Kent Dorn
Courtesy of the artist.

If Not This, Then What: He affirms, "I've asked myself this question more times than you can imagine and I always come to the same answer -- bored."

If Not Here, Then Where: Dorn's eyes are not wondering the horizon one bit. He asserts, "I'm not moving anytime soon."

Why He Likes It: He himself is a little baffled by his career choice, stating, "I'm not sure that I do [like it]." He elaborates, "It's more of a compulsion than a love affair."

What's Next: He has a busy and full schedule for the rest of this year and the beginning of 2013. Dorn explains, "I was recently in a group show titled Double Dirty Dozen at Freight + Volume in New York, and I'll also be in group shows in Detroit and Copenhagen around the end of the year." He also says, "Several publications will feature my work in the coming months, including New American Paintings and Gulf Coast Literary and Fine Arts Journal, which is running a phenomenal five-page spread of my work with an essay by John Beer of Art-Rated.com." Looking into 2013, he states, "Finally, I'll be included in The Return of the Subject: Contemporary Figurative Painting, a book that's being compiled by the folks at Elephant Magazine and published by Laurence King Publishing in Spring 2013."

More Creatives for 2012 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Lillian Warren, painter Carl Lindahl, folklorist, UH professor Sutapa Ghosh, film producer and Indian Film Festival of Houston organizer Tom Stell, actor, writer, director Gregory Oaks, teacher and Poison Pen co-founder Oliver Halkowich, dancer and performer Lupe Mendez, poet and poem pusher Jason Nodler, artistic director, playwright, director Ana Treviño-Godfrey, musician Matthew Detrick, classical musician Travis Ammons, filmmaker Florence Garvey, actress Julia Gabriel, artist, designer and backpack maker Rebecca French, choreographer and FrenetiCore co-founder Kiki Neumann, found object folk artist Flynn Prejean, Poster Artist JoDee Engle, dancer David Rainey, actor, artistic director and teacher Geoff Hippenstiel, painter, art instructor Jessica Janes, actress and musician Dennis Draper, actor and director Mat Johnson, novelist and tweeter Orna Feinstein, printmaker and installation artist Adriana Soto, jewelry designer Domokos Benczédi, Noise and Collage Artist Robert Boswell, Book Author, UH Prof Patrick Turk, visual artist Elizabeth Keel, playwright Bob Martin, designer Mary Lampe, short film promoter and developer Nisha Gosar, Indian classical dancer Jeremy Wells, painter George Brock, theater teacher Radu Runcanu, painter Ariane Roesch, Mixed-Media Sandie Zilker, art jewelry maker Philip Hayes, actor Patrick Palmer, painter Ana Mae Holmes, Jewelry Designer John Tyson, actor Jerry Ochoa, violinist and filmmaker Raul Gonzalez, painter, sculptor, photographer Roy Williams, DJ of medieval music Laura Burlton, photographer David Peck, fashion designer Rebecca Udden, theater director Donae Cangelosi Chramosta, vintage designer handbag dealer Paul Fredric, author John Sparagana, photographer Damon Smith, musician and visual artist Geoff Winningham, photographer Johnathon Michael Espinoza, visual artist Jaemi Blair Loeb, conductor Katya Horner, photographer Johnathan Felton, artist Nicoletta Maranos, cosplayer Carol Simmons, hair stylist Joseph "JoeP" Palmore, actor, poet Greg Carter, director Kenn McLaughlin, theater director Justin Whitney, musician Antone Pham, tattoo artist Susie Silbert, crafts Lauralee Capelo, hair designer Marisol Monasterio, flamenco dancer Carmina Bell, promoter and DJ ReShonda Tate Billingsley, writer Kiki Lucas, choreographer and director J.J. Johnston, theater director Mary Margaret Hansen, artist Richard Tallent, photographer Viswa Subbaraman, opera director Emily Sloan, sculptor and performance artist Sonja Roesch, gallery owner Enrique Carreón-Robledo, conductor Sandy Ewen, musician Camella Clements, puppeteer Wade Wilson, gallery owner Magid Salmi, photographer Carl Williams, playwright


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