Dolan Geiman returns to the Park City Kimball Arts Festival
The Park City Kimball Arts Festival welcomes back multi-media sculptor and arts festival veteran Dolan Geiman who will be among the 225 artists who are in town this year.
Geiman, who has participated in the Arts Festival a few times said he is looking forward to his return to Historic Main Street.
“Since I started coming out there, I’ve had a really great response to the work,” Geiman said during a telephone interview from his studio in Colorado. “I would say this is the top of my summer shows. I feel like I’m prepared when I come out there, but I usually end up selling out. So, it’s a challenge for me to make enough work to bring, and that’s a good problem to have.”
Geiman specializes in utilizing found materials — reclaimed wood, salvaged metal, paper — to create textured three- and two-dimensional works that have an acute perception of nature and landscapes.
His training began at home with his mother, an artist, and father, an educator and firefighter with the National Forest Service.
“We lived in a cabin in the woods for a number of years, and I would always create things with my mother,” Geiman said. “I would also see things through her eyes, and everything around us — every animal, every tree — seemed to have a story to it, and she would tell me these stories.”
Adding to his imagination were other stories told by his father.
“He would work with some very interesting individuals through the Forest Service and would come back with firefighting folk tales after fighting fires in West Virginia, Arizona and New Mexico,” Geiman said.
As he began developing his own art, Geiman began thinking of the past lives of the materials he found.
“A lot of the pieces I make now, especially the characters in my larger portraits, have their separate lives and separate stories that I get to share through these materials,” he said.
Geiman’s inspirations bloom from different avenues.
“I often will come up with an idea or have a sort of a vision of what I want the piece to be,” he said. “I am one of these strange and classic artists who has a weird dream and writes it down when I wake up.
“Other times, I’ll come into contact with some materials while I’m exploring some old, abandoned house in the middle of California or an old barn in Texas somewhere,” he said. “When I do that, I’ll wrap those things together in my mind, and the stories and objects will come together and create a more cohesive thing.”
Geiman is known for having a notebook by his bed just in case he has one of his dreams.
“Sometimes I won’t have that notebook, but I will always have a Sharpie in my pocket or close by,” he said with a laugh. “There have been times when I’ll write something down on my arm in the middle of the night. My wife just asks that I don’t write anything on the sheets.”
Throughout the years, Geiman has come to terms with these creative dreams.
“As an artist, I work with visual elements, so, my toolbox is everything I see when I’m walking around,” he said. “All of this is going into my brain. It’s like putting together all of these ingredients into a giant bowl.
“So, when I’m sleeping and my eyes are closed, I am not taking in all of these things, those are the times when my brain starts developing some ideas,” he said. “It starts baking these ideas.”
Unlike some artists who struggle with their muse, Geiman, who has a running list of things he wants to create, struggles with something more immediate — time.
“Before I graduated and moved to Colorado, I was living in an abandoned warehouse in Virginia,” he said. “It was like this big open space where no one would bother me so I could just work.”
In retrospect, Geiman was trying to catch up to his ideas.
“It wasn’t like I was in a production mode,” he said. “It was like if I don’t get this thing out of my head, it’s going to contaminate the other [ideas] that are in there.”
So, the artist would work for days at a time and not eat or sleep.
“I would get frustrated because eating and sleeping would get in the way of me creating these things,” he said.
Geiman fell into a group of like-minded artists and they lived together and created together.
“One person would work 20 hours and another would wake up and tag in and work on another piece and after another 20 hours, someone else would tell the other person he needed to sleep,” he said with another laugh. “We did that for months. I didn’t know how I didn’t die, because I didn’t sleep very much at all.
“So, now, I can say this,” he said. “While many artists feel they have to go on a journey to find their muses, I was fortunate to constantly have all of these things in my head that I felt I needed to make.”
Still, Geiman said for him the most enjoyable aspect of making art isn’t the creative process.
“It’s when someone sees a piece that I’ve done and they want to have it,” he said. “It’s when I go out and meet people and share these pieces with them.”
The artist will be forever grateful to his family, friends and clients for supporting his career, and said he wished his counselors, teachers and other advisors would have done the same.
“They didn’t push me in the direction to be a professional artist,” he said. “It was overwhelmingly frustrating to have a career in your head and it’s all you think about, but someone says you can’t do that.”
So, he wants the younger artists to know that he can help.
“I want them to reach out to me — email me or call me — and I’ll try to help any way I can,” Geiman said. “They will get frustrated, but I encourage them to keep at it and keep going. I want them to know that they will be the only people who will decide what their future will be.”
Dolan Geiman is currently showing at the Park City Kimball Arts Festival that will run through Sunday, Aug. 14. For more information about the event, visit http://www.parkcitykimballartsfestival.org. For more information about Dolan Geiman or to contact him, visit dolangeiman.com.
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