Luxe Vivant loves artists. Who doesn’t? While we’re painting-by-numbers, these arbiters of creativity are teleporting us to other places and times, keeping thousands of art industry-tied folks employed, and bringing a dash of joie de vivre to an angst-weary world.
When we first met Dorian Vallejo (pictured above), a fine art painter and portraitist from Easton, Pennsylvania who was in town recently to present his A Dream Within A Dream series at Sirona Fine Art, we were as charmed by his work (think sensuous beauties in various states of undulation) as we were by his Eric Bana good looks. Learning he was the son of legendary fantasy artist, Boris Vallejo, only added to his popularity points.
While his previous works have been steeped in traditional sensibility, Vallejo’s large-scale canvases – such as Awakening, Dreamer In-Between, and Sleeper – are brimming with symbolic, hypnagogic imagery. “They capture the moment when we’re confronted with what we genuinely want and the fear we face of making those dreams a reality,” he tells us.
Timothy Smith, Sirona Fine Art’s Gallery Director, weighs in on the artist’s contemporary creations: “These are just what he’s done in the last year-and-a-half and there are no weaknesses in the show. If it were an album of music, it would be his ‘Greatest Hits’.”
Luxe Vivant chatted with Dorian Vallejo who opened up on heroic symbolism, sleeping beauties, and father figures.
The inspiration behind your A Dream Within A Dream series: Linguistically, the word “dream” is open to interpretation, including our highest aspirations in life. The interesting thing for me is access to those aspirations which gives our lives meaning and purpose.
Life itself but I use models to actualize my vision then alter it to create a symbolic sense of beauty.
As a child, I drew with my father. When I grew older, I attended art school and simultaneously began accepting professional commissions for illustration work.
Your father, Boris Vallejo, is one of the greatest fantasy artists of all time. Describe the effect he’s had on you:
When my father came to America in his early-20′s, he knew no one and couldn’t speak the language. Armed only with an unshakeable belief in himself, he made everything happen with his talent. In my formative years, I was surrounded by his work and ideas. I interpreted these to mean that Life is something we can shape in an accordance with our values.
Who or what influences you:
So many artists today are producing such exciting work, it’s hard not to be inspired. Additionally, I enjoy reading about psychoanalysis, philosophy, and mythology. The ideas manifest in my drawings and paintings.
I always try to look ahead, not behind. Improvement is something I’m constantly striving for.
Describe a typical day:
First thing I do in the morning is read, draw in my sketch pad, and write. Then I go to the gym for an hour. After breakfast and business, I go to the studio to work. After dinner, I’ll work until it’s time for sleep.
T-shirts and pants. Whatever I’m wearing will get paint on it, so I don’t put anything on I have to worry about keeping clean.
Reaction you want people to have when viewing your work:
I genuinely don’t try to control the viewer’s experience. When I create, it’s with a particular aesthetic in mind. My work offers an optimistic and philosophical point of view, which I leave open to interpretation.
What you do for inspiration:
In addition to viewing other art, my morning routine of reading, writing, and drawing are for this exact purpose. Regular practice keeps the ideas and inspiration flowing naturally.
Advice to novices for buying art:
Buy what you like.
Best part about being an artist:
Intimately, it’s the ever present potential for personal and technical growth. Externally, it’s the times when your art genuinely touches someone else in a positive, life-affirming way.
Best advice you ever received:
“No matter how busy you get, always remember to make time for yourself.”
Worst advice you ever received:
“Get a real job.”
If you could paint anyone, who would it be:
If you weren’t a painter, what would you be:
Something creative that would contribute beauty to the world.
Books you’re reading:
Signature drink or cocktail:
Every morning, I make my own drink from various vegetables, fruits, ginger, nuts, and garlic.
Favorite travel destination:
Name one item on your Bucket List:
I’ve puzzled over how to answer this and have decided not to because it’s too personal.
Advice for young artists entering the art world:
Be genuine. No matter how much you love someone’s work, don’t copy it. Imitating another artist’s style and general aesthetic just to make money is not a good idea. It robs you of your own voice.
What’s next on your artistic agenda:
Again, this is a little personal. One has to maintain some mystery.
Dorian Vallejo’s A Dream Within A Dream series runs through March 27 at Sirona Fine Art. For more information, click HERE or call 954-454-9494. Sirona Fine Art is located at 600 Silks Run, #1240, in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
*Special thanks to Jim Lockhart of Inksters Tattoo whose invitation to meet Dorian Vallejo made this story possible.