21 July 2017

Dana Ellyn

Another Dog Day Afternoon by Dana Ellyn
Dana Ellyn, whose art is widely known and collected throughout the animal rights and vegan communities, will be exhibiting her work alongside fellow DC-artist Matt Sesow at Artists & Makers Studios in Rockville, MD from Aug. 4 to Aug. 30. The opening reception is on Aug. 4 from 6pm-9pm.

1. What is your art about?
My art most often focuses on animal rights and veganism and pretty regularly strays to politics and current events. And for fun I throw in some more light hearted scenes of drinking and debauchery. I also have an ongoing historical series of work, started in October 2013. I am using the Cultural Tourism DC Neighborhood Heritage Trail guides to inspire paintings, creating a visual history of Washington’s most fascinating moments. (dc.danaellyn.com)

2. Within the framework of your own work, what is the purpose of art?
The purpose of my art is to make people think. I don’t expect to convert everyone to being a vegan (or vegetarian), but I know my art is affecting people. It's helping them to open their eyes to the plight of the animals and encouraging them to give more thought to the food they put on their plate. When I paint about politics, half my viewers probably disagree with the opinion I’m expressing.  But I believe that’s the beauty of art - to engage the viewer, not just placate them with pretty pictures.

3. How has your work changed over time, and what should we expect to see at Artists & Makers?
To go way back …. I was first attracted to the ‘pretty’ art of the Impressionists when I was in grade school and high school. My earliest art was purely realistic and proper, garnering good grades and praise for my technical skill. Once I started to study art history in college, I gained a great love for art that had stories to tell - whether historic-, allegorical- or religious-themed. But it took me a long time to inject what I’d learned into my own art. It wasn’t until about 10 years after I graduated from college, when I quit my corporate job to pursue art full time, that I truly started to explore and grow as a painter. Over the past 15 years of full time painting, my style has evolved from pure realism to be more expressive. My subject matter has run the gamut from religion to politics to what it means to be a woman. The past few years, I’ve turned my focus to be about veganism and animal rights, creatively posing the question, “why do we love some animals and eat others.”

30 July 2016

Translation: Victor Hugo's Yes, I am a dreamer …


Yes, I am a dreamer; I am the friend
of little golden flowers on a crumbling wall,
and the interlocutor of trees and the wind.
You see, all of them know me. I often have
conversations with the gillyflowers,
in May, when the branches are full with perfumes;
I receive advice from the ivy and the cornflower.
The mysterious being that you think is mute,
leans over me and comes to write with my quill. 
I hear what Rabelais heard; I see laughter
and crying; and I hear what Orpheus heard.
Do not be surprised at all about what nature
says to me in ineffable sighs. I chat 
with all the voices of the metempsychosis. 
Before beginning the sacred great concert,
the swallow, the bush, the white water in the meadow,
the forest, enormous bass, and the wing and the corolla, 
all of these soft instruments, talk to me; 
I am the regular of the divine orchestra;
If I were not a dreamer, I would have been a sylvan.
Thanks to the calm in which I reflect,
by speaking softly to the leaf, 
to the raindrop, to the striped feather, I ended up  
descending to such point in creation,
this abyss where a shy trembling quivers, 
that I do not even chase away a fly!
The blade of grass, vibrating with an eternal excitement,
becomes tame and familiar with me,
and without noticing that I am there, the roses
do all kinds of things with the bumblebees;
Sometimes, through the soft blessed branches,
I fully place my face over the nests,
and the little bird, worried and saintly mother,
is no more afraid of me than we are of fear,
us, if the eye of the good Lord looked into our niches; 
The prude lily watches me approach without fury,
when she opens at sunset; the violet, 
the most modest, bathes herself in front of me; 
For these beauties I am the discreet and sure friend
and the fresh butterfly, libertine of the sky,
who cheerfully rumples a half-naked flower,
continues, if I come and pass in the shadows, 
and, if the flower wants to hide in the lawn, 
she tells her: “You are silly! He is one of us.”