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.”

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