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dreamsenses: the art of bryan!
A conversation with the artist

"Forms take reality for me as I work. In other words, rather than setting out to paint something, I begin painting and as I paint the picture begins to assert itself, or suggest itself under my brush. The form becomes a sign for a woman or a bird as I work."   -Joan Miro, 1947

Q: When did you start the dreamsenses work?
A: "While in the Marine Corps in 1980, I painted a picture of clouds. For some odd reason I created the image of a red pyramid emerging from the clouds. I sense this was the beginning of it...the birth of dreamsenses. In 1986, during a Christmas party, I inserted five pyramids into a painting of Jupiter...the pyramids were hovering above a circle of stone figures - and this was the official beginning of the dreamscape series. Throughout the dreamscape period of my paintings (over 50 paintings, drawings, and even a sketch on a sheet rock wall) included five pyramids. I came to realize the pyramids symbolize the five senses of oneself, thus they are a representation of me, or that of the audience...those who look at the painting become part of it, and it part of them."

Q: What does dreamsenses mean to you?
A: "Sensing my inner-self, sensing my dreams, sensing not the conscious but the subconscious."

"To dream with my senses, and sense with my dreams."

Q: What does your art require of the viewer?
A: "It elicits the viewer to use imagination. It's not so much what the audience takes away from the art, it's what they create in their own mind at the time they expereince the piece. All paintings are performance art...they cause your mind to stir in ways it's not normally stirred."

"The paintings are created in a similar way. They begin with one color, or monochromatic, and applied on the canvas with spontaneous brushstrokes. Within the brushstrokes are forms; land forms, rock forms, animal forms, human forms…whatever comes out. This is when creative interaction begins with the image. I challenge myself to follow the elements of art in terms of composition, color, and movement. I give the painting permission to paint itself. I feel my hands and eyes are simply tools - the images come from the inside…from my imagination...from my cognition of being human."

"To connect with the painting, you can not simply look at it as an external thing. The landscapes are not familiar - they do not contain conventional icons of culture or familiar representations of nature. Your mind struggles to recognize those things, but your spirit feels the emotion. So how does one paint spirit?"

Q: More specifically, what do you think they represent about your inner self?
A: "They are a meditation. When I paint, I can definitely sense my center. I look at my art as a continuum, a timeline of my life. The images record who I have been, where my soul was during a particular point in my experience of being human, and how I arrived at where I am today. That's why many of them do not have the date; they only have my age. They are an expression of stages...or moments in time."

Q: What would you like the audience to take away after viewing your paintings?
A: "I hope they see the images are the true expressions of another human being. They are not candy-coated for their approval, but a reflection of who I am inside. I struggled with representational art in my early work. Not that I couldn't draw, it was what I drew wasn't who I was. I made the shift from representational art to spontaneous spirit art, and it was impossible to go back."

Interview conducted August 13, 2000 by Kathy Gannon

About the Artist
Bryan Butcher graduated from Drake University in 1988 with a Bachelor's Degree in Art Education. He is serving his fifth term as president of The Des Moines Astronomical Society and currently teaches art at North High School in his hometown of Des Moines, Iowa.

©2000, Dreamsenses Virtual Galleries, Des Moines, Iowa. All rights reserved.


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