Depicting artists and artisans
This story was featured in the May 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art May 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art May 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
ON A CLEAR, sunny day last fall, Jacob Dhein joined friends on a painting trip to the San Francisco Bay, just northeast of the Golden Gate Bridge. As Dhein scanned the coastline, one of the artists who had accompanied him caught his eye, and the painting SASHA was born. “She was dressed in yellow tights and shorts,” Dhein says. “When I look at a subject, I am always looking for something unique like that to inspire me.”
For Dhein this inspiration often means something he wouldn’t have seen in Wisconsin, where he lived his whole life until he moved to the Bay Area two years ago to work on his master of fine arts degree in painting at the Academy of Art University. The move meant dramatic change for his career. And it’s like he’s a child again, he says, because everywhere he turns there is something new and beautiful to view, from the city’s trolleys to its foggy seascapes.
As this story was going to press the painting SASHA had just been selected for the prestigious Salon International show at Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art—a show Dhein was also juried into last year. Also in 2012, Dhein’s painting depicting a cobbler at work was juried into Oil Painters of America’s Western Regional Exhibition held at Denver’s Gallery 1261.
SASHA and the portrait of the cobbler are part of an ongoing series that the artist has been focused on for the past six months. The series captures artists and artisans at work, including a sculptor, a pattern maker from the steel and iron industry, and a foundry worker. The next one up, he says, is a barber in a traditional barbershop setting. But as usual, it can’t be just any barber—it needs to be one who possesses a unique quality that Dhein finds inspiring.
As for future goals, Dhein says, “My biggest goal in life is to be able to create a masterpiece. People would stop in front of it and say, ‘Wow. That is really beautiful.’” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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