Dan Lydersen is a painter who draws influence from a variety of contemporary and historical sources, from the Renaissance to modern cinema, literature, and popular culture. Both theatrical and satirical, comical and somber, the paintings pose a view of humanity that is steeped in the existential turmoil that lies between materiality and spirituality, where society trudges persistently forward into the future while the human search for meaning and purpose as mortal animals remains unresolved.
In this episode, Dan discusses:
-The influence that his mother and theater had on him as a creative person.
-His balance between tragedy and comedy that he has found in his paintings.
-The lack of authenticity that comes when you are doing things that you think other people want to see rather than what you want to make.
-The importance of not being too influenced by your teachers or predecessors.
-How you can use older styles to say something about newer ideas.
-The notion of using a two-dimensional rectangle to capture a moment in time.
-How spending a lot of time on something and then throwing it away is actually a good habit.
-His process of coming to an idea and then planning it out before starting the actual painting.
-Some of the moments of self-doubt that he deals with and how he gets through them.
-The advantage that we have in modern times to be able to create whatever we want without needing permission from anyone else.
-Why he doesn’t spend much time or energy on social media.
-The idea of FOMO (fear of missing out) and how it can sometimes overwhelm you into doing nothing at all.
-How a piece of his art randomly became a Japanese meme.
Dan's Final Push will inspire you to get to work first. The creativity will come.
“I’m a very silly person but a very serious person at the same time, so I don’t put a separation between tragedy and comedy. They’re one in the same.”
“I’ve gotten into a groove of being able to say what I want to say through visual art.”
“I think I was trying to make paintings that I thought the art world wanted to see or wanted an artist to make and not paintings that I really wanted to make. There was a lack of authenticity in them.”
“It’s dangerous to be too precious with your art and to think, I’ve invested all this time and energy to this; it must be carried through.”
“I wouldn’t say that ideas come to me. It’s more like I come to the ideas.”
“Ideas don’t just come to you like a light bulb turning on. You have to work at them.”
“I’m a pretty logical person and it’s kind of hard to attach logic to art because it doesn’t necessarily function logically.”
“It’s a big world. If you get your work out there, there’s going to be people who see the world in the same way you do and appreciate your art.”
“You tend to focus more on other people’s achievements than your own.”
“It’s a matter of numbers. You’re perceiving this unified body of other people doing all of these amazing things versus you, as one person, doing what you’re doing. And even if you’re doing something great, it will never amount to the sum of what everybody else is doing.”
“At this point I feel like me and my work are indistinguishable. If you take my art out of the equation, I don’t really know what’s left of me.”
“Creativity and art aren’t cause and effect, they’re more like a feedback loop. Creativity feeds the art and then the art feeds the creativity and it’s all one body.
“Just get working and the creativity will come.”
“It’s faulty reasoning to assume that you’re creative or inspired and then you make artwork. It’s more the reverse. You start making artwork and then that leads you to feel inspired or creative.”
The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories by Christopher Booker