Award-winning artist discusses art and classic literature

Award-winning artist and MSUM alumnus TL Solien gave art students insight into his newest project on Thursday, as the first speaker in this year’s colloquium series. This project, a series of mixed media images based on Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick,” opened at the Plain’s Art Museum in Fargo on Saturday.

Solien obtained the idea for his classic literature inspired work after reading “Moby Dick” for the first time, having been afraid to read it for the majority of his life. He claimed that people feel bad about not reading what is considered globally classical literature, so he finally confronted it. When he did, he was enamored with the novel.

“It was a transformable experience,” Solien said.

Solien’s love of the literature inspired him to shy away from autobiographical work, which had become a norm for him. He began work on exploring images and themes from Melville’s novel.

While his project is directly based on the novel, “Moby Dick,” Solien shared with students his plethora of other inspirations for his series, from motorcycles and antique baby carriages, to his own mother’s artwork. His love of illustrations from the 1920s, as well as his interest in historical artworks were also inspirations he shared with students. Solien discussed the use of these inspirations to “find the state of mind of the characters and the time period and settings.”

Solien also discussed with students the variety of media that can be seen in his series including paintings, drawings, collages and sculpture.

Solien’s exhibition titled “Toward the Setting Sun,” will be displayed at the Plain’s Art Museum until Jan. 12, 2014.


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