Featured Artist Q & A:
Dwight (Terry) Head
A Sacramento native, surrealist artist Dwight Head works to expose the dark side of indulgence and pleasure. Though seemingly simplistic and saccharine, Dwight’s layered ink, watercolor, and color pencil artworks are seductive and tap into primal human desires.
Take a bite into his devilishly colorful world with our February Featured Artist below:
1. Describe yourself in three words or less.
Spontaneous. Funny. Quirky.
2. Before settling down in Sacramento, you travelled quite a bit through Europe and even lived in Hawaii. How have your global adventures influenced you as a person? As an artist?
When I was traveling though Paris, I was constantly inspired and excited by the architecture, the museum and galleries — and the wine! So much so that I didn’t want to leave! I lived in Hawaii for six years, but art was very limited there. I did some group shows, a one-man show, and even taught art in the summer, but the galleries were not interested in my surrealism pop art. (I did sell a lot of art to tourists though.) Moving back to Sacramento I had a clearer vision on what I needed to do. I knew I had to work much harder to push my art and to get my work into galleries.
3. You say your work explores the tension “between the individual and the issues [found] within everyday life.” Lust. Indulgence. Desire. You name it. How do you try to convey these concepts through your work?
I like to refer my work to be called surrealism with a pop. My work is very diverse, but it has common traits that tie it together such as its figurative and narrative qualities it’s about the juxtaposition I do in my pieces. I use recognizable logos and brands that reflect our culture of consumerism with a little bit of tongue and cheek humor.
“Fabulous Comics” Watercolor, ink and color pencil.
4. The female form often takes center stage in your artwork. Why is that?
I use the female body a lot in my art, sometimes nude or sometimes just parts of a body. I use the body to depict the way women are objectified by romantic fantasy in everyday life. I like the irony.
5. Do you have a particular process that you follow when creating a piece?
I watch a lot of horror movies and listen to lots of jazz. I’ll browse through art books and use photo references, but much of my work is pretty much out of my head. I try to draw at least four to six hours a day.
6. You tend to work in watercolor and colored pencil. Why have you gravitated towards these specific mediums? Are there other media that you wish to explore in the future?
My drawing method has change over the years from ink to color pencil and watercolors. I love combination I get when I use all three media on one piece; you get bright bold colors. My work is very detailed and that’s when I use ink to tighten up a piece. I try to set a mood with my work.
“Clown Tested, Monkey Approved.” Tongue and cheek humor is a re-occuring theme in Dwight’s work.
7. In 2012 & 2013, you curated and participated in the River City Food Bank’s “Yes We Can” exhibit, where you challenged artists (including yourself) to create can-based sculptures. How did you come up with the concept and how did the competition impact you?
I read an article about 10 years ago about an architectural firm in New York doing a canned food drive building sculptures out of the canned foods. I thought, “We need this in Sacramento” — but with local artists. I wrote a proposal for “Yes We Can” but never showed it to anyone until 2012. I approached The Center for Contemporary Arts and they liked it. At the end of the show, we donated about 500 pounds of canned food to the River City Food Bank and garnered some media interest. It was nice to give back to the community; I hope to make this an annual event.
8. What are some of your guilty pleasures?
I love visiting a good thrift store or estate sale. I’m likely to find McCoy pottery from the 1940s and 1950s which I collect.
9. Lastly, what are your creative/work plans for 2015?
This February I will be featured in a Valentine’s Day art show at E Street Gallery. I will have art work in Folsom at the Bag Lady Boutique throughout the month. Summer will be pretty busy for me — I will be in the Crocker’s “Big Names Small Art” exhibit and participating in the KVIE Art Auction. In the fall, my brother Todd Head and I will be showing our stuff at the Blue Moon Gallery. And I’m always thinking about “Yes We Can Show” or opportunities to show off my work.
Keep up with Terry:
Sacramento365 Artist Profile
Interview by Sacramento365’s Content & Social Media Coordinator, Jamila B. Khan.