A modern Renaissance: Senior says quarantine has cleared time for creative expression

by Kelly Kerrigan, Senior Staff Writer

For Dane Allebes Anderson, boundaries simply do not exist; not in life, not in art and not in his mind. The applied design senior has spent his college experience growing, traveling and finding himself. 

“When I was growing up I thought about how cool it would be to see the way other people saw the world,” Anderson said. “Later on as I developed my own unique view of the world and an understanding that each person creates their own version of reality, I wanted to figure out ways to share the way I see it. But this is difficult because so many of the undeniable truths of life are impossible to be said with words.” 

Anderson loves to paint and is inspired by many famous artists.

During the pandemic, he has found himself more in touch with creativity than ever before. While he has been able to recognize the negative aspects of the global pandemic, he has found solace through manifesting positivity for what he is still able to do: create.  

“The need to create is within each and every one of us. Think of how much fun it was to be a kid and make something random, even if it wasn’t important to anybody else it was important to you because you made it,” Anderson said. “It is sad how so many have been conditioned away from their true nature, that of a creator and an artist. Go paint something, or sing a song, or build a fort. Don’t concern yourself so much with the outcome, but rather enjoy the process and reconnect with the child you once were and still are. To create is to live, and to live is to create.”

Anderson has made a point of pursuing a life dedicated to creating since the day he arrived in San Diego. For him, no day is the same. A typical day for Anderson may include running long distances, driving to the ocean, cooking a meal from scratch, listening to music, painting art or building a fort. 

In art, his mentality is much the same. He has found a way to contribute anything he can towards art, whether it’s a watermelon, an old piece of dry wood, some scrap metal or someone’s body. In his free time, he adores rock climbing, surfing and exploring. 

Anderson paints on many surfaces, like this truck.

During this peculiar time, where have you found your biggest inspirations? 

“Being in my garage studio helps cultivate my creative energy by surrounding myself with lots of art and art supplies. Also, finding materials and objects by chance can develop ideas more organically than by seeking out new materials. I also love painting at the beach.”

Who are your biggest inspirations in art?

“Some of the post-war abstract expressionists such as Jackson Pollock as well as Mark Rothko. I love the era of Rauschenberg, Warhol, Basquiat and Haring and the ways they portrayed the things happening in history during their lives. Some contemporary artists that I like include Damion Herst, Alex Grey, Shepard Fairey, Banksy and David Hockney, to name a few. However, Picasso has consistently been a favorite artist of mine and influences me with his diversity of styles and mediums.  

Anderson comes from a family of artists who he hopes to make proud.

How would you describe your creative process and why is being creative important to you?

“Process-oriented and intuitive. I work with what I have until I find a solution without thinking of it too much. Later on, I can think about it more and reflect on the work. I think just the act of creating is healthy and helps easily access a meditative state of mind. Also the degree of self-expression is present in a more esoteric form than words. Mainly it is just plain fun to create. Experimentation is my main method of learning new techniques and processes and finding out what works.”

Anderson will use random materials occasionally in his art, such as this watermelon.

Any realizations you’ve come to terms with during Quarantine?

“There is a lot more time in a day than you think. Personal space is important. Kindness and patience go a long way. Stay busy, don’t stagnate. Be grateful for what you do have. Not seeing my friends or going to school sucks.”

What mediums do you work with or want to work with? 

“I work with acrylic, oil, pencil, ink, collage, wood, clay, metal, found objects, glass, natural objects, sticks, rocks and whatnot. Pretty much anything I can get my hands on.

I would like to work more with metal. Developing welding skills and other tech-specific processes especially blacksmithing and forging.”

 What are your biggest hopes for after the stay-at-home order is lifted? 

“I hope that people will develop a sense of gratitude for things we weren’t able to have when we were on lockdown and remember not to take for granted the simple things like giving a stranger a hug and going into a store with your face uncovered. Also, I sincerely hope the economic damages are not too severe and the governmental implications of this unprecedented power of control are kept in check.”

Anderson wants to continue working more with metal in the future.

If you looked back and compared where you are now as an artist compared to where you were in when you started, what would you be most proud of now?

“I don’t think there was really a specific moment where I actually started being an artist. It is just part of who I am and always has been. I have a long history of artists in my family. My two grandfathers were very gifted artists and I feel like I take after both of them. I know they are proud of me for how I have developed into an artist in my own right and followed along in their legacy.”

What has been the most defining moment for you as an artist thus far?

“There was a significant moment I remember from my freshman year that really altered the path I would find myself choosing to go in school. On the last day of the add-drop deadline my first semester, I wandered over to the art department looking to add a class to my schedule because I was in the engineering program but always had a love for art. I met a man in a suit on the top floor and asked if he could help me. He turned out to be the current director of the art department and introduced me to Adam Manley, the new wood shop professor. I took a class with him that allowed me to explore the medium of wood in the amazing facility we have here at San Diego State. This helped further develop my passion for working with my hands and later on in deciding to switch my major to applied design.”

Anderson has spent quarantine creating many kinds of art, including this painting.
Anderson said he hopes other people will take advantage of this time to create more.
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