SPOTLIGHT ON THE ARTS: Dan Hudson

Showcasing emerging writers

As a lead-up to the Mayor’s Spotlight on the Arts on September 26th, five young Canmore writers have interviewed and written articles about the artists being recognized this year. Their articles will be featured here at HighlineOnline.ca over the next few weeks. Local writer, Heather Walter, is serving as mentor for the project.

Dan Hudson, Multi-Media Artist
By: Jason McKeown

Photo courtesy of Patrick McCloskey

Photo courtesy of Patrick McCloskey

Whether he’s at his studio in Canmore, his studio in Berlin, or spending time in nature, Dan Hudson is always busy with something. And he’s been busy with things all his life.

Born and raised in eastern Ontario, Dan displayed artistic talent even as a child by making drawings and creating objects out of building materials. His parents and babysitter helped fuel this talent by buying him art materials to make new works of art, some of which he still has today.

After graduating from school, Dan moved to Toronto in 1979, where he set up a small studio. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University. After that, he moved to California for a time to study anthropology. Instead of finishing his studies he moved to Mexico for two years. While he was there, he took up surfing and did a large amount of painting. He was also influenced by the significant cultural differences he found there.

Dan came to the Banff Centre for the Arts in 1984 to do a studio residency, eventually making a permanent move to the Bow Valley in 1990. He chose this area because of its proximity and accessibility to nature. Over the years, Dan’s art style and focus has evolved, but tends to show the relationship between contemporary culture and nature.

For much of his time in the Bow Valley, Dan worked as a photojournalist both locally and internationally, specializing in outdoor adventure and landscape photography. His images have appeared in Snowboard Canada magazine and the American magazine Snowboarder, among many others. His work as a professional photographer garnered more than sixty cover shots on international magazines and several thousand photos in publications worldwide.

Life as an international photojournalist gave Dan the opportunity to travel to some of the craziest places around the planet. Dan claims that those experiences, and the technical expertise he gained from them, have influenced his art.

For the past seven years, Dan has shifted his focus completely to his fine art practice. Many of his works of art capture the relationships between modern cultures and nature. Over the years, Dan’s art has gradually evolved to what he would describe today as a form of visual anthropology. He says about his art style: “It blurs the boundaries between research, documentation, voyeurism, personal journal and art. I create process-intensive projects that investigate concepts of time and the nature of existence within the social-political context of everyday life. My research is distilled into various forms including video, painting, photography and sculpture.”

Dan believes that there is more to art than just the image or sculpture itself. He thinks that there should also be meaning behind the work. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean anything to anyone else, but the artist should always know the meaning behind it. When asked what message he tries to send with his art, he replied, “I make my art for myself, so I don’t intentionally try to send any sort of message. The most I can hope for is that people who view my art are able to take away an experience that allows them to carry some fresh ways of thinking into their own lives.”

Art produced by Dan Hudson

Art produced by Dan Hudson

Along with his art, Dan Hudson’s influences have also changed over the years. Earlier in his career, contemporary American artists like Bruce Newman and Eric Fischl had a big impact on his artistic direction. He has also been by influenced by Francisco Goya, Pablo Picasso, as well as native pictographs and Egyptian art. Video influences include Andy Warhol and Bill Viola.

The things that have had the most permanent impact on Dan’s art are nature and a wide range of cultural influences such as science, literature, film and different kinds of architecture. In more recent years, his work has been affected by an interest in social media and Internet sites such as YouTube.

Once Dan starts a project, it can take years to complete, so he usually has many projects in various stages of completion going at the same time. He also enjoys working back and forth between several different media, as he finds they inform each other in interesting ways.

Dan Hudson’s dedication and focus to his art has definitely paid off. He has won six international awards and has participated in numerous exhibitions. His work is represented in the collections of museums, public galleries and private collections throughout North America and Europe.

Today Dan divides his studio practice between Berlin and Canmore.

Jason McKeown is an avid snowboarder who has always enjoyed writing. He is currently in Grade 10 at Canmore Collegiate High School.

The Mayor’s Spotlight on the Arts will take place at the Canmore Miners’ Union Hall on Friday September 26, 5:30 pm. Tickets are $20 through the Arts and Culture department at Canmore Civic Centre, 403.678.1546. Join us for an evening of wine, appetizers and a celebration of the arts in Canmore. 

Highline Magazine

Highline Magazine

Highline is a window into the unique culture that thrives in the Canadian Rockies. Our stories, images, and local events embody the playful, authentic, community-minded, and earth-friendly spirit of the people who make the Rockies home.

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