Having worked with a number of different visual mediums, Tripper Dungan uses his knowledge and experience to produce some truly vibrant works of art. We like his work, not only because he incorporates beards into some of his pieces, but because he cultivates some incredibly interesting pieces like the one you see above.
We were first turned on to Tripper’s work by Daniel Rolnick, of the Daniel Rolnick Gallery, where Tripper recently had an exhibition. After some introductions, Tripper happily agreed to an interview on a few different topics. We hope you enjoy our conversation with this bearded artist.
Why are beards a common theme in your paintings?
I love beards. I've had one more than not since I could grow one in high school. I think of it like a creature that grows on my face. There's this old Cab Calloway song called "Old Man of the Mountain" that conjures up an image of a self-sustaining man that has a long white beard that speaks with the birds and feasts on the beasts. I guess it makes me feel like I'm not trying to deny I'm an animal.
Tell us a little bit more about the bearded painting (pictured above) that was a part of your recent exhibit at the Daniel Rolnick Gallery.
I think I named it beard buddies. That painting is certainly inspired by the image of the old man of the mountain. He's totally integrated into his natural surroundings.
What do you like about growing your own beard?
I like the look and feel of it. It just feels like I'm me when I have a beard.
Why did you choose to incorporate the 3D medium into your paintings?
I actually had some hesitation about 3D at first. I would paint to achieve the 3D effect but wouldn't tell people it was 3D. If you're wondering why the image isn't messed up like 3D often is, it is because it's Chromadepth 3D and doesn't require image separation. Anyway, I love having that extra element in my work; I feel like it draws people in that might have otherwise passed it by.
You have experience with a number of different artistic mediums - what is your favorite, and how do you feel that each medium informs and influences the others?
I feel like they all complement each other in a way. My biggest passion is painting, but I hope to build more art structures in the future. My music and shadow puppets have taken a back seat for the last couple years but it's the best way I can express the linear or storytelling aspects of my creativity.
What has been your proudest moment as an artist?
It's hard to pinpoint one, but the last big project I did was Lookie House. It was a little house that has a mural that you can take your picture in when you stick your head in a hole. It really felt like a gift. A gift from me to my community and fans, but also a gift to me as an artist that people would come by and have fun and take pictures with me and my little creation.
How do you feel that the emergence of the digital age has affected artists and art as a whole?
I think it's given a lot to artists; the ability to think of something (a reference photo, a song to learn, an idea you're wondering is original or not) and look it up right away, the ability to show your work to a larger audience, the ability to connect with others like you. I think it's taken away some too; people's attention spans are a lot shorter, and then there is trolling. All in all I think it's broadened the possibility, and ultimately it's another tool that can be used for creativity.
We want to thank Tripper for taking a few minutes to talk to us, and a special thank you to Daniel Rolnick for making the introduction. To learn more about Tripper, visit his website, NumberStar.com.