Crafting Collages: Inside Dakota Gartner's Mixed-Media Creations

Crafting Collages: Inside Dakota Gartner's Mixed-Media Creations

A series of artwork by Dakota Gartner is currently on exhibition at Jones Coffee Roasters in South Pasadena (1006 Mission St, South Pasadena, CA 91030). The collection will be displayed from Saturday, April 27th through Sunday, June 23rd, 2024, and can be viewed daily from 7 am to 5 pm. An artist reception is scheduled for Saturday, June 22nd, from 11 am to 2 pm. The community is invited to meet the artist and view an extended collection of artwork during the reception.  

Meet the Artist: A Brief Introduction to Dakota Gartner

Dakota Gartner was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, and currently lives in Pasadena, California. He has been a musician since the age of 6 and grew up in a family of very talented artists. His artistic pursuits began while in college during his early 20s; he used a variety of posters displayed in his apartment to create several collage art pieces. After this initial set of artworks was created, the art-making projects were set aside until the Covid-19 pandemic, where he rediscovered his artistic talents and immediately started creating again.



The original inspiration for creating the current series of artwork stems from a combination of Jackson Pollock's unregulated art and concert posters on street poles found in areas like New York City and Seattle. More fundamentally, Dakota has been influenced by his mother's creative approach and has looked up to her as an artistic mentor. The imagery of the collages that are initially set during the art-making process lays the foundation for Dakota’s artwork and influences its creative direction. In addition to creating his own series of artworks, he enjoys crafting custom commissioned pieces for individuals, capturing their passions and accentuating them with color and texture.



Dakota’s artwork, mixed-media collages sealed with either epoxy or encaustic wax, is brought forth through the industrial materials he enjoys using as the artworks' base, such as cardboard, paper, wood, and at times small canvases, incorporating layers of acrylic paint and spray paint as well. In his current body of artwork, his inspiration comes from images and colors found in magazines. He is experimenting with combining images of animals, skateboards, and food while utilizing paint pouring techniques to create unique collage artworks. For Dakota, creating artwork is a form of meditation, providing a respite from the pressures of his career as a production manager for large-scale events and artists.



By interacting with the artwork, Dakota intends for the viewer to discover something new each time they engage with the painting. His artworks can be seen as creative scavenger hunts, where stories are meant to be discovered within each piece by uncovering the images buried into the layers. In an email interview with Dakota, he writes, “I hope that viewers take home familiarity and inspiration when they look at my art. I hope that the enhancements that I add to images in my collages help people see familiar pictures in a whole new way.”



As Dakota continues to create new works of art, his focus is to refine the layering in his artworks, respecting the images being used by finding new ways to creatively enhance them. He also wants to continue creating custom commissioned artwork for individuals, which are his favorite types of collaborative art projects that he loves doing.