Dale Lindman: Artist on Campus

By Morgan Hodder
Dale Lindman is an abstract professional artist and art professor at BCC. His works can be found in private and public galleries in Microsoft, Nordstroms, Nieman-Marcus, Boeing, Safeco Insurance and Swedish Hospital throughout Seattle, Sante Fe, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
How long have you worked at BCC? I’ve been at BCC since 1994, but I started as a teacher’s assistant back then. Where did you go to school? I earned my masters of fine arts at the state university in Minnesota, my masters of arts at Saint Cloud’s in Minnesota, and my Bachelors at Saint Cloud’s College. And Community College in Minnesota, because I wanted to take an art class. What mediums do you use? I’m known for my mediums. I use acrylic, additives, I make my own paints. To do this I mix beeswax, pigments, varnish to make encaustic. Encaustic is a kind of paint that you have to paint on a hard surface with, or it’ll crack, but it’s what they would paint on tombs, it lasts much, much longer than any other paint. Hehe, it gets pretty dangerous mixing the varnish, during the process you get turpentine and must heat it up again, and sometimes it goes- whoosh!! (Lindman mimes fires erupting from the mixture.) Who has inspired you? Hmm. That’s not a definitive thing; you don’t see something and say “Oh! I want to make something.” It’s more like music, some people will strike a chord with you- having someone whose a direct inspiration, you have similar feelings, there’s something you respond to in someone else. I respond to lots of different things, African and Chinese sculpture, Japanese prints, Northern Romantic painters, like Turner, and Van Gogh. Impressionists like Monet, but not Impressionists like Renoir. I love things with texture, surface. I always did a lot of rubbing and scratching on my figure drawings in school, and I would love projects that had me go dumpster diving and throw up a rubber chicken on the canvas. Also the artists Jackson Pollack and Mark Rothko have moved me. Especially Mark Rothko, when I first went to his gallery I looked at his paintings and cried. The paintings were very emotive colors, I had no idea why or how I was crying. What do you think of the Bellevue Art Scene? I feel irresponsible in the scene, since I live in Seattle and only just work here, though I have a gallery here. I guess the biggest thing for the scene is the Bellevue Art Museum, which is all about crafts now. It used to be only art, but now it’s art and crafts. There’s also this place “Open Satellite,” it’s a place for installation artists to show their work. It’s pretty hip stuff. When did you realize you wanted to do art as a career? I was the first family member to go to college, my Dad’s a welder, my brother’s a plumber, to be an artist seemed like such an exotic idea. I lived on the edge of Minneapolis, in between the city and the wide open fields, I’ve always been influenced by nature. But the notion was gradual, I came to it in small steps, all these steps in hindsight were unnoticeable at the time. I guess it was that art class I took in College, from the only guy in school who didn’t wear a tie. Art was the hardest class for me. I realized I liked it more than any other class, you could go anywhere with it, there was no right answer. It just seemed so exotic. What themes are currently exploring or experimenting with? Oh dear. This is the question I must have the most trouble with. The things I explore are nonverbal. If I was a writer, I would write them, not paint them. The physical process of making is critical, but the critical process is sharing. What I make is always different, with different materials, a different story, on a different stage, different actors. Like there’s a different answer to a question that keeps popping up. My art’s not narrative though, I can title it but some people want a subject and content that’s verbally offering some theme. You can feel it from within the painting without it being told to you, though. When did you feel confident you had an individual style? Not until my mid forties. Even though I was showing professionally, and people said I was pretty good. I wouldn’t have said “I’m an artist” though, I would say “I’m a painter” or “I’m an art-maker,” now I have no problem saying I’m an artist. Do you remember the first piece of artwork you felt proud of? That’s a hard question. An artist is made to make stuff, not have stuff made. In 1973 in College I do a painting, right after I started to dally around in abstraction, and in this painting I had no idea what I was doing. So it was fresh, but it will get harder, the more you do it and realize what you’re doing. At a point I knew what I wanted to do, I changed the process I did things as to fly by the seat of my pants, so I would always surprise myself.