The Art of Dzine, The Beautiful Struggle – Publication Review


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By Christina Wastney

A beautiful, shiny, and inspirational collection of artworks and installations from Chicago artist Dzine feature throughout the pages of this Gestalten publication. The hardcover, embossed book contains images of latino street culture, modern design, pop culture aesthetics, and elements of funk, showing attempts to fuse the artistic influences of music and art with the artist’s own personalised style. Using full colour, high quality photographs and glossy print, the works take up a whole image per page. Large scale colourful wall drawings with glitter, bright paints and crisp edges fill the pages. Images of American motorcycles with a modern contemporary design are displayed within gallery institutions, decorated with shiny jewels and crystals. Intricate details and a baroque style of placement are a central theme throughout the book.

I found this book was trying to capture the idea of street art and graffiti style artworks, with an influence of street culture and the artist’s own unique approach to these themes. While maintaining a fine art and institutional approach, I was interested to find this to be a successful combination of similar and contrasting ideas that have been brought together nicely into a large format book showing off the artists works while retaining some sense of modesty. There is some text within the book but, all in all, not much. The text seems to be there just to give the viewer a guideline of how Dzine creates his work and where he derives his inspiration from. For me this was an approach of displaying the artists work that wasn’t too serious or deliberately trying to sell the art in a pushy way. The book seemed to display the work and particular ideas from the artist in a way which then invited the viewer to do their own research if what was displayed wasn’t enough. This approach of not forcing too much of the artists own ideas and leaving the viewer to make their own opinion based on the images displayed, came across as a dissemination strategy that I find would work well with the content and ideas of my own work. I find that as an artist, my artwork really needs to speak for itself and this publication has done this for artist Dzine’s work in a respectful manner.

Other artists have given their own brief statement of Dzine as an artist and his influences on the art world which give a nice review of the artist, but also manages to leave the viewer with an opinion of their own. I found this beautiful, colourful and fun style of presentation to be very enticing, while capturing a certain charm and elegance.