Shayne Dark was born in Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1952 and currently resides in Ontario where he works as a visual artist. An established sculptor who has exhibited his works internationally, Shayne currently has various large sculptures displayed throughout the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in New York City which will be on view until July of 2017.
Shayne drew as a child. His father was in the Air Force and his family was stationed in Germany until he was eight years old. “Every weekend my family would visit neighboring countries,” Shayne stated. “We went to many museums so I was exposed to classic #Art at a very young and impressionable age.” As a boy, Shayne struggled with dyslexia, a learning disability that was scarcely understood in the mid-20th century. Hence, art became an outlet for which he received positive feedback. When he was in his late-twenties, he and his wife lived near a small village near Kingston, Ontario, where he met David Pickering, the Sculptor Professor at Queen’s University. “I credit him for educating and mentoring me in contemporary art and #Sculpture,” Shayne explained. “We often travelled together, visiting museums, and discussing art. The British Sculptors were very much of interest to me; Richard Deacon, Tony Cragg, William Tucker and Anish Kapoor. Richard Serra, the American sculptor is among his favorites.” Shayne’s own artwork is inspired by nature and the many forms found within it. “My wife and I lived on a lake for over twenty-five years and the natural environment definitely had an impact on my art practice,” Shayne declared. “I like to collect natural materials, assemble them and see what happens. Each time I construct an installation it is site specific and will invariably be different than the time before. I like that, it keeps it interesting.”
Shayne joined an #Artist run gallery called Modern Fuel and gained exposure of his work via entering group and/or juried exhibitions. “I had lots of rejection letters but I also got positive responses to my work,” he recalled. “In the mid-eighties, I had a commercial gallery in Kingston offer me a solo exhibition and that gave me the confidence to approach galleries in Toronto and Montreal to represent my work.” From there, his work gained a foothold in the public eye. In 2012, Shayne was granted a solo exhibition at the Masur Museum of Art in Monroe, Louisiana. “The sister of the Executive Director of the Gallery, Evelyn Stewart, saw the work and mentioned it to Katherine Glass, the VP of Public Engagement at the Botanical Garden,” Shayne explained. “Katherine looked through my website and contacted me regarding an exhibition of my work and a residency.” As a result, Shayne had the opportunity to create site-specific metal and wood sculptures for the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Although difficult to choose a favorite work, Shayne confesses to being partial to “Into the Blue” and “Blizzard” which have been displayed in varied locations.
Shayne cites the opportunity to travel and meet interesting people as being hugely rewarding aspects to being an artist. “It was a great honor to have a solo exhibition at the Canadian Embassy Gallery in Washington, DC,” he added, “and to represent Canada in Athens, Greece, in an art event that ran parallel to the XXVII Olympic Games. I met artists from countries around the world and have kept in touch with many of them. The best advice I can give to a young artist is to work or volunteer as an assistant to an experienced artist. Working with a professional artist can fast track your career. You learn discipline along with the business of art and how to promote your work. Be passionate but prepared for rejection and don’t take it personally. If you believe in the work, stay the course and realize that you have to dedicate many hours to the practice.” At present, Shayne is working on a large-scale public artwork that will be permanently installed in Walnut Creek, California, in late 2017.