Biography of Dorian Cleavenger|
Since his earliest years, Dorian has demonstrated an almost uncanny degree of artistic talent with a unique and distinctive blend of creativity to his images. Starting as a child with the usual array of dinosaurs and monsters done in a different and highly individualistic manner , he soon departed from the conventional constraints of traditional representations by embellishing his subjects with individualized touches pulled from his rich imagination while retaining a degree of contact with realism sufficient to allow the viewer to associate his depictions with a solid base in the familiar world.
Born in Massachusetts, Dorian grew up in New Jersey where, during his school years, he gained a reputation not only for his artistic abilities, but as well for his inquisitive nature, acute powers of retention of detail, information and observational as well as analytical qualities….all of which have proven to enhance and complement his artistic expressions. Immediately upon graduation from high school, he applied and was accepted into the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts; although it was to be a short romance. After a few weeks he quit the school out of frustration: it seemed the classes weren’t sufficiently challenging and he was enveloped in boredom. One example was the required class on Perspective, the technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface. At the end of class, the teacher sharply criticized the students’ results, indicating and showing Dorian’s as the only accurately drawn example. Though he said nothing then, he admitted to his family that he just drew it by gut feeling and didn’t bother with the theory of measurement of angles, vanishing points, etc. He also said it took away from the creativity of drawing and made it into an exact science, and that in art, if it looks right, then it is right. Evidently he had been observing on his own for years how perspective naturally appeared and simply employed it on his own assignment.
In subsequent years, during which time he moved first to Ohio then to Pittsburgh, he did mechanical work on automobiles, body work then custom airbrush painting of his designs on cars, motorcycles and vans, and built hot rods. An accomplished self taught musician and composer, he also played guitar, while singing and composing music when with several rock bands (which experience made him acutely aware of the shortcomings of so called “teamwork” as opposed to being entirely self-reliant). Again determining to get involved in the art field, he decided to attend the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. While attending that school he received numerous awards, acclamations, scholarships and honors….all of which, coupled with the encouragement of his instructors, reinforced in him the idea that he would be successful as a full time free lance artist.
Initially he did artwork as a freelancer for many prominent corporations such as Disney, U.S. Steel, etc. Though earning a good living, Dorian felt inhibited by being subjected to the requirements, constraints and dictates of others with their concepts which left him with no opportunity for self expression nor an outlet for the ideas that lay within him and that demanded a forum. In his spare time he did a few experimental paintings which were seen by and caught the eye of a comic book publisher who immediately commissioned him to paint several covers while giving him free rein as to designing them. One thing led to another and soon Dorian was painting covers and fully painted stories for many major publishers in that arena. Still, his most successful ones were those in which he was allowed freedom to create his version of the characters and scenes. Dorian, though achieving “overnight success” yet felt constrained by the situations and dictates of character representations, desiring above all to break free and do his own completely creative work. He has always been appreciative of the comic book industry for spreading his images and name among their public and , in effect, not only paying him to paint the covers, but through them and conventions, really advertising him as an artist and his work at the same time. Such exposure has prompted individual commissioned work, numerous magazine articles featuring him such as publication of his art in National Geographic, and gallery exhibitions of Dorian’s creative paintings in university expositions, as well as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Europe among others. His trend setting art books, published in Germany, set record sales in Europe, the UK and elsewhere and remain popular. His original paintings have been sold to collectors throughout the globe.
The internet with Dorian’s website, www.dorianart.com , has been a great medium for rapidly exposing his art not only to the country, but throughout the world as well. Through his website Dorian offers museum quality Giclee prints, high quality posters, all of which are inspected and approved by him prior to release. Additionally, his books are obtainable on his website in the merchandise section as well as smaller prints offered.
Returning to his Pittsburgh studio after a highly successful five year stint in Los Angeles, he has continued expressing his artistic side with paintings and more recently has created a series of sculptures modeled in clay that are on a par with his painted art, that have allowed this multi-faceted artist to make representation is three dimensions rather than the two dimensions of painted art. He has also accepted a teaching position at the Douglas Education Center, a long established and prestigious school south of Pittsburgh in Monessen, Pennsylvania , where he will teach a course in Acrylic Illustration one day a week, allowing him ample time to pursue his personal art projects, but an allowing him an opportunity to teach others something of his gained art experience.
Dorian’s first feature length film “Reunion” was recently completed. Written, produced, filmed, edited and directed by Dorian, it was acted using family and friends as characters and produced on a very tight budget, but which throughout shows his exquisite composition and flair for artistic and imaginary expression within such budgetary constraints while weaving a complex scenario with interesting highlights and a surprisingly unusual outcome to a complex familial inter-relationship.
Always looking forward to new challenges in the art field, Dorian’s unique approach to art has arrived at an opportune time when there appears to exist a generational void clamoring to be filled and with the popularity of the internet there exists a compatible medium for dissemination of his art. It seems today’s youth are less avid followers of the greats who established Fantasy Art as a popular movement some years ago, but in Dorian’s work find instead a different perspective and a refreshing new light in that area….perhaps an aspect that is a bit beyond fantasy. When asked to describe his art, he coined a term that best describes it as “Pseudo-Realism”.
IMPORTANT - This biography of Dorian Cleavenger was borrowed from his excellent official website Dorian Art.