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Prolific painter Dustin Wayne explores art of repetition in new exhibit

For east central Minnesota artist Dustin Wayne, repetition is art.

And it can’t be said he hasn’t had a lot of practice.

“Since 2020, I’ve painted about 1,028 paintings, so I’m a very busy painter,” he said in a recent interview with KBEK.

Wayne’s prolific nature weaves into the themes of his artwork: His upcoming show on Saturday, June 3 in Princeton explores the concept of repetitive subject matter through a series of six acrylic paintings.

The paintings, each a portrait of an original female character, present an exercise in familiarity, connection, and the principle of choice.

The exhibition, as Wayne puts it, is “a study to determine whether familiarity plays a significant role in the community’s ability to connect with a particular artwork.”

‘Positive attention’

Art found a foothold in Wayne’s life from a young age — he credits his grandmother’s influence in encouraging him to foster creative outlets, like coloring.

“It was a way that, when I was young, I found the most positive attention, I guess you can say,” Wayne explained. “I was kind of a shyster and a prankster, so I received a lot of negative attention otherwise. So art was my way of getting more positive attention, and I grew to fall in love with it.”

2015 marked a pivotal turning point for getting more serious about his painting.

“I said, ‘you know what, I actually want and need to do more with this to advance my career as an artist,’” Wayne said.

‘Astronomical amount of possibilities’

Speed painting is a core tenet of Wayne’s style, along with hyperbolic, nonsensical line work.

Repetitive subject matter, or RSM, is a relatively new adventure for Wayne.

He first explored RSM through a resiliency grant funded by the East Central Regional Arts Council about a year and a half ago. His exploration was through a series of two paintings: One was done while listening to an audio loop of extreme criticism, and the second was painted to a soundtrack of extreme praise.

The differing results, in Wayne’s own words, were “extraordinary.” His curiosity grew: What might change if he painted four paintings of the exact same thing? Or ten? Or one hundred?

“This whole concept of limitlessness, and the astronomical amount of possibilities that can come out of this, as artists and as art observers, we oftentimes look at artwork and we only get the one version of it,” Wayne said. “But the truth is all these little influences throughout that painting, there could have been endless variations of what that came out to look like.”

Working with ECRAC, community

A grant from ECRAC helped make Wayne’s upcoming art show possible, and he encourages more artists to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the organization.

“They’re so helpful, and the amount of opportunity they’re able to provide to the community is extraordinary,” Wayne said. “I would love for more artists — especially new artists and rising artists with their mid-career artistry — to get involved, reach out to them, see what opportunities are there, because there are so many resources that aren’t getting utilized for artists to help them grow.”

Wayne also enjoys engaging with the community — at his show, he’ll have a survey available for visitors to offer their own ideas about how they connect with his works.

“One of the things I’ve learned through other projects I’ve done is that when it comes to original artwork, people tend to want something familiar to them,” Wayne explained. “That’s kind of the comfort zone. So I thought, how can I be original but also present that familiarity to people?”

Wayne’s show will be exhibited at Balance in Body Massage and Pain Therapy, located at 518 First St. in Princeton, from 5 to 8 p.m. on June 3.

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