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The Parthenon

Artist Dan Hernandez speaks to students at Visual Arts Center

Landon Mitchell, Reporter

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Artist Dan Hernandez gave some insight on his themes, inspirations and his technique Sept. 7 at the Visual Arts Center.

Hernandez’ talk occurred after several of his works were featured in the recent Birke Art Gallery exhibition, “The Curious and Familiar,” for which he was chosen due to having narrative concepts between his works.

The Toledo native’s work blends imagery and characters from classic Christian paintings and video games, and uses acrylic paints with an inkjet transfer, giving a distinct style to his pieces.

“When I’m making my work, I’m thinking about the relationship between art history and video games,” Hernandez said.

He explained the similarities he found between the renaissance era of classical art with Michelangelo and Duccio, and the renaissance era of video games with Sega Genesis games such as “Double Dragon” and “Mortal Kombat.”

On the subject of graphic violence in video games, such as “Mortal Kombat,” Hernandez touched up on graphic violence featured in classical and Christian art, saying that the two are not so different.

Several of Hernandez’ pieces show influences from the 15th century annunciation paintings of Leonardo di Vinci and Sandro Botticelli, which depict scenes of Christian characters kneeling towards others.

Hernandez used these scenes and added details such as fireballs from the video game “Street Fighter II,” creating violent battle scenes and emphasizing a struggle found in those works.

Hernandez took the disembodied hand that told players where to go and what to do, and attributed it to God, adding divine intervention in the scene.

Sandra Reed, director of the School of Art & Design, said she found importance in bringing in artists from around the globe for exhibitions and to talk to students about their work.

“It’s a real commitment to make sure that students get to see original art by professional artists and to hear them talk about what their work means, their interpretations, their past,” Reed said.

Following his talk, Hernandez answered questions from the audience.

Hernandez currently works in the art department at the University of Toledo as an assistant professor and has had his works showcased at renowned locations such as the Kim Foster Gallery in New York City.

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