Interview with Featured Artist Dalton Banister


One of many of Banister’s ink drawings. The Chase Photo: Owen Crowlie

Local artist Dalton Banister has returned to Eastern New Mexico University to present “Limited,” a series of original ink drawings at the Runnels Gallery.

Being an ENMU alumnus, Banister said he was honored for the opportunity to display his work. “I feel like it's such an honor to be asked to return for a personal show. I remember being a student and thinking about one day being good enough at art for someone to want to display my work,” he said. “I hope coming back for this show is inspiring for young artists to know that it is possible to get to a place where people want to see their work displayed as well.”

The exhibition features rows of intimately detailed renderings of animals and scenes of nature, all made in less than three hours. Within this time constraint, Banister was able to home in on his subjects and express their unique geometry. Speaking on his inspiration for this direction, Banister commented, “As an artist, time is hard to come by. An oil painting can take weeks or months to complete, and a watercolor painting can take a few days to work out,” he said. “Small pen and ink drawings that had a time constraint forced me to create things that pushed and challenged me without dedicating a full-time schedule to the work as well....” Banister said by putting a time limit on his work, he was forced to stay in certain parameters. “It sounds restricting, but in reality, it was very freeing.”

Banister cited the natural scenery and animals of New Mexico as a large source of inspiration, as well as sights he witnessed in his travels to Canada, Honduras, Mexico and the United Kingdom. He shared his childhood memories of driving through the mountains and watching for wildlife. “During these excursions, I remember seeing wild sheep, elk, and deer. It's one thing to see livestock or our pets that have become such a normal part of our lives, but there is something special about non-domesticated animals," he said. “We share this planet with so many creatures, and I like getting to know them.”

Banister recognized that his art is being seen by the next generation of aspiring artists at ENMU, and he offered them some advice. “Do not be afraid to do you.” He said that art is supposed to be fun, but if you want it to be a job, you have to work at it. Banister added to find your one thing and go with it. “It is great to have fun and be efficient in several styles and mediums but find the one thing that makes you crazy if you can't do it. The one thing that without it you're incomplete. Find the one thing that you can spend hours doing and walk away angry only to find yourself going back to it the next day for a redo. Find your one thing and give it everything.”

Banister’s work is available to view on banisterart.com, which features his portfolio of ink drawings and watercolor paintings.

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