100 Creatives 2012: Kent Dorn, Drawer, Painter, Artist

Categories: 100 Creatives

Courtesy of the artist
Kent Dorn's mixed media on canvas painting "Dead End (Water's Edge)."
Originally from South Carolina, Kent Dorn has called Houston home since coming here for the University of Houston's MFA program in 2001. Beginning with his thesis show, Dorn's paintings and drawings have gained national recognition for both their unique narrative qualities and their distinctly gritty and dense surfaces. When he is not working away in the studio, he is either working behind the scenes at the Menil's exhibition department or happily lying low in Oak Forest.

His recent paintings and layered drawings have occupied a space in which seekers, failed mystics and drifters wander a fictional terrain in search of a revelatory experience. The New York Times described the scenes as "a mental landscape of loss and repressed grief where the promises of yesteryear hang in the air like fading echoes." Dorn admits his work is equally inspired by 1970s horror films, hippie subculture and survivalist tales, but in his hands even the dystopian environments he creates seem inhabitable.

What He Does: Dorn explains, "Recently, I've been working on large drawings, each composed by piecing together hundreds of smaller graphite drawings on tracing paper. They depict fictional terrains and scenarios inspired by books like Into the Wild, The Road and Endurance, as well as the hippie counterculture and early American landscape painting." He adds, "I also make paintings, like to play frisbee with my dog and have a day job at a museum."

What Inspires Him: Dorn tersely says, "Materials. Music. Movies."

Courtesy of the artist.
Kent Dorn
If Not This, Then What: He affirms, "I've asked myself this question more times than you can imagine and I always come to the same answer -- bored."

If Not Here, Then Where: Dorn's eyes are not wondering the horizon one bit. He asserts, "I'm not moving anytime soon."

Why He Likes It: He himself is a little baffled by his career choice, stating, "I'm not sure that I do [like it]." He elaborates, "It's more of a compulsion than a love affair."

What's Next: He has a busy and full schedule for the rest of this year and the beginning of 2013. Dorn explains, "I was recently in a group show titled Double Dirty Dozen at Freight + Volume in New York, and I'll also be in group shows in Detroit and Copenhagen around the end of the year." He also says, "Several publications will feature my work in the coming months, including New American Paintings and Gulf Coast Literary and Fine Arts Journal, which is running a phenomenal five-page spread of my work with an essay by John Beer of Art-Rated.com." Looking into 2013, he states, "Finally, I'll be included in The Return of the Subject: Contemporary Figurative Painting, a book that's being compiled by the folks at Elephant Magazine and published by Laurence King Publishing in Spring 2013."

More Creatives for 2012
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Lillian Warren, painter
Carl Lindahl, folklorist, UH professor
Sutapa Ghosh, film producer and Indian Film Festival of Houston organizer
Tom Stell, actor, writer, director
Gregory Oaks, teacher and Poison Pen co-founder

Oliver Halkowich, dancer and performer
Lupe Mendez, poet and poem pusher

Jason Nodler, artistic director, playwright, director
Ana Treviño-Godfrey, musician

Matthew Detrick, classical musician
Travis Ammons, filmmaker
Florence Garvey, actress
Julia Gabriel, artist, designer and backpack maker

Rebecca French, choreographer and FrenetiCore co-founder

Kiki Neumann, found object folk artist
Flynn Prejean, Poster Artist
JoDee Engle, dancer
David Rainey, actor, artistic director and teacher
Geoff Hippenstiel, painter, art instructor
Jessica Janes, actress and musician
Dennis Draper, actor and director

Mat Johnson, novelist and tweeter
Orna Feinstein, printmaker and installation artist

Adriana Soto, jewelry designer
Domokos Benczédi, Noise and Collage Artist
Robert Boswell, Book Author, UH Prof
Patrick Turk, visual artist
Elizabeth Keel, playwright
Bob Martin, designer
Mary Lampe, short film promoter and developer
Nisha Gosar, Indian classical dancer
Jeremy Wells, painter
George Brock, theater teacher
Radu Runcanu, painter
Ariane Roesch, Mixed-Media
Sandie Zilker, art jewelry maker
Philip Hayes, actor

Patrick Palmer, painter
Ana Mae Holmes, Jewelry Designer
John Tyson, actor
Jerry Ochoa, violinist and filmmaker
Raul Gonzalez, painter, sculptor, photographer
Roy Williams, DJ of medieval music
Laura Burlton, photographer
David Peck, fashion designer
Rebecca Udden, theater director
Donae Cangelosi Chramosta, vintage designer handbag dealer
Paul Fredric, author
John Sparagana, photographer
Damon Smith, musician and visual artist
Geoff Winningham, photographer

Johnathon Michael Espinoza, visual artist
Jaemi Blair Loeb, conductor

Katya Horner, photographer
Johnathan Felton, artist
Nicoletta Maranos, cosplayer

Carol Simmons, hair stylist
Joseph "JoeP" Palmore, actor, poet
Greg Carter, director
Kenn McLaughlin, theater director
Justin Whitney, musician
Antone Pham, tattoo artist
Susie Silbert, crafts

Lauralee Capelo, hair designer
Marisol Monasterio, flamenco dancer
Carmina Bell, promoter and DJ
ReShonda Tate Billingsley, writer
Kiki Lucas, choreographer and director
J.J. Johnston, theater director
Mary Margaret Hansen, artist
Richard Tallent, photographer
Viswa Subbaraman, opera director
Emily Sloan, sculptor and performance artist
Sonja Roesch, gallery owner
Enrique Carreón-Robledo, conductor
Sandy Ewen, musician
Camella Clements, puppeteer

Wade Wilson, gallery owner

Magid Salmi, photographer
Carl Williams, playwright

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

I would like to see more of his paintings because I am still an amateur painter Perth. I am conscious with the style of my works because I don’t think that people will like it.


I know this painter because I always browse his art pieces. I hope that Perth painters can be recognized like that also. My great grandfather’s paintings are being preserved by my parents because they want his paintings to be in a national museum.

Now Trending

Houston Concert Tickets

From the Vault



Health & Beauty