At first glance, it is as if someone took a picture but at close inspection it is very detailed and calm to eye when you tell it’s a painting, even better than photograph. Justin Dahlberg, Assistant Professor of Art, has been creating art since his childhood. Art was no mystery as most parts of his family are some way tied to drawing.
Colored pencils are just a basic tool with us normal few who drew leafs and flowers in our elementary years, Dahlberg on the other hand makes his images look as if they were part of a memory, the details are just crisp and relaxing.
He gets his idea for any new art he creates by looking through a file of just images and also looking looking at other artist’s work that he will have on his computer or just take photos on his own.
Dahlberg has created around 24 painting and drawing at his home where he has his nook where he creates his next project. He will sit for long periods for which he has trained himself to do, even eight hours, with his music and coffee.
He has published his work on his website along with the many exhibitions that he has his work put in. His first solo show at the Western Project, known for showcasing Los Angeles based artist, is considered his biggest show that he has gotten in.
“That was a biggie for me, I remember going there and visiting there in grad school. Going into that gallery space and it was like wow like this is great space and gallery director was a really nice guy.” Dahlberg said.
Hyper realism, nature-based imagery, and nature-based pattern is his primary genre as he draws or paints his next creation. Some of his fastest drawing has taken at most three, while his longest painting has taken two years to finish.
Hyper realism is style in which the painting results look close to a high-resolution photo. Creating hyper realism painting takes patience and time as some artist have said it take almost close to three years to complete one painting.
But as many artist he too will have trouble trying to draw.
“I try to pick away at things, a couple of different drawings at one time but I’m terrible at it,” Dahlberg said. “I really need for me to stay focus on one image, because it takes me so long to make them.”
Dahlberg makes that aware to his students that every artist has a bad drawing and that it is just a milestone in the creating process.
Psychology major Anabelle Ochoa says that taking an art class can be challenging for those who haven’t had any experience.
“He really a lot of effort in making sure you understand the material and get drawing,” Ochoa said, “because it’s not just easily just drawing lines but you really understand him when he teaches.”
Ochoa recommends taking Dahlberg’s class because of his particular teaching method he has with using a certain set of vocabulary when talking so students understand can him better and she also enjoys his loose teaching.
This is Dahlberg’s second semester teaching at Pierce and he says he loves teaching here. He’s married and has two kids and he takes pleasure being with them any minute of the day.
“Family. Family is number one then art. Every other minute is just being with my wife and my kids.” Dahlberg said.
Dahlberg has two degrees in Fine Arts, a master’s degree from the Claremont Graduate University and a bachelor’s degree from the California State University Long Beach. He began teaching because he wanted to continue to be around young, people who just want to be creative and make stuff, as he says.
“[It’s] just fun to be constantly surrounded by people making art,” Dahlberg said, “Everyone is so different but they are all creative so we all have that in common so it’s just a fun energy.”
Nathan Smeltzer, an art major at Pierce, prefers Dahlberg’s modernized teaching style. He feels that Dahlberg focuses on cool new things and more creative options. Smeltzer says that other art classes that he has taken, the instructors teaches by the book unlike Dahlberg who teaches the student to draw in their own personalized way.
“He is able to find what you want to work on your drawing the most like,” Smeltzer said, “He can get behind me and find out where your passion is and sort of explain how to excel that into whatever direction he thinks is best for you.”
Looking forward into the future, Dahlberg sees himself still teaching at Pierce College and settled in. He says he really wants to stay and continue making art. And if he had to have one final accomplishment, it would have one of his pieces on the wall inside of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
“Creativity is important.” Dahlberg said.