When he’s not working as a graphic designer for Milwaukee’s well known weekly, The Shepherd Express, or exhibiting his art around town, you’ll find Dan Fleming ’10 (Communication Design) at Splash Studio, “getting people interested and engaged in art.”
“I love that [at Splash Studio] I can talk to people directly and get them to put their hand on a paintbrush,” he explains. “It’s more of a teaching role than an artist role, and that’s a lot of fun!”
Fleming was certainly able to coax my friend, Mo, and me into getting our hands on paintbrushes, even with limited painting experience.
Fortunately for us, Splash Studio offered the perfect environment to test the waters. We were fully equipped with all the necessary supplies, not to mention a handful of helpful artists ready and willing to answer our questions and coax out our hidden creativity.
Fleming led the three-hour painting session, and our topic for the evening was Montey, a grass-covered hill with quite the façade.
“Montey isn’t exactly an original,” Fleming explained. “It happened during one of the sessions when one of the people taking the class suggested painting a pace on the hill.”
Taking suggestions and helping people through the painting process is something that Fleming excels at. “I started live painting a couple of years ago in parks and working with Art Milwaukee. It wasn’t really teaching, but I ended up talking with people a lot and talking them through the process.”
He also established himself as an advocate for teaching when he developed Jump Into Art, a children’s interactive exhibit intended to teach art history and get children interested in art. Jump Into Art is a fully designed exhibit that Fleming created for his capstone senior project after working closely with Bridgette Globenski, Director of Education for the Milwaukee Art Museum, to test the project with second graders in Madison.
During the painting process at Splash, Fleming used his teaching inclinations to encourage us to stretch our creativity and to keep working, reminding us not to worry about making mistakes and offering advice from sketching ides to colors to think about for upcoming steps.
Walking around during painting breaks, it was clear that every person took Fleming’s creative push to heart – not one painting looked the same.
The encouragement and guidance Mo and I received during our session – reflected in Fleming’s teaching skills as well as other Splash artists – gave us the relaxed and comforting environment we needed to create our Montey masterpieces: a hill eating a house, and another hill with a house on fire.
Just like Fleming said at the beginning of the session, “It’s a fun way to get involved in art without pressure.”
Fleming participates in many live painting sessions at Splash Studio and continues to exhibit his work around Milwaukee. Recently, he donated work for an auction to benefit the victims of the July 17 fire at 631 E. Center St., is currently showing in the gallery at Splash Studio and will be joining Plaid Tuba creative studio.
Click here to visit Fleming’s blog.
Click here for more information on Splash Studio.
Click here to read Dan Fleming’s bio from Splash Studio.
Click here to read about MIAD’s Communication Design program.
Top image: Dan Fleming ’10 with Montey
Second image: Montey
Third image: Fleming helping Mo
Bottom image: Mo (right) and me painting
This story was written from the perspective of Louisa Walker, Communications and Development Assistant at MIAD.