Art Minute

'The beautiful thing about growing up white trash is that I was fearless when it came to art'

For Kim Dorland, "art comes from challenge" — and his upbringing gave him the courage to pursue a career making his boundary-pushing paintings.

Kim Dorland's upbringing gave him the courage to pursue a career making his boundary-pushing paintings

For Kim Dorland, "art comes from challenge" — and his upbringing gave him the courage to pursue a career making his boundary-pushing paintings. 1:04
Kim Dorland pushes the boundaries of painted representation through an exploration of memory, material, nostalgia, identity and place. His refusal to remain faithful to one medium or approach plays into the symbiotic nature of his work: the deadness of acrylic, the sheen of spray paint, the density of oil paint and new experimentations with "digital painting" all convene to create the raw, fleeting quality of his canvases.​

But for Dorland, a career in the arts was something he had to fight for. "My father died at a really young age for a really stupid reason. I think I was kind of on that path myself," he says. "When I first started painting, my class really was important to me — to remember that I sort of came from white trash. Like, I grew up really poor. I lived in a trailer that we rented."

While by Kim Dorland. (Kim Dorland)

"The beautiful thing about growing up white trash is that I was fearless when it came to this because if I failed, it's not like I was going to be disappointing anyone in my family...At the time, I was really just stupid. Who goes into the arts? But I didn't have that fear. I'm not in here making product. I'm trying my best to make art — and art, I think, comes from challenge."

Art Minute is a new CBC Arts series taking you inside the minds of Canadian artists to hear what makes them tick and the ideas behind their work.

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