|Dann Dykasâ€™ art conveys prophetic Tarot warnings of what can happen to gays if we are not vigilant. Photo by Rink.
The works of Dann Dykas, â€śInverted Future: the Tarot Prophecy of 2010,â€ť are currently on display at Magnet, the Castro hub of health and wellbeing, through the end of October. Dykas is a photographer, painter, illustrator, graphic designer, and art critic for an Arizona LGBT newspaper. His six pieces on the gallery wall cover the range of human emotion and strive to stir up sleeping feelings of love, justice, apathy, and conviction.
Dykas tells me his philosophy in life is basically â€śdo unto others as you would have them do unto you;â€ť but adds, â€śyet thereâ€™s more.â€ť He continues, â€śYou have to stay informed, because a lot of people tend to shy away from whatâ€™s happening around them and stay in their own safe world. I like to help bring some people outside that comfort bubble.â€ť He says â€śparticipationâ€ť is very big for him - getting people to get with the program, reacting and acting upon it. He said his show has such a strong meaning now - right before the Elections - with a political feel to it. He has been planning and working on it for over a year. His inspiration is â€śpeople who donâ€™t pay attention to what is happening.â€ť He says, â€śThey are blinded. They watch their shows and donâ€™t keep up on the news. And this is a warning to them.â€ť These six pieces are only half the story. The other six are coming in November to the Vertical Concept Salon.
â€śItâ€™s a warning of what could happen if you donâ€™t pay attention to your civil rights,â€ť says Dykas, â€śbecause the government is constantly pushing things through and sliding in under the radar.â€ť
His vehicle is Tarot cards, interpreted through gay eyes, as if a fortune teller is warning of danger that could happen. Even if you donâ€™t know Tarot, each piece stands on its own. There is a central gay Everyman in each piece; look for moon symbols and crescent shapes in each. â€śThe moon has pull,â€ť he explains. â€śIt affects the tides, and itâ€™s a very strong element.â€ť
His technique utilizes charcoal, stain, enamel, silver and gold leafing on 24 x 48â€ť birch wood. Itâ€™s a new style for Dykas, inspired by his photography, othersâ€™ photography, and magazines. He uses the stained birch to give a warmer feeling â€śbecause some of the images can be a bit cold.â€ť It is a layering process - starting with an illustration in charcoal on the panel; then laying down the stains (some are blended); and on top of that is enameling; then gold and silver leafing highlights are applied.
The piece on the farthest left of the wall, â€śThe Prince of Bunnies,â€ť is the only one that is not officially Tarot. It is his first piece he made, which he said helped him develop the style. Itâ€™s a spin-off of the Prince of Wands card. This one deals with the man looking back as a child (note the pink bunny rabbit stuffed toy) wanting to travel early on. The checkerboard has an Alice in Wonderland feel to it.
â€śThe Moonâ€ť represents the man having his fortune told. The hostel in the background has a European feel. This is his travel from the old country to a new world in the U.S. â€śThe Magician Invertedâ€ť represents a character that is going to have an effect on our traveler in the future. â€śIt represents dementia,â€ť says Dykas. â€śHe is in front of a Capitol style building on a soapbox trying to get peopleâ€™s attention, doing it under the guise of being political, but itâ€™s more of a pushed agenda of darkness.â€ť His burning of the flag is to fool onlookers into thinking he is one of them as a fellow protester of the status quo.
â€śPeople that speak the loudest seem to be doing more damage than help,â€ť explains Dykas. Itâ€™s the evil magician doing a razzle-dazzle act and, â€śPoof! Your rights are gone!â€ť
â€śThe Towerâ€ť is a very dark card, representing ruin, which is more foreshadowing of what evil could occur without careful watch. There is a slight reference to the Twin Towers of 9/11, but also a castle where the character on top could refer to a modernized, more Americanized - less French - Statue of Liberty.
The tower is beginning to crumble as she tosses away her book and reaches for a butterfly (unfortunately the silver leaf fell off in transit to Magnet).
â€śThe 10 Pentaclesâ€ť represents support. The main character meets a guy in a flirtatious moment, who will eventually end up being his lover and his support. â€śHe becomes this guyâ€™s foundation through the whole journey he is going on,â€ť says Dykas. You have to count carefully to see all ten pentacles (the belt buckle got damaged, but that would be the tenth star). Notice on the heel of the shoe is a moon. These two are destined to become a couple.
â€śThe Foolâ€ť is almost a double entendre. Definitely a double meaning. The character has the feel of a presidential candidate or current president; but look closer and note that this being is a puppet being manipulated by someone above him and out of view. Remind you of anyone currently destroying civil rights?! The fool also represents the people who are fooled into following the puppet and donâ€™t see the strings. The gold circle on the podium represents an official governmental seal.
In the next series of six to come, gays will no longer have any rights and are rounded up into concentration camps. As the artist warned, the last six pieces will be extremely dark. I canâ€™t wait to see and review them!