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Meet the Artist 

Tripper Dungan paints in three dimensions

Tripper Dungan is working on a new piece. He explains it as a guy with a cuckoo clock for a head carrying a staff, walking around with a goat. "It sounds funny," said Dungan. "But it's turning out pretty well."

That description isn't out of Dungan's wheelhouse...just look at the cover of this week's Source; a monkey riding a skateboard with a forty of PBR. Dungan's art is borderline psychedelic and cartoonish, colorful and in your face—literally, if you throw on a pair of 3D glasses. Through Chromadepth lenses, the painting's subjects jump off of their wooden canvases, and will jump off the cover too! (Sorry we don't have a 3D glasses insert, it wasn't quite in our budget as a free paper.)

Check out more of Dungan's work during the month of June at Bishops Barber Shop (130 NW Oregon Ave.) where 3D glasses will be available, and where the Source will be hanging our monthly cover artist showcase for the foreseeable future. Come in during First Friday art walk to see local band Patrimony, psychedelic in their own right (read more on pg. 20), and enjoy a good ol' fashioned three-dimensional art showcase.

SW: Tell me about the piece that is on the cover. Around the office we've been calling it, "Monkey on a Skateboard."

TD: That was made early last year. It was actually for a show called "Portland as F**k" put together by the art editor of the Portland Mercury.

SW: What is your medium?

TD: Mostly painting acrylic. I've been doing more sculpture, all wood. And I also paint on wood. I'm a wood guy. Wood is good.

SW: Why is wood good?

TD: I like its durability and availability. It's a lot easier to pick up a piece of wood and go for it than to stretch canvas. I was trained in that. It was fun, I appreciate that craft, but wood is so much more immediate, and I love working with the grain. I work with reclaimed salvaged wood that has lots of textures, ages, grates and grains.

SW: Tell me about 3D art...

TD: 3D is so diverse! Sometimes I say that and people think you build it up with pieces of wood. What it is, is chromatic 3D, a color base. It's not the red/blue (anaglyph), and it's not the movie kind (real D/circular polarization), it's Chromadepth. They have little prisms in the glasses. The images are all 3D because of how I placed the colors.

SW: How did you get interested in 3D art?

TD: I had a pair of glasses that I got with a box of Crayola markers just before high school. I was 14 and held on to them. I didn't totally get it because the box of markers didn't really explain exactly what was going on with the glasses. It basically said, "Draw something and put a black line around it and it's 3D." When I was 18 or 19 I started looking at some of my paintings, researched a little bit, and I was able to start developing my own style and technique. It would pop the foreground, like the monkey and the skateboard will pop.

SW: Tell me about some of your inspiration. Your bio says Calvin and Hobbs and the Simpsons...What clicked with you about that type of comedic illustration?

TD: The humor and the aesthetic. They take great care to make a visually pleasing and funny product. I think that there's a timelessness to those, especially the Simpsons. They're very of the moment. They dealt with issues that were happening right then, and at the same time I could go back and see those today and find a lot to draw and to laugh about. Think about Calvin and Hobbs. There's not so much of that in the moment, but there's a classic-ness, a certain universality that I connect with. There's humor there and the ability to laugh at yourself is really important in life and in art.

SW: Talk to me about pop art—what it means and how it applies to your work?

TD: Pop art to me is popular art, but that means two different things: Art that is popular and art draws on what is popular. I definitely want to speak to as many people as I can. I want my art to be inclusive. I don't want it to be this thing that shuts people out. It's not a secret handshake society, it's an invitation. I want people to come and make fun of it if they want. My art wouldn't be what it is without its audience. I want it to be something that people interact with, and the 3D aspect really helps with that. At art fairs or a gallery opening people try on the glasses and they're interested. That opens a conversation and brings them into the artwork.


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