Having grown up in Ocean City, Reeves Dark has been fascinated by water since he was young.
Dark’s “From Water” exhibit, which features his oil paintings, is located in the Guerreri Student Union Art Space.
Dark, a graphic design major, said his art professor, Jinchul Kim, has helped him to reach his full potential as an artist. He has taken five painting classes with Professor Kim.
“I took painting I with Mr. Kim because I had heard so much about him, and I had actually been a fan of his, even before I came to Salisbury, just because I was so amazed at his realism paintings,” Dark said. “Once I took painting I it just completely unlocked this art world, and now, painting is my favorite thing to do ever, and it’s all I ever want to do.”
Dark said much of his passion for painting the water comes from his love for surfing. He started surfing at the same time he started painting two years ago.
“I’ve always surfed a little bit, but I started to surf a whole lot two and a half years ago, and that winter, that January, was when I took my first painting I class,” Dark said, “And I just thought that made the most sense for me to paint because I experienced it so much, and I like painting what I know.”
When he was in high school, Dark became interested in monochromatic pencil drawings. He said his initial major at Salisbury University was drawing, but he later switched his major to graphic design to make a living out of his art.
He said learning about graphic design gave him a newfound appreciation for commercial art, illustration and design. He started working for the graphic designer of a printing company two years ago.
“My biggest goal in life is just to be able to make a living off creating art in any kind of way,” Dark said. “I love them both a great deal, but painting and drawing is my true love.”
“I never thought I would end up being a painter,” Dark said. “I realized that I could draw really well in high school, like, I’ve always really loved art, and I’ve always been really interested in people that could draw good, and paintings, and just art, in general.”
He said he sees and experiences water differently from the average spectator and always wanted to express his deep connection to the water through his paintings.
“People with a close relationship to water and the ocean kind of see it differently…the energy to it, the life to it,” Dark said. “I try to paint water almost as if it’s a living thing…and just the way light hits it, the colors and the form of it, in different settings. If the water is really calm, it would look different than if it was really rough.”
Dark said he notices a clear difference from the lens with which he views Ocean City and the lens with which a tourist sees it. He feels a close kinship with the ocean, formed by a longtime bond between him and the water.
“I feel like when people think of Ocean City and the ocean, they just kind of have a tourist-y lens because they’re there for a short period of time, and I think they would see it differently than someone who goes out in the ocean in the wintertime and experiences it when there’s no one around,” Dark said. “I feel like I have a lot more of a personal and intimate relationship with it.”
Dark said he has learned a lot about art from his time at SU. He said he owes his painting ability to professor Kim.
“I’ve learned so much about design and composition, and everything graphic design I’ve learned from here, and from working,” Dark said. “I know so much now because of being here, I don’t think I would have been able to figure out as much, in such a little amount of time, if it weren’t for being here.”
By MELISSA REESE
Featured photo: Pictured is Reeves Dark’s oil on canvas titled “Their Secret." (Melissa Reese image).